Graduate Studies in Art & Design Education

Six Commitments

The mission and structure of the Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) MAT/MA program in art and design education is guided by six broad core commitments that are reflected in how we approach our pedagogy and in the dispositions we expect our candidates to hold:

Grounded in the Learning Sciences

The theories, concepts, principles, and findings from the interdisciplinary areas of the learning sciences are a cornerstone of our pedagogical approach and content. Our artist-teacher candidates leave the program both informed about the learning sciences and with guided experience in using the learning sciences to design, enact, and assess teaching and learning. We encourage our candidates to take a learner-centered approach to education, informed by the guidelines established by the American Psychological Association.

Skilled, Knowledgeable, and Contemporary Artist-Teachers

We are committed to developing teacher candidates who are versed in contemporary arts, media, tools, practices, and approaches to pedagogy. Through our structure of curating faculty to teach courses in their specific areas of research and scholarly work, and complementing core classes with specialized workshops, we ensure that our curriculum encourages candidates to engage with current ideas, tools, and methods in art education.

Attentive to Diversity

We see diversity as a reality and as an educational asset. Attentiveness to diversity is embedded in our structure, content, and pedagogical approaches. We are guided by the theories, principles, and insights of culturally relevant pedagogy, and our candidates are supported in ways to attend to individual differences in experiences, interests, and approaches to learning. We aim for our artist-teacher candidates to think globally in their views on arts and education and to be engaged with the world.

Social Justice

We see art and education as having important roles in the pursuit of social justice. We encourage our artist-teachers to see opportunities for their work to help uncover and address social injustices and to take actions to make their classes, schools, community, and worlds more fair and inclusive places and to inspire their students to do the same.

Collaborative Community

We believe that the complex work of art teaching is sustained by a collaborative community. We are sensitive to the reality that artist-teachers may find themselves as the only art teacher in a school, and thus we seek to equip our candidates with the tools and habits of developing professional collaborative networks. VCFA MAT candidates will have experience establishing local networks and participating in national/international virtual communities. We seek to develop a thriving alumni community who share resources, insights, and experiences.

Reflective Practitioners

We believe that teaching is a complex art that demands reflective practice and we seek to equip our teachers with the skills and habits of reflection. Our candidates develop strong research skills through their coursework, field observations, and action research theses. Our approach is that teaching always involves reflective research on what is (and is not) working, how, and why.