Teachers of teachers: Faculty working lives and art teacher education in the United States
Galbraith, Lynn Powell
This article reports selected survey data from a larger, ongoing research project that aims to identify faculty-the teachers of teachers-involved in preparing art teachers within the United States. The research examines where faculty teach, what they teach, their responsibilities and practices, and their beliefs about preparing teachers. The article provides the reader with a sense of the issues-the flavor-that part of this research has uncovered to date in relation to faculty working lives. It concludes with suggestions for a research agenda that focuses on art teacher education faculty.
Dream job: Working where valued as a professional art educator; teaching professionally committed students; working with quality school personnel; having time and support to continue active research and writing interests; working in a supportive and collegial atmosphere. (Professor)
There is a developing consensus that the preparation of teachers should become central to art education research (Davis, 1990; Day, 1997; Galbraith, 1995; Zimmerman, 1994; 1997). Research exists on specific art teacher preparation programs (Carroll, Jones, & Sandell, 1995; Day, 1997; Galbraith, 1997; Sevigny, 1987; Thompson & Hardiman, 1991; Willis-Fisher, 1993; Zimmerman, 1997), and there is a growing interest in examining art preservice teachers’ beliefs about teaching art (Grauer 1998; Kowalchuk, 1999; Short, 1995). Yet there is a lack of research on college level faculty-the teachers of teachers-whose qualifications, expertise, beliefs, and practices, shape and define art education within over 600 diverse institutions that have some association with preparing art teachers today (Galbraith, 1997; Hutchens, 1997).
This lack of attention to faculty issues is not surprising, given that the data on faculty members associated with teacher education, in general, is sparse (Ducharme & Ducharme, 1996; Howey & Zimpher, 1989; Murray, 1995). Ducharme (1993) suggested that faculty members who prepare teachers are formerly public school teachers who enter higher education to seek better rewards and to have more autonomy in their professional lives. Faculty work involves paying attention to issues affecting conditions of employment and institutional expectations (Boyer, 1990; Fullan, 1996). It also involves paying attention to decisions that affect job satisfaction, career patterns, as well as professional and personal happiness (Ducharme, 1993). As with teachers teaching in school settings (Goodson, 1992; Huberman, 1993), faculty work is intimately affected by daily interactions with students, colleagues, and administrators (Jordan, 1994).
Who then are the art education college-level faculty members that prepare future art teachers? Where do they teach? What are their jobs like? What are their roles, responsibilities, and beliefs in relation to art teacher education? This article reports on data taken from an ongoing research project that aims to identify faculty who teach art education within the U.S., the institutions in which they teach, their specific faculty roles and responsibilities, and their practices and beliefs about art teacher education.
Given the broad context of this research and its overall qualitative nature, my intention is to provide the reader with a sense of the issuesthe flavor-that part of this research has uncovered. To this end, I will report on where education faculty members teach, their qualifications, and what they teach, and on specific aspects of their job descriptions, especially those related to teaching and research. I will briefly discuss how selected faculty members view their jobs currently and in the best possible worlds. I will conclude with implications for developing a research agenda that studies art teacher education faculty.
The data for this article are taken from two sources: First, I sent an open-ended questionnaire to 500 faculty members who worked at a variety of institutions (e.g.; research, teaching, liberal arts, religious, professional art school, private, public, large, small, and so forth) within the U.S. Faculty names, addresses, and institutions were gathered from the NASA Higher Education Division membership list, intensive searches of institutional homepages on the Internet, annual NAEA Convention programs, and the Internet listserv associated with the NAEA Research Task Force on Teacher Education.
Of the 500 questionnaires mailed, 167 were returned from 44 states, with a return rate of 33 percent. Of these, 19 questionnaires were unusable, because, for example, art education was no longer taught at that institution. Of the 148 usable surveys, 69 (47 percent) were from male and 79 (53 percent) were from female faculty. They represent 129 institutions (in some cases, there was more than one respondent from one institution). Second, I contacted 40 of the respondents via electronic mail. This correspondence provided an additional layer of data and involved in-depth discussions about specific faculty job descriptions and aspirations.
The data are presented in two parts. The first part comprises a series of tables depicting general information taken from the questionnaires. Because the survey questionnaire was lengthy, and certain questions focused on issues ancillary to my discussion (some questions focused on programmatic requirements or workshop possibilities for faculty), I will report on data from selected questions only (see Appendix A for the questions that are referred to in this paper). The second part is taken from the questionnaires and follow-up e-mail correspondence. At times, data received verbatim from the survey or e-mail conversations are presented directly. The data are discussed under a series of thematic headings.
Data Analyzed and Faculty Respondents
This section of the article provides an over-view of who the faculty respondents are, where and what they teach, and other selected aspects of their job descriptions, particularly those that relate to preparing future art teachers.
Faculty Respondents and Instructional Ranks
Respondents were employed in a variety of professorial ranks (see Table 1). As the Table shows, male faculty members represented the majority of educators at the full professor rank, with female faculty members representing the larger numbers at the other ranks; thus reflecting the research findings of Thompson and Hardiman (1991). Four of the respondents were part-time adjunct faculty. Two of these respondents were full-time schoolteachers who single-handedly ran art education programs (Daemon College, NY; St. Lawrence University, NY) on a part-time basis.
Where Did the Respondents Teach?
Respondents were employed within x range of institutions in 43 states (a list of it ns is in Appendix B). for ;mple, art teacher education programs can be fi)und in: small (600 to 1,500 student enrollment) private religious liberal arts colleges-Dana College, NE (5-6 grads per year); Lawrence University, WI (2-3 grads per year); Roberts Wesleyan College, NY; (6-7 grads per year);
small (1,500 to 3,500 student enrollment) state institutions–Lander University, SC (12-15 grads per year); North Georgia College and State University, (6-10 grads per year); slightly larger (4,000 to 6,000 student enrollment) institutions Pittsburg State University, KA (5-15 grads per year); University of Wisconsin, River Falls (10-12 grads per year); University of the Pacific, CA (3-5 grads per year); mid-size (8,000 to 16,000 student enrollment) state and private institutions-Eastern Illinois University (15 grads per year); Stephen F. Austin State University, TX (3-5 grads per year); University of Dayton, OH (10 grads per year); larger (student enrollment 18,000 to 26,000) universities-Ball State University (10-20 grads per year); Ohio University (15-20 grads per year); large research institutions (35,000 to 52,000 student enrollment)The Ohio State University (20-35 grads per year); Purdue University (15-20 grads per year); University of Wisconsin-Madison, (18-22 grads per year).
One has only to look at the total list to realize that the demographics of teacher education programs within the U.S. make researching teacher education and faculty issues complex and unwieldy.
Appendix B also indicates that 108 (73%) art education programs were located in Departments or Schools of Art. Thirteen programs (9%) were housed in Colleges or Departments of Education; two programs were in separate art education departments; six programs were in Art Schools and one in Arts and Humanities. Respondents who worked in art departments or schools acknowledged some form of contact or liaison with colleagues in education in terms of certification coursework and teacher licensure.
Respondents’ Academic Qualifications
Respondents had varying academic qualifications. Ninety eight (66%) held doctoral degrees in art education or a related field, such as Curriculum and Instruction or Secondary Education. They held doctoral degrees from 34 different institutions (see Table 2). Four respondents did not indicate the institution from which they had received their doctorate.
Three (2%) listed themselves as “ABDs,” and one respondent was scheduled soon to defend a dissertation. Twenty three respondents (16%) listed themselves as having MFA degrees in various studio disciplines (from, for example, Cranbrook, Kansas State, Syracuse University, University of Georgia, University of Wichita, the University of Wyoming). It is interesting to note that six of the respondents holding doctorates had also earned MFA degrees. Thirteen (9%) held Masters degrees (e.g.; MA or MS), and 10 (7%) held no terminal degree. Thus, 50 respondents (34%) did not have doctorates in art education or a related field.
Faculty Personal Descriptions
When asked the following: “Would you describe yourself primarily as an art educator, an art teacher educator, an artist, an art historian, an art critic or other?” only 18 respondents identified themselves as “art teacher educators.” Sixty seven (45%) chose “art educator,” and 10 (7%) “artist.” The rest (44; 30%) chose a combination of the above terms (e.g.; art educator-artist; artist-teacher), apart from a few who defined themselves as “art therapists” (3 respondents), “museum educators” (2 respondents), “art administrators” (2 respondents), “integrated arts educator” (I respondent), and “art and design educator” (1 respondent).
Institutional Expectations of Faculty Respondents
Respondents were asked about the expectations of their institutions related to teaching, creating and/or exhibiting artworks, writing for publication, institutional and/or professional service, course development, and directing field experiences. All respondents indicated that they were responsible for teaching. Table 3 provides a representative sample of 12 institutions and the types of courses taught by a respondent from each institution. For example, in larger research and doctoral oriented institutions (e.g.; Arizona State University, Georgia State University) and professional art schools (The School of Visual Arts), respondents did not teach courses outside art education. In the other institutions, except for West Virginia University, the respondents indicated that they regularly taught studio courses (e.g.; Harding University; Jersey State College; Louisiana Tech University; Southeastern Oklahoma State University), art history (e.g.; College of Mount St. Joseph; University of Nebraska at Kearney), and education (e.g.; Gonzaga University). These non-art education courses were routinely part of the respondents’ load.
Table 3 also shows that elementary and secondary methods courses were taught by all of the respondents, indicating that these faculty were actively involved in preparing preservice teachers for certification. Ninety respondents (61%) said they taught some type of methods course for art education majors. Fifty (34%) said they regularly taught courses for elementary generalists. And in one case an associate professor at a state university was specifically employed to teach four sections of elementary art methods courses to non-majors each semester. This state of affairs was echoed in other programs: “I have a good job, though 12 of the 15-18 hours I teach per week (little liberal arts college!), is focused on elementary education generalists” (Assistant Professor, Western Washington University).
In one situation, an associate professor employed at a rural state university in South Dakota with an enrollment of 1,500 students replied that he taught 13 different courses in art education, art history, and studio. His teaching load ranged from elementary and secondary art methods to art history courses and a compendium of studio classes -drawing, design, painting, sculpture, ceramics, metals, and advanced drawing and Senior Thesis. As a MFA graduate in sculpture and three-dimensional design, he believed that he was well qualified to teach his students. He wrote: “I am a one person department… a one-man marching art army. Yes, I am doing my part to shape the future.” This analogy seems fitting but troubling. Visions of preservice education in a “one-room University schoolhouse” come to mind, as well as the recognition that the size of the institution, department programmatic offerings (BSE in Fine Arts Education; BS Fine Arts Administration; a minor in art studio), and the professor’s tenure have impacted his workload and also the degree of autonomy that he has had in constructing art education curricula.
The survey did not ascertain the exact number of courses that each respondent taught. However, in institutions where respondents wrote that teaching was valued more highly than research (e.g.; East Central University, OK; Kutztown University, PA; Norfolk State University, VA; Plymouth State College, NH), teaching loads of three to four courses or 9-12 credit hours per semester or term were typical. However, teaching loads were also heavy in some of the research-oriented institutions, according to respondents: “Teaching undergraduate and undergraduate courses-three per semester… Directing or serving on dissertation committees” (Assistant Professor, Texas Tech University). It should be stated that all but two faculty respondents wrote that they enjoyed teaching art education courses. The exceptions said they would rather teach studio art or art therapy or women’s studies courses.
Eighty-three respondents (56%) said that they were expected to produce and exhibit their own art. These respondents were employed at a cross-section of institutions (e.g.; Central Missouri State; Colorado State University; Huntingdon College, AL; University of the Pacific, CA; Washburn University, KA). Sixty-seven (45%) were expected to write for publication. These respondents were also employed at a cross-section of institutions (e.g.; The Ohio State University; Middle Tennessee State; Millersville University, PA; University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; University of Kansas). See Table 3 for a summary of the expectations for respondents employed at the 12 institutions discussed earlier.
Due to the open-ended nature of the survey and respondent reporting, it was unclear what types of publications the respondents published, the extent to which they published, and where they published. A review of selected journals in art education indicated that some respondents were or had been active researchers in the field; others had less visible research profiles.
Thus, the form that the scholarship that faculty undertook appears to be loosely defined. It is likely that it included not only traditional publications (journals articles, books), but also other kinds of “intellectual work,” such as the development of art education curricular and instructional materials and various presentations (local, state, and national) and workshops. All but five respondents indicated that they had opportunities to revise and change their curriculum and to take part in course development within their programs.
All respondents indicated that they were expected to perform some form of service to their institution, in the form of committee work, etc. Most respondents noted that they were expected to be professionally active, in terms of giving papers and workshops locally or nationally.
Although there was a common core of institutional expectations for faculty-teaching, creating art, research for publication, institutional and professional service-written comments on the surveys showed that individual institutions and faculty prioritized these expectations differently. Thus, the diversity of “expectations” adds to the complexity of understanding faculty responsibilities in art education and the extent to which individual faculty affect the preparation of art teachers, locally and/or within the field at large:
Emphasis in the institution is on teaching, but accompanied by those activities such as creating artworks, exhibiting, involvement in professional/institutional service, course development, directing professional field experiences, etc. I own and operate a professional art studio making jewelry and art objects by commission, which is considered an asset by the college. (Professor, Roberts Wesleyan College, NY)
Teaching the arts methods courses for art education majors and elementary majors. Course development (Crafts and Jewelry Design). Attending Faculty senate meetings. Observing Student teachers. Advising art education majors. (Part-time Adjunct Professor, Oral Roberts University, OK)
I am expected to teach, publish, and do considerable service in the School, College, and University. Much of my graduate teaching involves field experience. I am also advisor to 15 doctoral students. (Associate Professor, University of Illinois)
Faculty Working Lives: Further Discussion
As part of a follow-up to the original survey, I asked 40 survey respondents by e-mail about how they would imagine their working lives in the best possible worlds. Essentially, I was trying to find out what aspects of their careers kept them going. I received many responses that, in a frank and telling manner, represented a broad range of issues. Consider the following:
I spend most of my time teaching teachers to teach. It is, and has been one of my most rewarding of enterprises. The feedback is instantaneous and very educating for me as to how effective I’ve been. (Associate Professor)
In the first place, I am very satisfied with my job, as it now exists. In the best possible worlds my job would probably differ with improvements on what I have now. A teaching room with more storage, computer and video equipment, and a 28-hour day so that I could have more time to do the things that I like. (Assistant Professor)
My job would be to create and continually nurture such an environment-providing facilities of a studio, ambiance of atelier, intellectual ferment of a seminar, the multiplicity of a border bazaar-this place would be host to itinerant writers, and poets, painters and performers, all dedicated to “art as a cultural system”. Our teacher preparation is too “tight”-it is designed as if we have answers-as if the answers we have are the only answers. (Assistant Professor)
The e-mail respondents were committed to art education and their students. They believed that they have the qualifications to do their jobs, and that they were hired accordingly. They wanted to get better at their jobs and seek opportunities to do so. Some managed their programs under tremendous odds-few resources, economic and human. Some raised concerns about their working lives. One faculty member noted:
My current position would be enhanced by being required to teach fewer courses (five at the moment); by being allowed time and resources for professional activities outside the University; … and by having graduate students in both studio and art education programs. (Assistant Professor)
In the best possible world, the job would have both political and financial support and respect from public, private, and administrative sources. (Associate Professor)
In the best of all possible worlds, my job would be somewhat like it has been in that I have been able to generally call the shots during the past 32 years here. I have been a writer and painter for most of those years. On the negative side, the Colleges of Education don’t give much credit for creative work. I would change that. Also, there has been little money for equipment and travel. I guess ideally, what I would like is for the administration to leave me alone and let me do my work. (Professor)
Some respondents wanted to be valued intrinsically for what they personally bring to their jobs. A fill professor wrote:
If I had to do it again, I believe it would be to be regarded for the expertise I bring to the profession and not to fit a mold or predetermined mode of thinking in the field. (Professor)
Thus, there was, in some institutions, a quiet tension as some faculty encountered external and internal pressures on their jobs (McRorie, 1995):
– left because of these and other problems the department was having. The next instructor that came did not have a Ph.D. and was contractual for three years. He left for a variety of reasons and now I am contractual with little hope of this job becoming tenure-track in the near future. I love my job here at . The faculty are supportive and generous with their time and suggestions for my program. However, I feel that I should be compensated for having a Ph.D. and for the same job they are doing. I’m hoping with time I will be able to show the dept. the value of the art education program and get the support I need to make this job tenure-track. (Non-Tenure Eligible Assistant Professor)
Some faculty members noted that they needed more flexibility and better resources in order to run their programs. Three suggested that it would be helpful if their institutions had adequate budgets for travel to professional meetings, and two were frustrated with a lack of sabbatical leaves. Three believed that they merited salaries that reflected their professional worth. One faculty member acknowledged an interest in hiring additional well-qualified faculty colleagues with similar interests. Four correspondents said that good relationships with one’s colleagues were valued as important. There was some sense of frustration with colleagues who were not receptive to new ideas, did not teach well, or who did not pull their weight in terms of teaching and service.
Time surfaced as an issue. Some faculty members wanted more time to conduct research, to write for publication, or to make art. They wanted time to “fit things in” and so perform their jobs at a level of personal and professional satisfaction. An associate professor provided this over-view:
I would be teaching one or two classes per week in a public school to keep up with the practical part of teaching. I would have a reduced teaching load of two courses a term with time for research and creative production; have an opportunity for inservice concerning recent developments in theories about the teaching and learning enterprise, computers, other technologies, multiculturalism, etc., and have the opportunity for sabbaticals.
Faculty members spoke of the time they invested in teaching service or general education courses. This investment of time was balanced with the incentive to design and teach a course of their own choosing. Thus, art educators who worked in programs that left no room for curricular maneuverability or individual innovation may have felt a sense of frustration. One assistant professor wrote:
I also teach an art for elem. ed. majors course fall and spring. I like teaching this course, but something has to lighten up so that I can maintain the level of research and writing that I do and still have time for my personal life.
How much of this stress reflected external pressures or the internal pressures that drive many to succeed and do a good job is difficult to tell. Some art educators were examining where they are in their careers, and how their job descriptions have changed over time. Four respondents (in the survey questionnaire) indicated that they were close to retirement.
Nonetheless, despite these concerns, it was clear that most faculty members happily got on with their jobs. They tended to enjoy teaching or writing or making art. They addressed the demands of tenure and promotion or merit evaluations because they wanted to be valued members of their institutions and/or make valuable contributions to the profession. They have met proximal goals that have allowed them to move on through the next stages of their careers.
Faculty art teacher educators, however, are seldom asked about their jobs or what they envision for the future. Thus, in some cases, their aspirations might reflect professional and personal reactions to the conditions affecting their working lives today, rather than realistic visions for their futures. However, most art educators’ hopes focused on improvements for themselves and their programs and how these changes would positively affect their students.
I would like a comfortable teaching load that would allow time for teaching, office hours, advising, correspondence, community relations, research, and university responsibilities to be attended to with proper attention. (Assistant Professor)
Research on Faculty: Implications and Practicalities
The voices and practices of college-level faculty are rich and context specific (Rosaen, & Wilson, 1995). Given the broad nature of this article and the limitations of the survey and e-mail research, I can only provide a flavor of faculty professional life-worlds. Thus, I propose a research agenda that might allow for a more careful examination of faculty practices, especially in relation to those within art teacher education. What should be researched? What can the field learn from this type of research?
Day (1997) has argued that there is much to learn about the “demographics of art teacher education programs: Where are they? What are they like in terms of curriculum, supervised teaching, and so on?…. How many teachers do they graduate on an annual basis?” (p. xi). In the case of my ongoing research, tracking down and identifying faculty who teach art education has been complex and time-consuming, yet exciting and well worth the trouble. Do certain faculty members face aspects of professional and demographic isolation as they go about their jobs? What does it mean to be the only college-level art educator in an entire state, as is the case at the University of Wyoming, or one of a number of art education faculty members, as is the case in both Ohio and Pennsylvania? Additional inquiries are needed into the demographic patterns of faculty themselves, in terms of their qualifications and of where and what they teach. Should the field be concerned that over a third of college faculty members do not have doctoral degrees?
Given the relatively “independent” nature of faculty work, research portrayals are needed of faculty art educators. For example, what are the job descriptions, roles, responsibilities, and beliefs of faculty who run/are one-person programs, or teach non-art education courses (including studio, art history, etc.), or are solely involved in teaching art education? What is faculty life like for those art educators who work in the lower professorial and non-tenured ranks, especially women faculty members? What are the beliefs and practices of faculty who are successful researchers in the field and write for publication in comparison to faculty who say they actively make and exhibit art?
Topics for research are also embedded in an examination of the forms of teaching and scholarship and creative activities-the intellectual work -that art educators who prepare teachers undertake. For example, how is this intellectual work translated pedagogically within college level classrooms? Inquiry into the teaching of others (and one’s own) is central to research in preservice education (Richardson, 1994). Teaching is a priority in many institutions; therefore, what does faculty art teaching look like? How do faculty translate and enact curriculum within their classes? What issues do they face? Are these issues similar to those experienced by K-12 school practitioners? Research is sorely needed to describe, interpret, and evaluate the daily work of faculty involved in preservice art teaching.
This intellectual work has often involved designing instructional and curricular materials, or making art, or giving local, state, and NASA convention presentations. As suggested earlier, some of the survey respondents stated that they have had a fair degree of curricular autonomy as they designed and taught art education courses. Thus, getting a grasp on how faculty members conceptualize, modify, and reconstruct course content is essential. How do faculty make this content their own? How do faculty members’ knowledge and beliefs about art and teaching vary individually and from institution to institution, and what is their impact on the schools? The intellectual work of faculty has remained relatively invisible and untapped (Galbraith & Grauer, 1998); yet it is an invaluable and rich resource that might help us get a handle on how faculty think about art education for preservice teachers, actively construct and interpret curricula, and choose instructional strategies within their teaching cognitive processes (Darling-Hammond & Cobb, 1996). A systematic examination of how teachers of teachers conduct their teaching and research can only contribute to an evolving art teacher education knowledge base.
Examination of faculty working lives is essential to understand their perspectives, and examine where faculty are in their careers or lifecycles. Why are some not actively involved in art education activities beyond their own institutions? Is it because they work in programs that are inadequately funded or because their job leaves little time for outside professional activities, or because they have few resources for networking, or because they are simply disenchanted with the wider art education community? Hargreaves (1996) reminds us that researchers often look for like-minded others during the research process, rather than the “voices that differ, voices that jar, voices that might even offend” (p. 13). Thus, the field must recognize faculty will speak of conditions that they believe do not necessarily reflect the best interests of their preservice students and themselves. A teacher education research agenda must listen to the sounds of all voices.
The interrelated issues outlined above lead us to consider how future faculty members should be prepared. This warrants attention, especially given the growing number of job vacancies over the past few years. What are institutional practices for hiring new faculty like? How do art educators learn to be faculty members? The field must consider whether doctoral students and MFA and Masters’ level students are adequately prepared to take on these jobs, and whether prospective faculty members understand the varied dimensions of art teacher education today.
Many prospective faculty members will develop their careers on campuses that are different from the more research focused universities from which they received post-graduate degrees. They may have the academic qualifications that would predict a productive career in research and publication; however, the effects of teaching loads and institutional expectations and commitments may prohibit their active involvement in research. Studies are needed of this latter issue, as well as case studies of how new faculty members find the first few years of teaching within higher education. What issues do they face and experience? What are their beliefs and practices?
Many art education faculty members can be accurately described as teachers of teachers; they spend much of their daily lives working with preservice teachers. Despite their association with art teacher education, many are either employed under conditions that often preclude serious research or publication endeavors, or if they are active in research, they tend not to study teacher education issues, instead favoring research on other topics and/or pursuing their own creative artwork. Hopefully, faculty art educators will not only make themselves and their work available for future study by researchers, but they will also contribute to developing a substantive art teacher education research agenda -an agenda that gets to the meat of faculty issues rather than their flavor. Opportunities do exist for developing team-based teacher education research and practical collaborations between faculty and programs across institutions (Galbraith, 1997).
Research of this kind would not only enrich the field but it would also provide a place in which faculty professional lives can intersect so that members of the art education community may learn from one another. If faculty members work together, teacher education responsibilities might shift from individuals working in diverse institutions across the U.S. to a visible art teacher education community. Hopefully, this community could foster a sense of mutual respect for and an awareness of the working lives of all art education faculty members. The education of future art teachers is too important to consider anything else.
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Lynn Powell Galbraith University ofArizona
The author wishes to thank Leilani Lattin Duke, former Director of the Getty Education Institute for the Arts, for supporting this project in part. The author also thanks those faculty who responded to the study. Correspondence regarding this article should be addressed to the author at the University of Arizona, Department of Art, P.O. Box 210002, Tucson, AZ 85721-0002.
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