Studio Practice Advising
Graduate Studio Practice (GSP) is a course of individualized study that typically takes place within the student's studio. Through this experience, students gather diverse opinions about the efficacy of their working methods and formal vocabulary and gather new resources that inform their research and practice.
About Graduate Studios
CCA assigns each MFA Program in Fine Arts student an exclusive studio space on the San Francisco campus. Students are entitled to use their designated studio space for four consecutive semesters only.
Students have 24-hour access to their studios, including during the summer between their first and second years.
Students are required to sign a studio contract as well as adhere to all studio policies as dictated by the program.
The GSP advisor is an individual who works independently with one or more MFA Program in Fine Arts students. The advisor's role is to help promote the development and refinement of students’ work by offering critical feedback, professional guidance, or skills in particular areas of expertise.
Three advisors, determined by the faculty and the Fine Arts chair on the basis of the student’s admissions portfolio, are assigned to each incoming Studio Practice student, and two advisors are assigned to each incoming Social Practice student.
Role of the Main Advisor
MFA students have a main advisor who offers help with practical, program-related issues and tracks the development of the student’s studio practice throughout the course of study. The main advisor serves as a figure of continuity and consistency within a program whose curriculum encourages wide-ranging contact.
The main advisor acts as a figurative sounding board, advising students in their selection of courses and Studio Practice instructors. Advisors should be well-apprised of the other instructors with whom their advisees are working, and on occasion acting as liaison for group meetings as appropriate.
Students may change their main advisors after passing the advancement review at the end of the second semester. Students must submit a petition to change their main advisor. The petition form is available in the Graduate Office, or can be downloaded as a PDF. Each petition must have the signatures of the former and newly requested main advisor, as well as the chair of the MFA Program in Fine Arts.
Selecting an Advisor
After the first semester students consult their main advisor and work with the Graduate Office to select their advisors (with the exception of their main advisor) during the registration period near the end of each semester. Students may take Studio Practice units with CCA faculty or other cultural practitioners outside of the college. (Note: non-CCA practitioners are subject to the approval of the advisor and the Fine Arts chair.)
Students must select their advisors before the end of the add/drop period or face a $200 late fee. (See Add/Drop/Withdrawal for add/drop deadlines.)
Each unit of GSP is equivalent to approximately three hours of meeting time. Students take two units with their main advisor each semester, and four additional units with other advisors. Social Practice students take two units with their main advisor each semester, and one additional unit with other advisors.
Meeting Schedule & Structure
The Graduate Office provides students with their GSP advisors’ phone numbers and email addresses. Students are expected to initiate contact with their advisors and are responsible for communicating their specific goals and defining the working relationship.
- Together they agree to the terms of their exchange and arrange a meeting schedule. This arrangement may include one (or more) of the following:
A specific schedule of studio visits based on the number of assigned units (see below). Scheduling these visits -- most of which will occur in the Graduate Studios on CCA’s San Francisco campus -- should be determined by the student and advisor, according their mutual availability.
- During these studio visits the advisor is expected to offer critical feedback about the formal qualities of the student’s work, aesthetic intentions/strategies, research methods, etc. Studio Practice advisors should be honest, rigorous, and constructive in their critiques.
The development of a bibliography, a list of artists/events/exhibitions the student should research and then discuss in subsequent meetings, and suggestions for potential visual, cultural, or bibliographic resources to explore
A tutorial on a specific set of technical skills (e.g., moldmaking, video editing, Adobe Photoshop, bookbinding, printmaking, voice lessons)
Guidance with the student’s writing projects
GSP units are pass/fail; students who fail to meet all requirements or do not illustrate satisfactory progress will be given a failing grade by their advisors.
Students are responsible at the end of each semester to evaluate their GSP advisors using the college's standardized evaluation form.