First Year Experience (FYE)



In this yearlong trans-disciplinary and thematic studio experience, students from a variety of majors investigate ways of being a creative person in today’s world. Topics include contemporary practice, social and global issues, personal and professional development, historical and theoretical perspectives, as well as MICA-specific initiatives. Through creative work, dialogue, the written word, research and presentations, students work individually and in groups to reflect critically on course content as they consider the rich array of possibilities for twenty-first century art and design. The course culminates in a self-reflective portfolio presentation integrating all first year courses.


At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to respond to their work and the work of others through verbal, written, and material projects.

  • Demonstrate a familiarity with an array of contemporary art and design practices as those practices relate to social and global issues.

  • Practice skills for professional and personal development.

  • Use processes for iterative thinking, pattern recognition, and brainstorming.

  • Demonstrate skills in collaboration in order to develop a sense of community, citizenship, and social engagement.




Student Learning Outcome

Consistency Guideline

Demonstrate the ability to respond to their work and the work of others through verbal, written, and material projects.

Learning Critique Methods. Some examples are:

Demonstrate a familiarity with an array of contemporary art and design practices as those practices relate to social and global issues.

Discussion of and reflections on the Falvey Hall lecture series.

  • In order to facilitate class discussion, all presentations will be recorded and placed online before the following Monday.  

Practice skills for professional and personal development.






Course Reflections.

  • Ability to reflect (in writing) about coursework

  • Encourage archiving/documentation of work throughout the year in all courses

  • Explore examples of websites for artists and designers.

Use processes for iterative thinking, pattern recognition, and brainstorming.







Three long-term projects

  • Faculty will give students a total of three assignments over the course of the semester.

  • Students should practice iteration on their work/ideas

  • Assist with brainstorming ideas

  • Encourage reflection on personal choices/patterns/styles/interests

Demonstrate skills in collaboration in order to develop a sense of community, citizenship, and social engagement.

Students should work in teams at least once in the semester.



Fall 19 Forum Course events schedule


Fall 19 Forum Events Schedule

All lecture events listed occur at Falvey Hall 1:30- 3pm unless specified.

  • August 26: Semester Intro and Speakers


Infinity Knives (Tariq Ravelomanana) is an African born / Baltimore based musician often working with bands, orchestras, and singers to create the perfect culmination of left-field electronic, hip-hop and sound collages, in the likes of Erik Satie, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Outkast. Vocalist Randi Withani is a local soulful singer/songwriter who’s trained at Baltimore’s Peabody Conservatory.


Winston Frazer, Co-founder and CEO of Danae Prosthetics, Winston Frazer blends aesthetic, practicality, and innovation. The idea was sparked by a formative trip to São Tomé and Príncipe where Winston was impacted by the lack of resources available to amputees. Seeking a solution to address an amputee's desire for privacy and/or a fashion statement in their everyday life, Winston taught himself how to use a 3D printer and created his first prosthetic hand. Danae's mission is to provide affordable, automated, and easy to use customizable 3D printing solutions that address above and below the knee amputees’ concerns. Born out of MICA's Up/Start student pitch competition in 2016, Winston is an excellent example of someone who has been through a school-sponsored pitch competition and has achieved initial success with $85,000 in funding with more on the way.

  • September  2:   Memorial Day Holiday

  • September 9:  Humanities Presentations  / Time: 1:30-3pm  / Location: Falvey Hall, Brown Center

Description: Mike Sizer, The Chair of Humanities at MICA and faculty Dr. Mel Lewis will present their work alongside recent graduates of MICA whose work merges humanistic research, visual art, and design. Alumni practitioners include Kurt Guo, Cal Hutcheon, and Kazi Rayhan.

  • September 16:  No Forum Lecture - PT Faculty Forum Meeting (Meeting Room M340)

  • September 23: MICA Alumni lectures  /   Time: 1:30-3pm   /   Location: Falvey Hall, Brown Center 

Description: Join Collette Veasey-Cullors and four of our MICA Sondheim finalists as they discuss their various art practices and what it was like to apply for the prize and exhibit with this incredible group. Stephanie and Jackie will speak as members of our faculty and staff, and Akea and Phylicia are both alumni, just one year and ten years after graduation respectively. Programmed by Student Affairs

Akea Brionne Brown is a photographer, writer, curator, and researcher whose personal work investigates the implications of historical racial and social structures in relation to the development of contemporary black life and identity within America. With a particular focus on the ways in which history influences the contemporary cultural milieu of the American black middle class, she explores current political and social themes, as they relate to historical forms of oppression, discrimination, and segregation in American history. 

Akea Brionne Brown has received the Visual Task Force Award from the National Association of Black Journalists. Her work is also featured in the Smithsonian's Ralph Rinzler Collection and Archives and was recently acquired by the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art Collection. She was announced the 2018 Winner for Duke University’s Center for Documentary Arts Collection Award, as the 2018 Documentarian of Color. Her series, Black Picket Fences, was acquired for their permanent collection and is on preserve at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. She was nominated for PDN's 30 (Photo District News) 2018: New and Emerging Photographers to Watch. Brown was recently named the 2019 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize Winner, juried by Laylah Ali, William Powhida, and Regina Basha. Akea received her BFA (2018) from the Maryland Institute College of Art, in the dual degree program of Photography and Humanities. She is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana and is currently based in Baltimore, Maryland.

Phylicia Ghee (Baltimore, MD) is an interdisciplinary visual artist and photographer; her artwork documents transition explores healing, ritual, ceremony & rites of passage. Taught by her Grandfather at a very early age, Phylicia works in photography, performance, video, fibers, mixed media, installation & painting. She earned her BFA in Photography with a Concentration in Curatorial Studies from Maryland Institute College of Art.

Phylicia has curated numerous exhibitions, events and public programs throughout Baltimore centered around issues of identity, healing and community. She has also exhibited her work in various galleries, museums and art fairs, some of which include The Baltimore Museum of Art, Galerie Myrtis (Baltimore MD), The Egyptian Embassy (Washington, DC), The Margulies Warehouse (Miami, Florida), Studio Art Centers International (Florence, Italy), Art on the Vine (Martha’s Vineyard), Young Collectors Contemporary (Memphis, TN). In 2008 The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture commissioned Phylicia to create a 6’X7’ mixed media quilt for the museum’s private collection.

In 2015, Phylicia served as Resident Healing Artist for a city-wide campaign called the New Day Campaign and in 2017, Phylicia received recognition from the First Lady Yumi Hogan & the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration for her art and activism in raising awareness on issues surrounding mental illness and substance use. In 2019, Phylicia exhibited at The Walters Art Museum as one of seven Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize Finalists and she was named 'Best of Baltimore' in the category of Artist. During her professional career, Phylicia has not only taught numerous classes and art-based workshops, but she has also done multiple performances and facilitated various rituals & ceremonies that explore artistic practice as a way to initiate & encourage healing.

Stephanie J Williams is a multi-media artist and animator based in Washington, DC and Baltimore.

Jackie Milad (Baltimore City, MD) Creates textured works on paper and canvas. Her artwork has been featured in group and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally. Select exhibitions include: Grizzly Grizzly (Philadelphia, PA), School 33 Art Center (Baltimore, MD), Phoebe Projects curated by Alex Ebstein (Baltimore, MD), Lycoming College (Lycoming, PA), Gettysburg College (Gettysburg, PA), Flashpoint (Washington D.C.), Museo de Arte de Mazatlan (Mazatlan, MX), DiFOCUR de Sinaloa Galleria (Culiacan, MX), Transmitter (Brooklyn, NY), Arlington Art Center (Arlington, VA), Goucher College, Silber Gallery (Baltimore, MD). In 2010, 2016, 2019 Milad was awarded an Individual Artist Grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. In 2018 she was named a Sondheim Semi-Finalist and in 2019 a Sondheim Finalist. Jackie was an inaugural resident of Creative Alliance at the Patterson and also held a residency at the Vermont Studio Center. Milad received her BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, and her MFA from Towson University. Besides her active studio practice, Jackie Milad also has an extensive career as a curator and educator, where she has committed many years to the education and support of emerging artists.

Jackie's curatorial career began as a co-founder of the Transmodern Festival, an artist-run performance art and experimental media festival that was based in Baltimore. More recently, Milad served as the Chief Curator for The Delaware Contemporary in Wilmington, Delaware. She has also held the position of Gallery Curator for the Adele H. Stamp Student Union's Stamp Gallery and Acquisition Advisor for the Stamp's Contemporary Art Collection at the University of Maryland in College Park. Currently, Jackie is an Assistant Director for the Joseph Meyerhoff Center of Career Development, and an Adjunct Professor in Curatorial Practice MFA Program at Maryland Institute College of Art.

  • September 30:  PJ Gubatina Policarpio Semester Keynote  / Time: 1:30-3pm  / Location: Falvey Hall, Brown Center

 Description:  PJ Gubatina Policarpio

His practice utilizes research, collaboration, pedagogy, curatorial and public programming as both art and tool. PJ designs spaces for critical and thoughtful engagements between communities, artists, and art; especially addressing a diverse, multilingual, and multicultural audience. He brings dynamic experience in museum education, curatorial and arts administration previously working at The Museum of Modern Art, Queens Museum and the Brooklyn Museum. He has presented at conferences nationally including the American Alliance of Museums, College Art Association, National Art Education Association and Open Engagement. He has delivered lectures and participated in panel discussions at Washington Project for the Arts, Mills College, UC Berkeley, New York Art Book Fair, Cooper Hewitt, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, San Francisco Public Library, The Field Museum, The New School Parsons School of Design, Textile Arts Center, University of Illinois at Chicago, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and more. PJ has organized exhibitions and programming at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Asian Art Museum, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Dixon Place, NURTUREart, and forthcoming at Southern Exposure. He is co-founder of PAL / Pilipinx American Library, an itinerant library and programming platform dedicated exclusively to Filipinx perspectives. His publication Textiles of the Philippines is in the collection of The Thomas J. Watson Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. PJ is currently the Youth Programs Manager at The Contemporary Jewish Museum.

Special thanks to Curatorial Practice MFA program for helping to bring PJ to MICA.

  • October 7: No Forum Lecture - FT Faculty Forum Meeting  (Meeting Room M340)

  • October 14: No Forum Lecture - Flextime 

  • October 21: Semester Fall Break

  • October 28:  Wellness workshop by MICA Faculty / Time: 1:30-3pm / Location:  The Parkway Theater

Description:  On Monday, October 28th from 1:30-3pm at the Parkway Theater, located 5 West North Avenue, Sundance Fellow, Diego Galafassi will present his WIP, “Breathe” a multi-sensorial mixed-reality experience of breath in conversation with Kelli Bethel, Director of Yoga and Yoga Therapy at the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine.

Diego Galafassi

Sundance Fellow, Diego Galafassi's work Breathe is a multi-sensorial mixed-reality experience of air and the journey of breath in the living world. Diego will present "Ted Talk" style by speaking and showing clips of his work-in-progress. He will also take questions from the audience.

 Kelli Bethel   

PT, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500, is Director of Yoga and Yoga Therapy at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Center for Integrative Medicine,  is a practicing physical therapist with over 27 years of experience, and a certified yoga therapist. Kelli has extensive experience as a physical therapist in both adult and pediatric clients. She has been working in the field of yoga therapy since 2007, with an emphasis on neurologic disorders and cancer and lectures internationally on these topics.   In addition to being a board-certified physical therapist and a certified yoga therapist, she holds a graduate certificate in Integrative Health and Wellness and is a doctoral candidate in physical therapy at Arcadia University. Programmed by Catherine Behrent and Kirsten Hollander, and the Wellness Committee.

  • November 4:  No Forum Lecture - Flextime 

  • November  11: No Forum Lecture - Flextime 

  • November  18 Faculty Pecha Kucha presentations / Time: 1:30-3pm / Location: Falvey Hall, Brown Center Description:  MICA faculty participants TBD   programmed by Stephen Hendee

  • November  25: No Forum Lecture - Full Forum Faculty Meeting  (Meeting Room M340)

  • December 2: No Forum Lecture - Flextime 

  • December 9: No Forum Lecture - Flextime