• Sitting in Sound

    Jul 15| Special Event
    Jesse Fleming, A Theory of Everything, 2015, Installation view.
  • Opening Reception

    Jul 15| Special Event

    L: Nora Slade, Kate Mouse Mickey Moss, 2014, Photo transfer and fabric paint on sweatshirt, cardboard and found objects. R: Marisa Takal, I Love My Sister, 2016, Oil on canvas, 65 x 50 inches.

    Opening Reception for the two-person exhibition of work by the Los Angeles-based artists Nora Slade and Marisa Takal

    Light snacks and refreshments.

    Exhibition on view July 15 - August 19, 2017.

    Bolsky Gallery located across from Ben Maltz Gallery, ground floor, Galef Center for Fine Arts.

  • Amelia Gray is the author of the short story collections AM/PM, Museum of the Weird, and Gutshot, as well as the novels Threats and, most recently, Isadora, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Tin House, and VICE. She is winner of the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, of FC2's Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize, and a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. 

  • Image: BijaRi, On the rooftops of Santa Domingo-Savio neighborhood as part of the project Contando con Nosotros, 2011

  • Luis J. Rodriguez was Los Angeles Poet Laureate from 2014-2016. The twenty-fifth edition of his first book, Poems Across the Pavement, won a 2015 Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement. He has written fourteen other books of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and nonfiction, including the best-selling memoir Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. Rodriguez is also founding editor of Tia Chucha Press and co-founder of Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore in the San Fernando Valley. In 2016 Tia Chucha Press produced the largest anthology of L.A.-area poets, Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes & Shifts of Los Angeles. Rodriguez’s last memoir It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award. His latest poetry collection Borrowed Bones appeared in 2016 from Curbstone Books/Northwestern University Press.

  • Raised in Philadelphia, with roots in South Africa and Trinidad, Zinzi Clemmons’ writing has appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story, Transition, The Paris Review Daily, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships and support from the MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Kimbilio Center for African American Fiction. She is co-founder and former Publisher of Apogee Journal, and a Contributing Editor to LitHub. She teaches literature and creative writing at the Colburn Conservatory and Occidental College. Her debut novel, What We Lose, as well as a second title, are forthcoming from Viking.

  • Louise Sandhaus is a graphic designer and graphic design educator. She was previously Director of the Graphic Design Program at CalArts where she currently is faculty. Her recent book on California graphic design, Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires and Riots: California and Graphic Design 1936-1986, co-published by Metropolis Books and Thames & Hudson, has received laudatory reviews from The New York Times, The Guardian, Eye, and Creative Review. The book received the Palm d’Argent for best art book at FILAF (International Festival of Art Books and Films on Art).


OARS Initiative Grants

Faculty Research Grants in Support of Teaching Excellence and Assessment Practices


Grants are offered through the Otis Assessment Research & Scholarship Initiative (OARS)

Assessment has always been a vital part of an arts’ education but a process that is not always visible to students and external audiences. To address WASC standards in the area of teaching and learning for our upcoming re-accreditation process, and in support of faculty teaching excellence and student success, all faculty members are encouraged to research and experiment with teaching methodology and related assessment practices their courses and document the results.

The goal of OARS is to encourage faculty research in arts pedagogy and assessment, and to support faculty members in sharing results with colleagues to improve student learning and serve as a teaching resource for colleagues. Such research activities also serve as Contributions to the College in the faculty advancement system. The OARS initiative seeks to build faculty knowledge and interest in teaching effectiveness as evidenced through simple assessment practices. OARS projects will enhance and promote a culture of evidence and community of pedagogical practice at Otis. As Chase, et al. (2014) argue, the scholarship and practice of assessment in the creative disciplines is “at an exciting stage of development as leaders attempt to provide evidence-based arguments for the relevance of the creative disciplines and simultaneously articulate and address some of the challenges of assessment in the creative disciplines.”

Throughout the 2015-16 academic year, stipends will be granted to faculty members of all ranks in support of classroom and programmatic research that leads to recommendations for improvements in teaching and learning through specific assessment practices. The recommendations should also draw on the scholarship of assessment that includes case studies of effective institutional assessment practices and structures. It is hoped that the faculty research projects will serve as examples for future faculty research, encourage faculty to become involved in further developing their teaching and related assessment practices, and support faculty members’ interests in the scholarship of teaching, learning, and assessment.


Ideas for Research Projects

  • What is the role of self-assessment and reflection in student success?
  • Does a grading rubric (or clearly articulated and weighted criteria) enhance the level or effectiveness in the process of critique?
  • How can student attributes such as risk-taking and creativity be productively measured or “evidenced?”
  • How can visual design contribute to the efficacy and clarity of assessment and feedback tools?
  • What kinds of assessment or feedback works best for students, and why?
  • How forms of assessment are best matched to the activities of a specific course, and why?
  • What is the most effective way to document specific student learning, in addition to evidencing more general learning?
  • Are there research strategies that might be particular to art/design teaching, as compared to the teaching of other subjects?
  • The critique as assessment: how to measure and chronicle the positive effects of effective critical discourse with students.
  • Classroom-based Research by Debra Ballard


  1. Grants of $1,000 (taxable) are available.
  2. The next deadline for submission of request to the Provost is October 15, 2016
  3. Requests will be reviewed and recommended for funding by the Faculty Development Committee; final coordination and support for proposals will be fulfilled by the Provost and Associate Provost for Assessment and Accreditation
  4. Application should include a research question and the methodology for the faculty-led research in the classroom
  5. Faculty will report on the research and its findings in a format appropriate for dissemination (publication)
  6. Reports should cite current research from the literature of assessment (Debra Ballard and Sue Maberry will advise), and should include what the faculty member learned and recommends for improved teaching at Otis, and beyond.

Application Form

OARS Grant Application [docx]

Online version coming soon

Rubric for OARS Applications (This rubric was developed through the Provost's Office)

  1. Goals--clarity of proposal—what is the question or problem?   
  2. Clarity and effectiveness of proposed methods of assessment   
  3. Clarity and appropriateness of proposed research methods and strategy   
  4. Suitability for college assessment purposes (WSCUC and NASAD)  
  5. Likelihood that this will add to our current teaching, learning, and assessment practices
  6. Does the proposal place the project within the current literature?    

Current arts and design assessment literature is available at:
Successful OARS reports can be published in venues including but not limited to:

List of 2015-16 Recipients

Back to Grants page

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