11/03/2021

Categories: Art & Design and Fine Art, Undergradute

A Personal Approach to Fine Art – Why Good Staff to Student Ratios Matter

Studying fine art is as much about appreciation for art, its history, and the artists that make it possible, as it is creating your own fine art and improving your techniques. The multiple facets of such a degree make student to staff ratios very important. The excellent staff-student ratios at the University of Bolton is just one reason why we have been voted No.1 for both Teaching Quality* and Student Satisfaction^ in 2020.

Teacher to student ratios is an area of education that has been much debated and researched not just in Manchester and the North West, but across the UK. The majority of this research agrees that smaller groups learn better and gain more from their teachers. But is the same true of adults and does it really matter when it comes to subjects like fine art?

The simple answer is yes to both parts of the question. While university students may have more independence and be more adept at self-directed learning, they benefit just as much as younger students from increased time and attention from their teachers. Good staff-student ratios improve the quality of teaching and the amount of time that staff have to spend with each student. It means that fine art lecturers can build closer relationships with their students, understand their strengths better and support and correct technical faults without affecting the student’s personal expression.

Better ratios also improve the depth of feedback that students receive. Staff who have fewer students to mentor can provide a more detailed analysis of their students’ art photography or fine art prints without feeling rushed and under pressure. Having too many students is likely to lead to feedback that barely touches the surface and is unlikely to lead to improved fine art printing in the future.

Smaller groups also improve discussion and encourage quieter students to join in with seminars and group tasks. Staff and guest lecturers can more easily pinpoint students who need additional support, whether that be with creating fine art prints, written work, or more generally with university life.

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