September 14, 2011

Maryland Institute College of Art appointment expands role of research in Graduate Studies

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)

To create connections between graduate education and research, MICA announces the appointment of Gunalan Nadarajan to be the vice provost of research and graduate studies. His original appointment in 2008 as vice provost of research represented the first senior academic leadership position dedicated to research at an American art college. This new role underscores MICA’s commitment to meeting the graduate educational needs of artists and designers in the 21st century.


The results of the College’s strategic planning regarding graduate education is evidenced by:
Research. Graduate students at MICA learn to integrate research methods into a discovery process that influences art-making and design.
First-of-their-kind programs. MICA is leading art colleges in the implementation of innovative, first-of-their-kind programs that take advantage of both new opportunities and unmet needs in graduate education. These groundbreaking programs include the MFA in Community Arts, MFA in Curatorial Practice, MPS in the Business of Art and Design, MA in Social Design, and the upcoming MPS in Information Visualization and MBA/MA in Design Leadership  offered in partnership with The Johns Hopkins University.
Community and social engagement. Numerous programs infuse community and social engagement into the curriculum, so that students experience how their work impacts community, society, culture, policy, economy, and environment.
Access to extraordinary space and resources. Each graduate student has access to state-of-the-art studios and/or the spaces, technology, and art-making resources that provide the time and space to stretch their creative possibilities. A recent 10-million USD gift is the College’s latest investment in ensuring that students have access to the resources they need to produce works of consequence, and in fall 2012, the College will complete the 20-million USD, 120,000-square-foot Graduate Studio Center.

“I am excited about this opportunity to integrate and create greater synergies between MICA’s twin strategic imperatives of research and graduate studies,” Nadarajan said. “As one of the nation’s top colleges for graduate studies in art and design, MICA is at the forefront not only of teaching and learning through world-class graduate programs but also in the research and generation of innovative ideas and practices that will drive contemporary developments in art and design.”


Enhancing graduate education is one of MICA’s foremost priorities. By the end of the decade, MICA plans to increase graduate student enrollment by 64 percent and the number of programs by 82 percent when compared to 2010. With MFA programs ranked 4th nationally by US News and World Report, MICA will  offer 19 graduate programs in fine art, design, education, business, and community arts leading to MFA, MA, MAT, and MPS degrees and post-baccalaureate certificates by fall 2012.


The Office of Research, led by Nadarajan, focuses on developing art and design research with the potential to affect society, policy, commerce, science, and technology through the College’s three research centers in design practice, design thinking, and race and culture, among other departments. Nadarajan has been instrumental in forging research partnerships with city, state, and federal entities, such as The Johns Hopkins Medicine Brain Science Institute, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and the Maryland Energy Administration. That role correlates with the graduate school’s goal of producing innovative leaders who can solve complex societal problems through art and design.


Prior to joining MICA, Nadarajan was professor of art and associate dean for research and graduate studies at the College of Arts and Architecture at Pennsylvania State University. His academic background includes the following degrees: Master of Arts from University of Warwick, United Kingdom; and Master of Social Sciences, Bachelor of Social Sciences, and Bachelor of Arts, all from National University of Singapore.


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