Faculty Highlight: Rose Casterline Draws Students to Success

Wednesday, November 17, 2021 

By Jennifer Keefe

Quick … Take out a piece of paper and a pencil. Now, draw a vase, a table, a window and a chair. Oh, and you only have about five minutes to complete them all.

This hands-on, metacognitive experience is how students in Professor of Art Rose Casterline’s introductory visual art classes get their first taste of how to critique their own pieces and improve them. First, they draw them. Then, they spend the rest of the semester revisiting these drawings and breaking down the idea of how they drew them and how to improve them.

Rose is in the third year of the tenure process.

Her teaching philosophy involves the idea that “everyone can draw and drawing is teachable.”

Rose says that the exercise she starts her classes with helps her students to “resolve the conflict between what you know and what you see.”

She says she “wants her students, over time, to focus on the ‘seeing.’”

Rose has taught visual art classes at the College for more than 20 years. These days, she divides her time between the Downtown and West Campuses. She says now that she’s achieving tenure, she wants to focus on the foundational art courses because not everyone taking them intends to be an artist in the traditional sense.

“We have students who aren’t art majors,” she says. “They who come into the class with fears they won’ be able to pass the course. In addition, they may need to pass this class to prepare for their junior portfolio review for places like the University of Central Florida.”

Many of Rose’s students are graphic design majors working on their two-year certificates. She says an introductory art class will make them a better designer.

Rose also sees her classes as helping to resolve an equity issue, by giving all students interested in careers that involve visual arts skills a chance to be successful.

Rose’s action research project is underway this semester. It involves a series of active learning exercises that “scaffold students’ skills, gaining mastery to allow them to do more complex observational drawings,” she explains.

The project entails creating and implementing a series of teaching tools, such as acronym infographics, process-based rubrics and basic verbal instructions that explain to students how to self-check their own work. Her goal is to create four foundational or universal checklists that help the students think about their thought process as they draw.

Rose adds, “Drawing, visual art and studio classes are naturally active, but it is about bringing metacognitive awareness — thinking about their thinking — to their drawing.”

Rose teaches the students to self-critique by using a variety of methods, including tools in Canvas, where corrective annotations bridge the gap between seeing and perceptual accuracy in student drawings. Students also engage in small group critiques, analyzing fellow students’ work, learning to read spatial and visual information.

Rose’s action research will take about six weeks to complete, as the students learn to apply their thinking skills while drawing.

She says she realizes her classes can be harder than they sound for many students. “I think one of the most challenging things for students is to sit down and do a six-hour drawing.”

Rose adds, “With my project, I’m helping them to navigate that.” The process involves first building skills, then adding in creativity.

As a best practice, Rose believes anything you can do with students that is hands-on is a valuable experience for them. Most classes begin with live demonstration drawings, modeling technique and the process of discovery. Tearing down and modifying the observed subject, students are learning about the process of seeing and mapping those observations. Through that process, and a cycle of giving immediate feedback in the studio and in Canvas, she builds connections with students. The constant inquiry and revisiting the problem, that’s something she learned in her own days as an art student.

Even with all of her experience, Rose says she couldn’t call herself an artist for a long time.

“The challenge is in our society is that anyone can be an artist and call their work art,” she explains. “But in the world of academia there are foundational standards to be an artist.”

Rose believes that once you meet the standards, you can be more creative and make what you want. Her goal is to help her students become the picture of success, whatever that means to them.

Do you know a faculty member doing great work? Or, perhaps you’d like to share the work you’re doing? Send the colleague’s (or your) name to us at  The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu and include Faculty Highlight Nomination in the subject line of your email. We might just feature your colleague (or you) as an upcoming Faculty Highlight.


  • Karen Cowden said:

    You are a trailblazer!

    PMThu, 18 Nov 2021 18:14:54 +0000Thu, 18 Nov 2021 18:14:54 +0000pm21,6:14 pm

  • Rebecca Toole said:

    Wonderful article! I love reading what you write about academics and art. Very interesting!

    AMFri, 19 Nov 2021 06:37:18 +0000Fri, 19 Nov 2021 06:37:18 +0000am21,6:37 am

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