[NetBehaviour] Fwd: CAA Guidelines for Faculty Teaching in New Media Arts

Alan Sondheim sondheim at gmail.com
Fri Apr 26 18:24:12 CEST 2019

this might be of interest here?

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Danielle Siembieda <danielle at leonardo.info>
Date: Fri, Apr 26, 2019, 12:01 PM
Subject: CAA Guidelines for Faculty Teaching in New Media Arts
To: <ISEA at jiscmail.ac.uk>


*Unanimously adopted by the CAA Board of Directors on October 21, 1995;
revised on October 28, 2007; revised October 23, 2011, **and February 17,

By its nature, new media art is a rapidly evolving and highly
interdisciplinary arena of creative practice that presents unique
challenges and opportunities for those institutions and individuals working
within and intersecting with this field. Over the years, the scope of new
media art practice has flourished to include animations, blogs, interactive
media, design, engineering, games, mobile media, desktop interactive works,
websites and internet art, time-based pieces, digital installation,
performance, sound installations, sculptural works, 3D CG, augmented
reality, digital fabrication, kiosks, robotics, biological and DNA art, and
networked activities. Because it is in the nature of new media arts to
invent new modes of practice, this incomplete list will only grow longer
during the drafting, adoption, and revision of this document. Practitioners
view this expansive territory as a sign of success and vitality, and they
see the challenges it presents as worthwhile. This document addresses
specific academic and administrative issues concerning the teaching and
research of new media, including recognizing and encouraging growth of new

In particular, these guidelines were developed to assist in faculty hiring,
promotion and tenure, workload assessment, funding, and understanding of
the support necessary for artists working in this field. While these
guidelines are intended to be viewed as supplementary to an individual
institution’s standards and criteria for evaluation and review, the
intention to provide further insight about the field of new media arts is
meant to assist in accurate and comprehensive evaluations of faculty
members on the tenure track. This document is presented to CAA by members
working in new media arts education as a description of standards and
practices within the field. It also addresses some of the issues facing
faculty in new media art education in order to assist colleagues,
administrators, department chairs, governance committees, and individual
faculty as they plan and present their professional development.

   1. *Scholarship and Research*

   Artistic production in the area of technology-based media encompasses
   many formats. In this emergent field, contributions to theory can be seen
   as equally significant to aesthetic production. As the field evolves,
   faculty in new media art should be free to pursue whatever new forms are
   most appropriate to their creative practice, for their personal artistic
   and technological growth, and for their students.

   *Assessing Venues*

   Creative experimentation and production are the dominant forms of
   research in new media art, with exhibitions (including web-based,
   networked, distributed forms, installations, and performances) occupying
   the position of peer-reviewed journals in most other academic fields. At
   the same time, it is important to recognize that critical participation in
   the discourse of new media art may take many forms, including the
   production of theory in expository forms such as journal articles. For
   established disciplines, the range, type, and relative ranking of primary
   and secondary venues for sharing the fruits of academic research are more
   widely recognized. However, for emerging disciplines and practices, these
   venues are often new, experimental, and in constant flux. In the tradition
   of many schools of modern and postmodern genres, new media may be
   specifically employed to challenge and redefine the very notion of venue,
   such as relying on self-organizing networks or presentation to a narrow
   audience. Nor are new media venues singular in nature: media forms as
   unlike one another as web-based and biological lend themselves to different
   forms of dissemination. Similarly, some venues will lead in hosting certain
   forms of new media and not others. These circumstances place an expectation
   on faculty members under review to articulate the visibility and influence
   of the venues where work was presented, indicating the importance of
   artists and curators involved with the venue and the level of its
   programming. It is also important for peer reviewers to thoroughly
   understand and address the nature of these venues when assessing the
   visibility and impact of the work itself.

   In addition, when a work of new media is exhibited, it is often
   carefully calibrated to the presentation space, particularly in the case of
   installation and performance work. When subsequently exhibited in a
   different context, the work may have to be reconfigured completely for the
   new space and for a new audience, creating an entirely new iteration. In
   such cases, each showing should be viewed as a separate act of
   dissemination. Multiple showings are not the equivalent of reprints of
   scholarly work.

   *Assessing Productivity*

   Assessing productivity for creative projects developed in the context of
   new media art presents unique challenges to reviewers. While the length or
   scope of a finished work typically factors into its consideration, such
   measurements are not always indicative of the effort required to complete a
   given work of new media. For example, a short experimental video piece,
   multimedia production, or website might require a greater expenditure of
   time and creative effort than a relatively straightforward hourlong
   documentary. For example, an animation of only a few seconds may require
   rendering hundreds or thousands of individual drawings. Likewise, an
   interactive artwork might be the result of thousands of hours of
   electronics prototyping and coding, where the greatest effort was devoted
   to reducing the electronics and code to as few physical elements and as few
   lines of programming as possible. When peers evaluate a new media work,
   they must determine the probable effort required for particular projects.
   An evaluator’s task is analogous to that of judging the importance of a
   multiyear horizontal study in the social sciences: such a study might
   require many years of effort, while resulting in a single article of modest
   length. This task can be aided by technical notes provided by the artist,
   documenting the production process and its duration.

   *Assessing Authorship*

   Not unlike science and theater, new media art often relies on
   collaboration. The finished artwork may include lighting, video, sculpture,
   and interactive programmable instructions. It may involve multiple
   participants, such as in a distributed cell phone work. Some artists manage
   all these elements individually, while others collaborate across
   disciplines. Authorship itself is among the issues these new media arts
   address in their work. Emphasis on audience participation, interaction, and
   feedback loops deliberately challenges authorship itself. Evaluators
   outside the field must understand that the role of the individual
   practitioner, particularly as this pertains to expenditures of time and
   effort, may not be readily apparent. In cases of shared authorship, the
   artist is responsible for clarifying the nature and relative importance of
   each individual’s contribution.

   It is particularly important to note that the model of open-source
   project development for hardware and software—as well as development of
   curriculum, concepts, and ideas—is a significant aspect of practice and
   engagement within new media art. This model, which distributes authorship
   among a community of individuals, presents challenges to assessment. For
   example, when artists contribute or scaffold their creative efforts from an
   open-source project, clear identification of provenance remains the
   responsibility of the individual artist. At the other end of the spectrum,
   however, particular recognition should be made in the case of those
   individuals whose creative practice leads, mobilizes, or otherwise
   engenders networks of individuals to participate and contribute to
   open-source projects. This latter method of contribution to knowledge
   generation can sometimes be misidentified as service to the discipline
   rather than creative research.

   *Additional Criteria*

   Evaluation of new media work should be considered in light of the
   institutional support its offered. The high cost and rapid obsolescence of
   various technologies used  as well as challenges practitioners face in
   keeping up with emerging methods and techniques can significantly impact
   the quality of work and artists’ levels of productivity.

    Meaningful reviews of faculty members’ creative work appear in
   scholarly and professional publications, library-media publications, and
   even, in some cases, newspapers, art magazines, and journals, published
   either in print or notable critical online outlets. In evaluating reviews
   of artists’ work, the status of the reviewer and the reputation of the
   periodical, print publication, or website are important.

    Some professional associations, including CAA, regularly provide
   written evaluations of works selected for exhibition at their conferences
   and exhibitions. Letters evaluating a faculty member’s work can be
   requested from responsible individuals at museums, media centers, colleges
   and universities, and other institutions at which the work has been shown.
   As in the case of scholarly reviews, it is important to consider the
   reputation of the individual or institution contributing the evaluation.
   2. *Teaching*

   Teaching in the field of new media art is a multipart challenge.
   Certainly, it shares with other disciplines the requirement to remain
   current with the various practices and trends in the particular field of
   knowledge in order to keep ideas in the classroom attuned to developments
   in the broader community. The unique challenges in this field are more
   closely mirrored in other highly technological fields where the teacher
   must also be aware of and trained in the constantly changing tool sets used
   in the field or working to develop those not yet in use. Significant
   portions of the technical knowledge and equipment base necessary to
   practice and teach in this emergent discipline change with increasing
   frequency. This continuous technical obsolescence and genre development
   require faculty to constantly rewrite their curriculum. In addition,
   technology-based media programs are largely dependent on equipment designed
   to compete in the rapidly changing commercial marketplace. Equipment that
   is six years old is almost completely incompatible with today’s models, and
   equipment even just three years old is seriously limited in usefulness,
   especially for courses requiring extensive rendering and/or experimental
   research computing. The same is true for aesthetic and conceptual concerns
   in the medium. These factors significantly affect the time it takes a
   faculty member to perform the most basic tasks related to teaching. For
   these reasons, careful attention must be given to teaching loads, service
   commitments, funding for training, and technical staffing to assure that
   faculty will be able to deliver an up-to-date and high-quality education in
   the new media arts.

   *Rapidly Changing Curricula*

   Technology-based programs at most institutions are fairly new, and
   curricula are still developing and under constant review. The variety and
   number of courses that any program can offer change with the goals of the
   program, the number and skills of the instructors available, the
   availability and kind of computers and other technologies, and the amount
   of students’ available lab time. In concert with the evolution of
   technology, many of these factors change from one semester to the next,
   requiring that curricula and syllabi constantly be rewritten. Like many
   cutting-edge fields, the concepts, content, and practice of the discipline
   may substantially change within a few academic years, requiring
   re-adaptation by the instructor to address changing aesthetics, systems,
   ideas, and output. Therefore, faculty in new media will likely prepare new
   syllabi more frequently than others in the department (often having to
   change a course significantly every time it is taught), and they are
   involved in more frequent discussions of revision of curricula than their
   peers in other artistic disciplines. Consequently, dedicated time for this
   continual redesign should be factored into the workload of new media arts
   faculty. With a field that often reshapes itself every few months, courses
   and curricula need to be given time and consideration allowing for quick
   and nimble transformation. Support for training and sharing at academic
   conferences is paramount in order to make these transformations successful,
   as discussed more fully below.

   *Interdisciplinarity and Team Teaching*

   Technological innovations expand an artist’s vocabulary, raising crucial
   aesthetic issues that must be addressed in course content.
   Characteristically, the use of technology-based media encourages formation
   of interdisciplinary links with other media and programs, including
   photography, printmaking, sculpture, video, film, theater, dance, and
   music. These links increasingly extend to developing connections between
   art and science through interdisciplinary experimentation including
   computer science, engineering, biology, and genetics programs. While such
   connections are to be encouraged on general principle, their impact on
   teaching loads can be significant and invisible when combining teachers
   and/or groups of students from different majors into one course. Notably,
   interdisciplinarity is about the potential space/ideas/learning/media/forms
   that may emerge in between the disciplines. Therefore, consideration must
   be given not only for shared learning of the structures of different
   disciplines and areas of communality, but also to pedagogically adapting
   ideas to a structure that can allow for the unknown. Institutions may
   employ various formulas for team-taught classes that presume sharing
   teaching responsibility for a class means less work for individual faculty
   members, even to the point of only crediting one of the instructors for the
   class. However, if institutions support these types of interdisciplinary
   courses, they must account for actual workload and pedagogical
   complexities. Beyond this, colleagues wishing to venture into computer
   applications often request informal advice from new media faculty without
   realizing the significant burden these requests can entail, most evident in
   current pushes into digital humanities. Care must be taken to avoid turning
   new media artists into technical trainers who help others add technological
   tools to their research areas.

    *Need for Continuing Faculty Development*

   When assessing a faculty member’s teaching, an institution should factor
   in its support of the development needed for faculty to remain current in
   the field—not just in terms of the conceptual and broad knowledge bases
   required by every discipline, but also in terms of technical training in
   rapidly changing tools. As in other fast-changing technical and
   professional fields, continuing education and training is vital for new
   media arts—and often difficult to obtain beyond rudimentary lessons.
   Furthermore, faculty are frequently involved in the development of novel
   and/or hybrid approaches to tools and techniques for which there are no
   existing roadmaps or available training. Attendance at professional
   conferences is central to a faculty member’s ability to remain current in
   the field, specifically through opportunities to share successes and
   failures in courses, projects, and curricula. The evolutionary nature of
   this discipline makes it highly unlikely that faculty members received
   instruction that could serve as a model for their current course offerings
   while in their higher education experience. Lack of support in this area
   negatively influences student satisfaction and students’ potential for
   meeting prescribed learning outcomes.

   While skills and techniques may remain constant over decades or even
   centuries in other disciplines, changes in technology-based media are so
   frequent that one could be completely lost without up-to-date training.
   Incoming students are generally aware of innovations in the field and
   expect instruction in the current tools and ideas that will enable them to
   continue working with industry-standard technology once they have left the
   institution. More critically, they need to learn how to continue to learn
   about new technological tools for the rest of their careers.

   As interest in emerging technologies grows, new media arts faculty are
   often expected to be resource persons in areas from data visualization to
   interactive networks. They are also asked to expand their programs to
   accommodate these expectations. Knowledge in the use of technologies in art
   and design does not equal the capacity to apply these technologies to other
   disciplines. Institutions must seek out alternative methods for encouraging
   use of technologies in other disciplines such as funding visits and
   workshops by guest experts, or by funding collaborative research by faculty
   from other disciplines.

   *Student Support*

   Because of the complexity of technology applications, students
   frequently call upon faculty for help with technical problems experienced
   outside of class. This may be true even when other support is available. No
   single individual has a complete knowledge of more than a small number of
   computer applications or platforms. Administrators, staff, and faculty must
   accept the fact that the useful life of information and technology is
   short, and that instructors, staff, and students are on a constant learning
   curve. While a new media art program may or may not have significant
   hardware maintenance needs, having specially trained and supported staff
   who can guide students, faculty, and administration through technological
   changes, and support student and faculty projects, is a critical
   requirement for any program, accounting for additional scopes of technical

   *Tools and Materials*

   Because of this constant level of change, tasks that appear to be
   similar in comparable  areas may in fact represent widely disparate demands
   of time and energy. For example, the ordering of supplies in other studio
   areas may be routine, occurring on an annual basis with little or no
   review. In technology-based media, however, every software and hardware
   upgrade demands careful study and testing, weighing the desirability of one
   product over another. In some cases, these decisions are made outside of
   the program due to the false notion that all computer labs should be equal
   for all purposes.  However, a new media art program must have significant
   input in order to assure their specific needs are met. Limited budgets
   increase the pressure on these decisions as faculty attempt to predict the

   Faculty members must both read a tremendous quantity of technical
   literature and keep up on theoretical issues in the field. Regular
   attendance at conferences and trade shows is a must for the purpose of
   acquiring advice from industry experts and other faculty and artists. Since
   new media information has an increasingly short lifespan, such events serve
   as the most current and accurate source of information. Software companies,
   unlike textbook companies, rarely give review/preview copies of software to
   professors. Hardware changes are equally difficult to assess on an
   individual basis. The industry is still finding its way when dealing with
   higher education, and the flow of information is not smooth. This reality,
   coupled with the fact that creative artists push technology in directions
   developers and marketing teams never imagined, magnifies the challenge of
   keeping current in a manner not found in any other field.

   Attendance at conferences and workshops is one way to achieve this goal.
   These include: ISEA (Inter-Society for Electronic Art), SIGGRAPH (Special
   Interest Group in Graphics of the Association for Computing Machinery),
   IDMAA, FILE, Ars Electronica, CAA, and numerous regional events offering
   workshops at such events as EYEO, Mutek, ART && CODE, Resonate, and many

   In some instances, technology-based art and design program faculty often
   have sole or partial responsibility for the labs they use. These faculty
   often install the software, hardware, networking, and lab security
   themselves and carry responsibility for maintaining, upgrading,
   troubleshooting, and repairing the same. Administrators may not be aware
   that lab maintenance itself is often a full-time job, and that an intense
   investment of time is necessary to run a facility, requiring course load
   reductions. Once any new media art program reaches a significant number of
   faculty and students, technical staff must be hired to assure a basic level
   of maintenance, organization, and support.

   3. *Service*

   Faculty in new media programs must have a strong voice in the design and
   management of digital facilities to ensure that they can support the
   curricula and research needs of the program. In the event that faculty are
   solely responsible for the provision of adequate facilities, this
   significant undertaking should be recognized as a considerable portion of
   their expected service. Laboratory resources range from specialized
   dedicated facilities within the department to shared, generalized
   workspaces, each requiring extensive administration and maintenance. Some
   faculty in technologically-based new media programs have sole
   responsibility for the daily management of all program staff, students, and
   equipment. Because some new media programs are subsidized by various
   technology grants, program faculty may also be responsible for the
   management and administration of these grants. In addition, new media
   faculty may also bear the responsibility for recruitment and supervision of
   adjunct faculty. The extent of a faculty member’s administrative
   responsibilities may interfere with other essential duties in teaching and
   research. In environments where a large proportion of the staff works part
   time, these burdens may be even more extreme, with part-time instructors
   being asked to perform tasks out of title and with little or no additional
   compensation. Such administrative and maintenance activities must be viewed
   as significant contributions to service to the academic community or be
   compensated as activities acknowledged as beyond the normal scope of

   *Providing Resources*

   In a field defined by continuous, rapid technological change,
   institutional support of design, implementation, and maintenance of
   necessary electronic program infrastructure is essential. Continuous
   acquisition of new equipment is essential to staying current in the field,
   requiring constant research into and installation of new equipment.
   Depending on institutional scale, meeting this need may require fundraising
   or negotiations with software and hardware companies and with other areas
   within the institution. Without this resource-intensive support, programs
   rapidly become obsolete, failing our students and research in the field at
   large. Many faculty members faced with this dilemma must take on the
   additional task of fundraising and lobbying for resources rather than see
   their program lag behind, but such activities may detract from their
   preparedness for teaching and research leadership. Therefore, recognition
   of such activities as significant contributions to service is crucial.

   *Program Promotion*

   Faculty of technology-based media programs actively promote their
   programs by arranging exhibitions and demonstrations of their own and
   student work, by publishing articles about their programs across diverse
   relevant media, and by developing publicity materials, including websites
   and blog posts. In addition, new media programs and their faculty must
   educate people about their specific program, because the field is not
   well-understood broadly or locally. Joint events with related departments
   such as music, theater, or dance, may be used to promote a program,
   underscoring the unique interdisciplinary potentials innate to the field
   and fostering productive engagements that help strengthen all participating
   disciplines. Additionally, faculty in these programs work with developers,
   manufacturers, and service bureaus for mutual promotion. Links with
   industry and the media are an important component of program support,
   development, and promotion. It is crucial that faculty engagement in such
   activities be understood as significant contributions to service.
   4. *Conclusion*

   By endorsing this document, CAA agrees to inform department chairs and
   other higher-education administrators about the unique demands placed on
   many full-time faculty in digital media.

   The responsibilities of faculty in new media art programs are inherently
   ever changing. At less-well-funded or teaching-centric colleges, these
   changes may be shouldered entirely by the new media faculty, often a single
   individual who may also bear responsibility for fundraising activities to
   purchase new equipment. At more well-funded or research-centric
   institutions, multiple new media faculty, and technicians employed to
   maintain equipment and software, may share the burden of these constant
   technological changes. It is important to consider the nature of the
   institution and availability of human and monetary resources when
   evaluating the faculty member’s responsibilities and service.

   Descriptions of positions in CAA’s Online Career Center indicate that
   institutions search for candidates who can teach in a wide variety of areas
   within the domain of computer and new media technology. Departments must
   recognize that maintaining skills in several subspecialties is difficult in
   the context of full-time teaching and other responsibilities. Job
   descriptions framed in terms of a desired focus with additional areas of
   working knowledge would be very helpful.


   We endorse the following recommendations as additional, specific
   guidelines for faculty of new media programs:
   - Individual faculty members and department chairs should review
         institutional standards in relation to these guidelines when
planning and
         preparing for evaluation. As necessary, institutional
guidelines should be
         revised to include new media as a vital area in the arts.
         - Evaluation of professional contributions must include
         recognition of alternative exhibition and research
opportunities outside
         traditional gallery/museum structures and acknowledge
theory-based inquiry
         and scholarship as an element of cultural production.
         - Evaluation of research and scholarship must include an
         assessment of the effort and time required in the production of that
         research and scholarship.
         - Provisions must be made to support faculty development, which is
         especially important in an ever-evolving discipline. We urge
faculty to
         work closely with administrators to find the best solutions for each
         institution, including the following possibilities: grants
for research
         time; collaboration on cross-disciplinary research grants;
funding faculty
         attendance at grant workshops specific to new media art; and
         attendance at conferences. Both scholarship and teaching
should be assessed
         in relation to available support for such development.
         - Decisions on hiring, reappointment, and tenure should consider
         the following points:
            - The difficult balance between the production of quality art
            and maintaining an evolving technical expertise may impact
the volume of
            scholarly and creative activity.
            - Evaluation of teaching performance should consider the
            demands of ongoing integration of new materials,
processes, and critical
            understandings into a course curriculum.
            - Further consideration should be granted for additional effort
            required for any interdisciplinary and team teaching and
the burdens this
            places on both students and faculty.
         - In accordance with CAA guidelines, faculty in technology-based
         media should be expected only to carry out duties
specifically related to
         their position as faculty. This should not include acting in
an advisory
         capacity to colleagues, within the department and outside it,
who want to
         adopt new digital technology; the installation and
maintenance of computer
         equipment unrelated to the faculty member’s teaching and
research; and the
         production of digital materials for institutional use.
         - Institutions must recognize the specific demands of the medium
         and its culture on professional education, the impact of
these elements on
         their research, and the need for a sustainable financial
commitment to the
         evolving field.

*Authors and Contributors*

Task Force on Guidelines for Faculty Teaching in New Media Art (2017–18):
Paul Catanese, Columbia College Chicago (chair); Rachel Clarke, California
State University, Sacramento; Chris Coleman, Denver University; Michael
Grillo, University of Maine; Heidi May, University of British Columbia;
Ellen Mueller, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth; Joanna Spitzner,
Syracuse University; and Amy Youngs, Ohio State University.

Task Force on Guidelines for Faculty Teaching in New Media Art (2011):
Juliet Davis, University of Tampa; Sue Gollifer, University of Brighton
(CAA board member); Alec MacLeod, California Institute of Integral Studies;
Gwyan Rhabyt, California State University, East Bay; Cynthia Beth Rubin,
independent artist; Gail Rubini, Florida State University; Annette
Weintraub, City College, City University of New York; and Simon Penny,
University of California, Irvine.


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