Undergraduate Catalog - School of Art Design and Architecture - Letter from the Dean | Judson University Christian College

Letter from the Dean of Art, Design & Architecture

The School of Art, Design, and Architecture exists to instruct and encourage students whom God has blessed with creative spirit in preparation for careers in the visual arts and architecture.  In a broad sense, our endeavors date to the dawn of humanity: prehistoric people, by definition, left no written records expressing their concerns, values and activities-but they did make paintings, drawings and sculptures that were the means by which they communicated with, and attempted to manifest, the spiritual world.  While our twenty-first century impulse to do likewise is not new, the means by which we purse this age-old aspiration are absolutely contemporary: we work to express community values and personal beliefs to achieve cultural engagement and reconciliation in an increasingly diverse and visually-literate world.  Within a cacophony of images, we strive to present a clear voice of truth.

In pursuit of these ideals, the School offers seven majors and seven minors in the fields of architecture, film and video, fine art, graphic design, interior design, media studies, multimedia design, and photography.  Majors in these disciplines engage with comprehensive and discipline-specific curriculum within the University's broader liberal arts setting; students may also choose to minor in such fields outside of the School as Christian ministries, intercultural studies, psychology, and business.  Understanding the liberal arts not as ancillary studies but as the foundation of all educational pursuits, we seek to instill a character of wonder and scrutiny among students who will become critical thinkers and community advocates in their future professions and service.

Our programs are located in the newest academic building on Judson's tranquil riverside campus where we host a yearlong program of gallery exhibitions and interdisciplinary lectures, fall and spring symposia, and an annual film festival.  Our hometown, Elgin, Boasts a growing arts community of its own, as do our neighbor cities on the Fox River.  Furthermore, our campus is strategically located with easy access by car and through public transportation to the spectacular cultural offerings of Chicago.  

These may and varied resources are all part the complete educational experience in which students master new tools and technologies alongside traditional means of inquiry and expression.  Embracing the aphorism ars longa, vita brevis ("art is long, life is short") we also recognize that, because new cultural challenges arise all the time, we must both honor enduring customs and hone innovative practices to fulfill deeply felt, human needs in a broken world, while encouraging diverse points of view and broad participation.  We recognize the centrality of critical thought to assess, engage and numbly address challenges, fulfill requirements, and launch future careers that we can hardly imagine today. 

The pursuit of higher education is a noble goal, but we at Judson serve an even greater idea.  As the Dean of the School I am privileged to work with an energetic, creative and diverse group of artists, designers and scholars and spectacular staff, all of whom are committed to programs that will provide the future artists, designers, architects, and filmmakers who will strive to build the Kingdom and enrich the world through their work.  My prayer for the School is for it to be placed were each of us can participate in making the world more just and beautiful through talents and skills bestowed by a Creator and honed through study and practice.  My role is to identify opportunities and enable the contribution of faculty, staff and students to fulfill this mission in service of the Great Commission.  

In His service 
Jhennifer A. Amundson, Ph.D. 


Judson University, Shaping Lives that Shape the World