BFA / MAT Art Education

The Corcoran's five-year combined Bachelor of Fine Arts / Master of Arts in Teaching degree is designed for artists and educators committed to both sides of this dynamic dual-degree program.

Surrounded by the creative and cultural inspirations of Washington, D.C., students receive extensive school, museum, and community-based educational training through pre-practicum and internship opportunities with partner institutions.

As undergraduates, students can pursue any major in fine art, photography, or design alongside a curriculum of art education courses. While students take studio classes in their selected major, they also complete art-oriented coursework in sociology, math, science, child development, art history, and classroom management.

Graduates have gone on to teach art in public and private schools, to work in museums, and to lead community-based art programs.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts / Master of Arts in Teaching program is known for:

    • preparing art students for a choice of careers as licensed teachers in public and private schools, as museum educators, and as leaders of community-based art instruction;
    • combining an intensive course of study in education theory with hands-on studio experiences in art making; and
    • real-world engagement with classroom teaching, object-based museum interpretation, and museum partnerships with community-supported arts organizations.

The Master of Arts in Teaching program is accredited by the District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education to prepare candidates for D.C. licensure in art education.

Curriculum

At the Corcoran, teaching is treated as an art form. Programs nurture and develop reflective practitioners—lifelong learners whose art practice in studio, criticism, aesthetics, and/or history inspires their teaching and informs their research. The goal of the combined Bachelor of Fine Arts / Master of Arts in Teaching Program is to activate the creative energy and positive social impact that results from the integration of schools, museums, and community institutions through art.

Classroom work and practicum experiences emphasize the shared principles of art education as it applies to varied situations and diverse learners of all ages. Each distinct degree within the program is structured around an interactive, tight-knit community of students and faculty. Approximately half of the courses in each art education degree program are open to Bachelor of Fine Arts / Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Teaching, and Master of Arts in Art Education students. This design allows for a cross-fertilization of experiences and ideas and provides a forum for the special concerns and interests of each group.

Required Courses

• Foundation in Art Education
• Development, Behavior, and Learning
• Development: Birth to Adolescence
• Sociology of the Family
• Math in Art / Art in Math
• Art, Science, and Creativity
• Art and Learners to Age 12
• Art and Adolescents
• Art in the Museum and Community
• Classroom and Activity Management
• Evaluation, Assessment, and Criteria of Quality OR Contemporary Issues in Art Education Policy

Graduate (5th Year) Requirements

• Field Experiences
• Proseminar I and II
• Digital Media for Art Educators
• Art and Special Education
• Graduate Studio Coursework (9 credits)
• Thesis I and II

Sample Education Electives

• Studio-Based Teaching and Learning
• Social Justice and Art Education
• Art Therapy Orientation for Art Educators
• Gallery-Based Teaching and Learning
• Art and Lifelong Learning
• Public Interpretation of the Arts
• Art, Character, and Moral Education
• Teaching Art to Post-Secondary Learners
• Art Across the Curriculum
• Community-Based Teaching and Learning

Thesis

The goal of the combined Bachelor of Fine Arts / Master of Arts in Teaching degree is to develop educational leaders committed to continual assessment, improvement, and professional and personal development through self-reflection and research.

In addition to completing an undergraduate studio thesis in the senior year of the Bachelor of Fine Arts Program, candidates in their fifth or graduate year of the program also complete a written research thesis.

The main purpose of a final, independent project or thesis on the graduate level is to provide candidates an opportunity to:

    • concentrate on a sustained, professional-quality project concerning a topic relating to and growing out of their graduate studies;

    • apply both theory and practice from their academic program and pre-program experiences to a final supervised, academic project;

    • exercise advanced skills of investigation and analysis in their field; and

    • demonstrate their abilities through a focused, self-initiated project that makes a useful contribution to the field of art education.

The thesis project is meant to demonstrate that the art educator is prepared to contribute and communicate new knowledge to colleagues for advancement of his or her profession.

Student Teaching

The purpose of field experiences is to expose students in the dual-degree program to a variety of proven art education settings and pedagogical approaches, to observe where and how theory meets practice, and to discover the setting most suited to their career plans.

Direct observation of a variety of educational practices and settings is essential to the Corcoran's art-education degree programs. Each setting—schools, museums, and community or social-service organizations—offers a different experience for the student.

Early on in the Master of Arts in Teaching Program, students delve into diverse field experiences, a process that helps them determine the art education settings in which they are interested. More specifically, candidates are required to complete 80 hours of practicum field experience—prior to student teaching or an internship—in a variety of settings, observing and assisting experienced art education professionals with learners of all ages.

The six-credit student teaching or museum / community internship is the culminating experience in the students' preparation program. It provides the opportunity for candidates to demonstrate the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and understandings they learned in courses and pre-practicum experiences, which in turn will lead to their student teaching or internship placement.

The student teaching or internship placement provides:

    • a realistic view of a well-run educational program beyond the perimeters of a specific teaching assignment or project;

    • a mentoring or hands-on supervisory experience with a senior art educator, through which important informal learning can result; and

    • an opportunity to launch into new educational arenas, communities, or institutional sites not previously experienced, especially ones that the student hopes to pursue after the completion of his or her degree.

Placements are selected based on the individual student's objectives and the educational institution's strengths. An internship may be focused on any audience or audiences involved in art education. And it may be either mainly art-centered or cross-curricular, provided visual art is central to the character and purpose of the educational program.

A professional art educator on site supervises the student teacher or intern, conducts formal observations, provides feedback on the candidate's performance, and consults regularly with the student's Corcoran site supervisor.

Candidates electing the museum or community option must complete their internships with professional art educators in museum education departments or community art classrooms.

Careers and Internships

More than 95 percent of Bachelor of Fine Arts / Master of Arts in Teaching graduates secure meaningful employment in the field, either as Pre-K-12 teachers or museum and community art educators.

In addition to public, public charter, and independent schools nationwide, Bachelor of Fine Arts / Master of Arts in Teaching graduates are currently employed by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Phillips Collection, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Children's Museum, the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, among others.

Art Education Faculty

Rebecca Alberts
Adjunct Faculty

Ann Allen
Adjunct Professor

Debra Ambush
Dr. Debra Ambush

Raya Bodnarchuk
Associate Professor

Peter Bottger
Adjunct Instructor

Adrienne D'Angelo
Visiting Lecturer

Amy Aden Dunn
Adjuncy Faculty

Judith Gravitz
Adjunct Faculty

Selila Honig
Associate Faculty

Pamela Lawton
Director of Education Studies

Maria Marable-Bunch
Adjunct Faculty

Donna McKee
Adjunct Faculty

Marla McLean
Adjunct Faculty

George Rathbone
Adjunct Faculty

Judy Southerland
Associate Faculty

Annie V.F. Storr
Associate Professor, Director of Education Assessment

Department Life

Corcoran undergraduate and graduate students benefit from a close-knit, supportive community of fellow students, faculty, and staff. Because of the College's urban location in the nation's capital, learning takes place against a backdrop of real-world issues and interactions and amid a wealth of cultural and educational resources. Students can walk to the Smithsonian museums, do research at the Library of Congress, and find internship opportunities in work settings both large and small.

Corcoran students find that creativity permeates everything they do, as does their commitment to maintaining an atmosphere in which creative impulses can flourish. The museum environment provided by the Corcoran Gallery of Art—with its major exhibitions of historic American and contemporary art and design—provides both a standard of excellence and a showplace for new and inspiring aesthetic expression. But even more importantly, students find that the key to life at the Corcoran is conversation, whether between student and teacher after class, among students in a dorm room, or between a work of art and its audience. Here, analysis and critical thinking accompany creativity at every turn.

Instead of football games and chess clubs, Corcoran students fill their time outside the curriculum with activities related to what they do, participating in poetry readings, volunteering at community arts organizations to help kids learn art after school, going to lectures and exhibition tours at any of the two dozen museums within a 10-mile radius of the school, or taking in concerts at the Kennedy Center or the 9:30 Club. The result is a committed, dedicated community of the arts that is unique within the spectrum of colleges and universities throughout the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

The Art Education department offers three degree programs totaling more than 60 students from a diverse range of backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, and experiences. This provides opportunities for students to learn as much from one another as they learn from their instructors.

Students work in close contact with museum educators in the Corcoran Gallery of Art's Public Education Department, supporting youth and family programs such as Camp Creativity, ArtReach, Aspiring Artists, and Community Days. Students also work with youth in Corcoran school partnerships with five Washington, D.C. public middle schools, one public charter elementary school, and the DiTondo Summer Art Camp.

Corcoran art education students are in constant demand from institutions throughout the Washington, D.C. area for internships, after-school programs, and adult programs. Each year students elect to participate in an All Art Education student exhibition, and graduating students participate in the annual NEXT at the Corcoran celebration.

A resource room houses books, DVDs, videos, curriculum materials, art supplies, computers, and space for students to meet, study, or conduct research. The department also maintains a blog for posting curriculum resources, art education events, and exhibition and job opportunities in the area.

The Corcoran has a student chapter of the National Art Education Association with officers that organize social events for the group, bring in guest speakers, and attend local and national NAEA conferences.

Examples of Student Work

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Director of Education Studies: Pamela Lawton (contact)