Grad student’s award fosters art education

by Brett Martin

A University graduate student has been awarded $12,500 to complete her doctoral dissertation.
Patricia Rogers is one of eight scholars from the United States and Canada to receive money from the Getty Center for Education for work in the area of visual arts in education and school reform.
“These fellowships provide needed support to emerging scholars who will go on to shape the future of art education in our schools,” said Getty Center Arts Director Leilani Lattin Duke. “We are pleased to fund creative research that promotes the teaching of art in classrooms across the country.”
The center’s doctoral fellowship program, according to a prepared statement, supports research in art education. The center advocates art education as an effective way to stimulate children’s creative and intellectual growth.
The fellowship program is a national competition administered by the Center for Education in the Arts, and is open to candidates working toward either a doctoral degree or education doctorate in visual arts or related humanities fields. Candidates must demonstrate that their work will make a substantial and original contribution to discipline-based art education.
Rogers’ dissertation, “Adoption of Computer-Based Technology Among Art Educators: Implications for Institutional Design in Art Education,” examines emerging technology used for instruction and learning in the field of art.
“This is an incredible opportunity. I’m thrilled to have won,” said Rogers, whose program includes both art education and instructional systems in technology.
Rogers, who works full time in addition to writing her dissertation, said she hopes to have her work completed by spring 1997. She used part of her award money to buy a new computer and mail surveys for her research. The center is one of the few remaining funding agencies in the arts, she said.
Rogers is currently collecting data and has the first three chapters of her dissertation nearly completed.
The University was well represented by Rogers, said Dr. Margaret DiBlasio, Rogers’ adviser, adding that Rogers is very deserving of this award. The Getty fellowship is important, said DiBlasio, at a time when endowments for the arts and humanities are struggling.
DiBlasio said the University, which has had three students receive the award since the program began in 1991, has established itself as one of the strong leaders in the area of art discipline because few institutions have had multiple winners.
“It is quite significant,” said DiBlasio, “because it attracts other graduate students to our program.”
A previous University recipient of the award is Patricia James, an assistant professor in General College. She received the award in 1993 for her work on ethnography in sculpture.
“It gave me more of a sense of mission,” James said. “It meant a lot to me. Dissertations can be lonely.”
The award gives recipients professional connections and allows a larger audience to receive their work, James said.
Each year 15 to 20 candidates apply for the fellowship, said Elizabeth Paul, manager of programs at the center.
The number of recipients varies each year, Paul said, although eight is the maximum number of fellowships awarded. Last year, there were only two recipients. The pool of candidates is small because there are only about 35 doctorates awarded each year in art education, Paul said.
A committee of five people reviews candidates’ proposals, which include outlines of their dissertation and research to date, Paul said. The recipients are chosen for the significance of their material, its quality and the overall ability of the applicant.