Scott Betz

Associate Professor of Art + Visual Studies

Professor Scott Betz served as President and board member and member of FATE (Foundations in Art: Theory and Education) for 19 years. In his six years as FATE President, he saw first-hand the major national pedagogical directions of foundation teaching. During his tenure, he wrote, analyzed, and interpreted two national teaching surveys. Prof. Betz was also the interim director of the Center for Design Innovation 2013-14. In his 28 years of college-level teaching, he has tried and tested a variety of successful approaches. As a practicing art professor who teaches 6-10 courses every year, he sees the challenges of daily art and design instruction. He has written four lab books for different courses that focus on active learning processes, which open opportunities for personal reflection and expression. Teaching at a historically black university, he sees the student reactions to the bias of Western artists, images and processes and strives for a balanced global approach in his examples. This attention to global, contemporary and digital applications won him a major research grant (the first for an artist/designer at his university) to develop more examples of the connections between global historical color/art usage and the contemporary digital present. His grant will help fund much of the research necessary for developing and co-writing a new textbook with his wife and art historian Dr. Laura Amrhein.

His creative research is well known internationally through successful collaborations among media and across a variety of genres including traditional studios, installation, sound and game design. His work has been the basis of more than 100 exhibitions in Colombia, China, Australia, Argentina, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Taiwan, Korea, Canada, Japan, and across the United States. In June 2013, he was invited to speak on the subject of 3D Printing for the international artist lecture series in conjunction with the Kraków Print Triennial at the Kunstlerhaus Museum, Vienna. In 2015, he was invited back in a collaborative exhibition “LOOP”

His two children Will (16) and Kate (14) have been inspirational in his work and instrumental in building a theory about collaboration.

Some of the answers he found in regard to a theory of collaboration is that the best of collaboration is not simply an issue of multiple parties working on a complex project. For example, each collaborator might have a particular expertise and hand off performance, which is sometimes referred to as a collaboration “pipeline”. In the many steps of collaboration, those in earlier steps do not necessarily engage with those in the later steps down the line. A second example is where all collaborators have similar expertise making the workload lighter that is sometimes referred to as collaboration “teamwork” similar to a barn-raising. Here, all may be present but no new challenges are put forth to stretch learning. His ideal collaboration is different from the two above. It is instead a combination of all present at the same time and an embrace of the different expertise in the project. It is a process of immersing oneself in the discussions and activities and challenging one’s own expertise to grow and evolve through the team collaborative project that is at times uncertain. This type of collaboration embraces the diverse expertise of the pipeline but through the full team participation from beginning to end. For the majority of the time, one is placed outside of their comfort zone. It is this model that nurtures the new discovery of becoming which is shared and reaffirmed by the group and raises the value of this collaborative approach higher.

Betz joined Winston-Salem State University as an Associate Professor in 2004. He was appointed as the Foundation and Studio Art Coordinator in 2005-07 and as the Art Program Coordinator in 2007-09. Betz was then promoted to Professor of Art + Visual Studies in 2010.