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Folkestad leads art department with belief in students and faculty


By Ye Ming

William Folkestad, the chair of art department, has emphasized on reinforcement instead of making changes in the department since August 16, 2009, the day he came to CSU-Pueblo.

“I believe in my students and I believe in my faculty,” Folkestad said. “What I embrace and believe is that the faculty and students are two sides of the same coin, and what joints them is the curriculum.“

So my concern has been to find ways to reinforce that connection between the faculty and students and to improve our courses, course structures, course assessment so that we can do the best job we can of educating our majors.”

William Folkestad has served as the chair of art department since fall, 2009. Photo by Ye Ming.

In addition to the required core courses students need to take, they will also choose an emphasis area that offers a set of courses to help them specialize in an interested field, Folkestad said. This includes painting, photography or art education, he said.

These courses are not to require more skills, but to help students refine and master the skills they have gotten in the core courses, Folkestad said. Although no big change will happen, the department is trying to improve several things in the future.

This includes focusing on developing funding to offer scholarships to incoming freshmen, Folkestad said, and working with current sponsors continue helping its more developed students.

It is all about trying to bring in more visiting artists to give students the opportunities to work with professional artists and experience different perspectives in a given area, he said.

Folkestad holds a bachelor’s degree in studio art from Central Washington University, a master’s degree in art history and a doctorate from the University of Washington. His area of concentration for his doctorate was medieval studies, particularly early gothic medieval architecture.

After he received his doctorate Folkestad was hired as an art historian in CWU and later became the chair of its art department.

Folkestad’s decision to come to CSU-Pueblo was led by his desire to find an institution that would not only allow him to continue his passion in education but also would try to meet the needs of first-generation university students.

What excites him the most in teaching first-generation university students is their awareness of the significance of having a college education and their desires to improve their life and opportunities through it.

“It presents a special set of challenges and those challenges are good ones for educators to engage,” Folkestad said.

In order to keep the department moving, Folkestad aims to keep the curriculum and department updated so that the faculty can function well within their disciplines and students can have high-quality experiences.

“I look forward to helping the department develop a strong presence in the state so that our programs for this corner of the state becomes a program of preference,” he said. “That truly is my goal.”