Jim Bonk's Class

Jim Bonk, Visiting Assistant Professor, Chinese Studies and History, and his class using the CWAM collections for object-based learning in Spring 2016.


Faculty and Teaching

The College of Wooster Art Museum as a Teaching Resource

Student learning in the CWAM focuses on Object-Based Learning (OBL). This approach to the study of visual culture grounds discussion, contextual research, and writing within the "exhibit" or object.

Wooster faculty have a variety of options for using the museum as a site for active learning. These include class tours facilitated by CWAM staff, selecting and using permanent collection materials in class, developing an exhibition as an integral aspect of a class, and participating in exhibition development.

How do I set up class tours?

To arrange a facilitated class tour, call or email Kitty McManus Zurko, CWAM Director/Curator, to make arrangements. If you would like to have a class meet in the galleries without a tour, please let the CWAM staff know in case there is another scheduled class meeting at the same time. Please note that facilitated class tours are available outside of the CWAM's posted hours.

How do I select materials from the collection for teaching?

To use permanent collection materials in a class, call or email Kitty McManus Zurko, Director/Curator, or Doug McGlumphy, Preparator/Collections Manager, and describe what you are interested in and your preferred dates for the class visit. CWAM staff will work with you to search the collections, provide suggestions, and facilitate your class visit and collection use in either the galleries or a classroom in Ebert Art Center.

How to do I develop a course-integrated exhibition project?

This type of student learning opportunity is usually planned a year in advance, and can range from the CWAM  developing an exhibition that supports a theme or symposium to developing student-curated exhibitions. If you have an idea for an exhibition project or don't know how to start the process, contact Kitty to discuss your ideas and interests.

What faculty say about the CWAM and student learning

  • My students are usually exposed to the expression of new ideas in the form of a written text. What is exciting about the exhibitions in The College of Wooster Art Museum is that the museum engages students with challenging ideas through creative and complex works of art. This helps students understand how to express themselves in different media and to break down disciplinary boundaries.

    Hank Kreuzman, Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement/Philosophy
  • I like to bring my classes to the art museum when there is an appropriate exhibit—which is surprisingly often. Art constitutes an alternative channel for conveying information, and it's useful for everyone to have a break from all the auditory processing to see something so concrete and visual. The art, in a way, captures and externalizes other people's experience, so it provides my psychology students with insight into others' perspectives on a topic.

    Susan Clayton, Psychology
  • Bodymaps brought a very personal, emotional aspect to the course topic. Instead of just an academic survey of HIV/AIDS, they could see, through the body maps, how AIDS affects individuals. I think it encouraged empathy, which I would have a difficult time teaching. It also made art very approachable, as the body maps were done by community members, and not trained artists.

    Amber Garcia, Psychology/Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • I brought my students to the museum's exhibit on trees in January 2011, and was simply amazed at their response. In all seriousness, I could not have made the connections between the aesthetic appreciation, functionality, and environmental importance of trees in the classroom that the students were able to get from viewing and then journaling about the exhibit. And they said so themselves!

    Matthew Mariola, Environmental Studies and Sociology/Anthropology