After teaching art education in art departments for way over twenty years, I can
tell you that the credentials required for teaching studio art is typically an
MFA in Studio Art. I believe the reasoning is that if you can create "great"
works of art (you know how subjective that is) then you can teach. Most MFA
programs do not provide instruction on how to teach; some, however do offer
Teaching Assistants, some instruction but from my experience this is more on
the order of what to teach for the Department's particular curriculum. Very
little is done to help TAs and professors as well, to gain knowledge and
experience in teaching effectiveness. This is true also in other subject
matters, not just art. University professors by and large are not certified.
Nevertheless, I have never seen any study that supports that certification
ensures teaching effectiveness. I have also never seen a study that
demonstrates that teachers who have training in teaching do a more effective
teaching job than those who don't. I am not saying that training does not
help, but because of the difficulty of measuring teacher effectiveness, it is
difficult to make any legitimate conclusions. Hence there is very little
incentive to require university professors to have had some type of pedagogical
Also, the more I teach Art Education the more I realize I do not know how to
teach others how to teach art as effectively as I might like. It is a
challenging and daunting task. As a whole, there is very little research in
general on how to do this. There are a lot of differing opinions, but not much
consensus. My own education in Art Education served me well about knowing the
discipline of art education; it did not teach me how to teach others how to
teach art, which is entirely a different animal than teaching art itself.
However, it did provide me the skills and a lifetime passion for searching for
ways to answer that question.
There continues to be from my perspective, (however, not very much in my current
department), a continuing misunderstanding and misperception about the abilities
of those who would seek to become and are Art Educators. When I was working on
my Ph.D. at the University of Missouri-Columbia, I understood this bias and
elected to pursue what I call a studio oriented Ph.D. in Art Education. This
required advanced graduate work in one studio area (graphic design in my case)
and a one person art exhibition in addition to a Dissertation. I knew this
would make it easier for me to secure a teaching position. This has also
helped me and the art education program to gain respect from studio faculty. I
have never regretted this decision.
Over the years I have seen Art Education and Studio Art move in very seperate
directions. The current emphasis on Visual Culture really shows how the goals
of a studio art program and an art education program within an art department
are vastly different. Because of long standing traditions, current structures
in art departments, faculty allocations, current structures in universities,
and a conflicted art education profession, it is extremely difficult if not
impossible to institute reform in art education programs that address the
changing needs of the art education profession.
Ideally, I would love to see Art Education pull out of Art Departments entirely
and be thought of as a social science with its own discipline and subject
matter. I believe Art Education is a discipline in its own right. We as art
education professionals have failed to identify the essence of our own field
and we are really responsible for the current state of insignificance of our
field. We need to identify what our field is. What is the history, concepts,
principles and subject matter of our field. I believe we need to have a more
global definition of art education that is way beyond the current K-12
conception. If art education were to identify itself as a unique discipline
and the parent discipline for studio art, art history, aesthetics, art history,
art therapy, K-12 art education, art learning technology, art museum education,
art recreation therapy, art/criminal justice, etc. then we could really
transform our world and culture. We are failing now to convict the world of
the importance of an education in art mainly because we think too small. We
focus on K-12 education almost exclusively, not all the avenues for which Art
Education has much to contribute.
We are currently a small field with few leaders who have the vision, respect,
time, energy and resources to redefine our profession. Before we can effect a
change in K-12 art, we need first to identify what kind of World we Need and
how an education in art can help us accomplish our goals in the larger culture.
Without a broad agenda, Art Education will continue to be a marginal discipline
always on the verge of being snuffed out.
What do you guys think?
Dr. Diane C. Gregory
Director, Undergraduate & Graduate
Studies in Art Education
Texas Woman's University
Denton, TX 76204
> In a message dated 6/27/05 5:44:44 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
> > Great discussion topic about meaning and skill.
> I agree, Diane. And so many of the reminiscing about college days brought
> back my own experiences 1965-1969: no technical instruction and terrible
> belittling of those interested in teaching along with art making. One
> note: Please correct me if I am wrong, but I do not think that college
> instructors/professors have to have any sort of training in how to
> something to ponder.
> I do not think that meaning and instruction in technique need to be in an
> either/or situation. Of course I work with small children, but the way I
> it, the meaning and subject matter are the responsibility of the
> student/artists; the technical and historical aspects are the responsibility
> of the teacher!
> And we all work together at art making. Am I too naive?
> regards to all the thoughtful posters on this site. I love to read.
> kathy douglas
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