The Ceramics Department is a dynamic community of undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, graduate students, faculty and technical staff designed to promote growth in aesthetics, technical knowledge, and conceptual approaches, the program uses Individual tutorials, group seminars, and critiques to provide a variety of settings for development and exchange of ideas relevant to the arts in general, and ceramics in particular. The program offers opportunities for rigorous studio learning by connecting technical and conceptual challenges in an engaged environment. Students in the Ceramics program have active contact with the faculty and are encouraged in cross-disciplinary study. Outside of the classroom, students participate in the student organization, H.O.T (Handbuilt Or Thrown) Clay. This energetic club sponsors visiting artist workshops, gallery exhibitions, ceramic art sales and annual travel to the conference sponsored by the National Council of Education in the Ceramic Arts.
The undergraduate program in ceramics is designed with the philosophy and intent of providing a broad, yet specific, base of knowledge as related to the ceramic arts. Educational experiences include technical explorations with ceramic materials and firing processes (electric, gas, wood, raku, primitive, and vapor). Two- and three-dimensional design concepts and aesthetics are studied as related to ceramic arts. Historical precedents, contemporary issues; artists, and art works are incorporated throughout the curriculum. The studio environment is one where vessel aesthetics; form and surface design, are taught along with ceramic sculpture. Conceptual development and innovative contemporary forming processes are taught in addition to traditional techniques of hand-forming, wheel-throwing, and mold-making. Students gain the experience of direct marketing by participating in the semi-annual membership sale of the Florida Potter's Guild (a student organization). Regular visiting artists' workshops enhance the educational offerings provided by the curriculum and offer varied professional models.
The graduate program offers a strong community of active students who are researching questions about individual issues in art-making and pursuing solutions to resolved, focused, personal work. Ceramics graduate students meet weekly for topical seminar and critical discussion of works, and also have individual tutorials with faculty. The faculty believes that the ability to evaluate and discuss works should extend beyond one's personal studio involvements, and students alternate semesters with each professor, regardless of personal studio.