Teachers of Teachers: Faculty Working Lives and Art Teacher Education in the United States

Article excerpt

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.

Introduction

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.

Data Sources

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. …