Visual LIteracy

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Jesup Scott Honors College



Visual literacy is the ability to “speak visual.” The Toledo Museum of Art defines visual literacy as the ability to read, comprehend and write visual language. The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) defines visual literacy as a set of abilities that enables an individual to effectively find, interpret, evaluate, use and create images and visual media. Visual literacy is a skill that is critical to effective communication, creativity and design thinking.

Learn more about what is visual literacy


The University of Toledo and the Toledo Museum of Art strengthened their partnership to expand the teaching of visual literacy to UT students. The two organizations are working collaboratively to develop a campus-wide initiative in visual literacy that is available to all UT students across all majors.

In addition to providing opportunities for UT students to master the skill to “speak visual,” the engagement of students in visual literacy early in their college career can increase retention and improve student success. The visual literacy provided by this collaboration to UT students will enhance their ability to be effective citizens of Toledo and the world. Since UT produces one third of the region’s employees, this will serve to enhance the city and the region.

This collaboration leverages the strengths of TMA’s Center of Visual Expertise (COVE) and experience teaching visual literacy to young K-12 students as well as professionals in the industrial and manufacturing fields with UT’s Center for the Visual Arts in art education, Jesup Scott Honors College in interdisciplinary learning and UT Libraries in supporting information literacy.

The effort is led by Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College at UT, and Mike Deetsch, Director of Education and Engagement at TMA, and involves a team of approximately 20 faculty and staff from both institutions who are donating their time to this partnership.

The visual literacy initiative was made possible with financial support from Judith Herb, a generous longtime supporter of both institutions.

Last Updated: 11/5/18