Welcome from the Dean

The "Cambridge Dictionary" defines the word foundations as "the basic ideas or structures from which something important develops." The development of something important—something that did not previously exist – drives us as artists, designers, educators and scholars. As dean of the College of Visual Arts and Design, I am excited to invite you to join the college through our first-year Foundations program. This program grounds your educational experience in innovation, visual problem solving, critical thinking, and skills-based making, preparing you to move into advanced coursework ready to hone your passion and your voice. And ready, yourself, to develop something important
You can expect coursework to offer you a balance of craft and concept within a program of carefully interconnected courses to provide knowledge, skills and understandings to support whatever path you pursue within the broad spectrum of arts and design. Foundations programs are common across arts colleges, but CVAD’s Foundations program is far from common — it is unique in its interdisciplinary approach, providing a broad-based curriculum with a strong conceptual focus. You are, truly, joining an innovative program meant to prepare innovative students — you are something important to us here at CVAD, and we are excited you chose us to provide you with the foundation to leave a mark on the world. 

Karen Hutzel, Ph.D.
Professor, Art Education 

Welcome from the Director

Welcome to the College of Visual Arts and Design and the Foundation program! Your journey to a creative career starts at UNT with us in Foundations. We are incredibly happy that you are with us – I want to welcome each of you to CVAD and the Foundations program. I am counting on you to make this a memorable learning experience in your academic career.

Resources: Sometimes, thinking about college life can be daunting, but the college experience will be what you make it as it shapes your life for years. Your learning experience and opportunities will be limited only if you place limitations on yourself. Therefore, I urge you to take advantage of what UNT and CVAD offer. We are here to support you in your academic journey every step of the way. Check out our Resources pages to familiarize yourself with the support services needed to enhance your college experience and academic success.

Student Services: We value and embrace diversity, inclusivity and the commitment to academic excellence. As you take the first step toward achieving your career goals and new academic career, take advantage of many opportunities and support available to help you reach your full potential. Meeting with a CVAD academic advisor is key to helping you stay on track and fulfilling the academic requirements — so that you graduate on time. Keep in touch with CVAD Academic Advising and schedule appointments by accessing the Navigate  app. 

Supportive Community: Your learning experience in the Foundations program is supplemented by exhibitions at the CVAD Galleries and Union Art Gallery, our Visiting Artist and Scholar Series and the monthly discussions at the CVAD Career Roundtable. Faculty and lab instructors within the college also maintain office hours, and we at the Foundations office in the Art Building, Room 230, have an open door should you have questions. I urge you to actively participate in your learning experience, stay connected, and let us know how we can support your goals.

So, welcome to CVAD! We are incredibly happy that you are here!

Binod Shrestha
Director, Foundations 

About Foundations

The Foundations program is the gateway and first-year experience for all incoming students. It is the core of all undergraduate degree programs in the College of Visual Art and Design at the University of North Texas. The coursework in the Foundations program introduces visual problem-solving and critical-thinking strategies, incorporating and studying the culture, history, and practices of various art and design forms across disciplines to prepare students for rigorous college courses in visual art, design, art education, and art history. 

The curriculum provides a foundation for all CVAD students, regardless of program, in professional practice, critical thinking, and writing embedded within a framework of making-based first-year studio courses. Together, these courses function as a whole, conceptually driven, skills-based, and experiential.

Faculty in the Foundations program are accomplished artists and designers in their respective fields. They maintain active studio practices and exhibit their work nationally and internationally.

Foundations Facilities

On the third floor of the Art Building, the Foundations program uses 10 classrooms that serve as the teaching labs for the program's four courses. Foundations students have access to the Student Computer Lab, equipment check-out items, photo documentation room, digital and textile fabrication labs, critique areas, and multiple exhibition spaces for student exhibitions. For more information, visit the CVAD IT Services web page, check your syllabus for instructions, or contact the faculty member for the CVAD class you are enrolled in. 

Additional Foundations Resources

In addition to curricular offerings, the Foundations program enriches students' learning experience with a visiting artist and scholar series and monthly career roundtable discussions. These resources give students a glimpse of their potential career trajectory and an opportunity for network and mentorship.

Visiting Artist and Scholars Series

The Foundations Program recognizes the value of exposing students to the broader professional engagement practiced by Art and Design professionals and scholars. The Visiting Artists and Scholars Series plays a supplemental role in the curriculum of the Foundations program and supports all degree programs offered within the College of Visual Arts and Design. The series aims to go beyond course-specific necessity by providing students with a broader intellectual, conceptual, and professional learning experience. The Foundations program seeks to bring in local, national, and international designers, artists, curators, historians, cultural critics, and educators at various career stages and with diverse cultural backgrounds.

Spring, Fall 2019

Hannah Quinn
Zeke Peña
May Tveit
Michael Velliquette
Sara Jayne Parsons 

Spring, Fall 2018

Chris Cosnowski
Fariba Abedin
Marilyn da Silva
Micah Nichols
Azucena Roma
Ben Willis 

CVAD Career Roundtable

The CVAD Career Roundtable is a forum for students to discuss and discover career opportunities in visual arts, design, museum studies, art education, art history, and other fields that may or may not relate to art and design. The Career Roundtable sessions, listed on the CVAD News and Views website, provide first-year and all CVAD students opportunities to prepare for career possibilities and connect with mentors.
The CVAD Career Roundtable is a collaboration between the Foundations program and the UNT Career Center. For more information, contact Binod Shrestha, director of Foundations, or Marcy Bishop-Lilley, CVAD career coach, UNT Career Center.

Information about the forum is posted throughout the semester, and students receive notifications through email, posters, and digital fliers. 


The Foundations program believes in a tensegrity design structure that builds, cultivates, and fosters a creative, collaborative, resilient and culturally curious community of artists, scholars, educators, and practitioners.


The Foundations program in the College of Visual Arts and Design provides a broad foundation for developing the practical skills and conceptual methodologies necessary to enter any visual arts major within the college. The program promotes the understanding of historical and contemporary currents and their relationships.

The Foundations program's mission is to equip and nurture a community of first-year students with intercultural curiosity and transformable and transferable skills and knowledge. Students will be taught to embrace failure, succeed in subsequent studies, and become creative and resilient global citizens, artists, scholars, educators, practitioners, and leaders in their chosen fields.

Program Learning Objectives

  1. Create and foster opportunities for critical thinking, metacognition, and problem-solving
  2. Study and apply the elements of art and the principles of visual language in image and object-making processes through a multitude of materials, media, and processes
  3. Develop and nurture cultural curiosity and intercultural understanding
  4. Develop and promote resilience through ideation, collaboration, experimentation, and critique, and foster opportunities to learn from failure
  5. Develop digital literacy, cultivate adaptability, and apply the ethical use of technology in visual art and design
  6. Build reflective and analytical oral and written communication skills. Build reflective and analytical communication skills.
  7. Build and promote personal and collective accountability in professionalism, leadership, and collaboration
  8. Build context and develop social, historical, and intercultural frameworks in critical analyses through writing, speaking, and making

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Learn to evaluate critically and creatively apply multiple systems of thinking and perception in the process of visual design and art-making from historical and contemporary frameworks
  2. Acquire the knowledge and craft of analog and digital art materials through the experimentation and application of the elements and principles of visual organization
  3. Acquire the skills and vocabulary to articulate thoughts and ideas through the use of visual and verbal languages
  4. Learn successful strategies to investigate and collaboratively research with peers in multiple environments independently
  5. Learn professional standards and success strategies for resilience through portfolio and project-based exercises
  6. Acquire an expansive view of art and design through a global and cross-cultural perspective  

Contact Information

Binod Shrestha
Director, Foundations Program
Art Building, Room 230E

Future undergraduate students: Apply to UNT; you will meet with an academic advisor during orientation. You also may contact CVAD Recruiter Kevin, for more information.