Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fall Semester Eve 2012: Overwhelming Opportunities

On the eve of the first day of the fall 2012 semester, the anticipation of an overwhelming yet exciting semester looms. 

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition aspired, and success achieved" 
--Helen Keller

I'm preparing for a 4-course semester with an overload (5 classes now) including two night classes (I will teach one EDU 301 section on our USA Baldwin County campus this semester) and I'll then add some Honor, Ed.S., and Ph.D. student thesis/dissertation advising to the mix.

In addition to developing instruction in a new course management system (Sakai) this semester, I am filling up an electronic faculty portfolio system (Digital Measures) with documentation to provide evidence of my worthiness for tenure and promotion. And in an effort to reflect on teaching, research, and service and express my strengths and weaknesses, I have found some interesting and relevant perceptions others have shared about our  profession.

By Michael Theall, Youngstown State University and 
Raoul A. Arreola, University of Tennessee Health Science Center 

As overwhelming as the job may seem, each semester brings exciting opportunities. 

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." --Winston Churchill

Each semester I enjoy scheduling field experiences which always include a visit to the Mobile Museum of Art, facilitated by Kim Wood, the museum's education curator. I'm also excited about Ricky Trione (blind artist), Vicky Cook, and the participants of the Exceptional Foundation of the Gulf Coast visiting our campus and sharing art experiences facilitated by Ricky.

Just last week, I was contacted by the director of the Student Teaching Center from the Metropolitan State University of Denver with a request to supervise one of their art student teachers who will be fulfilling these requirements in Baldwin County. Only because I am already teaching in Baldwin County this semester, I considered the request.  Now that I am committed, and have received more information, I am thrilled to see the beautiful art created by this student who has chosen to pursue art education and share his passion with K-12 students. I look forward to working with Ronald Thomson. Check out his work at

As a member and the higher education rep of the Alabama Art Education Association (AAEA), I will be attending and presenting at the AAEA Fall Conference at Orange Beach, AL in October with some of the best artists and art educators in our state. 

At the national level, I was thrilled to discover that a conference presentation proposal (which I forgot I submitted from Shanghai, China) was accepted for the Spring 2013 National Art Education Association Convention in Fort Worth Texas (NAEA). I am looking forward to sharing Connecting Communities with Chopsticks: Celebrating Chinese Culture through the Arts with Teachers and Students with art educators across the United States in March.

Last but certainly not least, my sweet colleague and friend initiated the dream of presenting our art and social studies education research and practice as a work shop at the Ireland International Conference on Education (IICE). After much planning and working toward writing and revising a college international travel grant, we are thrilled to have Developing the “Other” Literacy: How Visual Arts Have the Potential to Deepen Student Understanding accepted for presentation, grant awarded, flights and rooms booked. 

In addition to attending and presenting at the IICE conference we have arranged to visit St. Patrick’s College, which houses The National Induction Programme for Teachers, specializing in primary teacher education. We will meet with Dr. Fionnuala Waldron, Dean of Education, St. Patrick’s College to discuss teacher education and future collaborations. We will also be visiting two museums: the National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts and History Museum, and the National Gallery of Ireland.

As demonstrated by blogging through China in May (Paige and Peggy’s Excellent Chinese Adventure: where over 5000 views have been logged of our 80+ blog posts, sharing an international experience through photography, prose, and poetry can have wide appeal and educate virtually. Through the use of cameras and iPads, the "All things Irish" Blog will soon be created and we will post daily to share our journey with anyone interested. Students in our graduate and undergraduate social studies, and arts education classes as well as EDM 310 students will follow and respond. 

"All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual." --Albert Einstein

NAEA Proposal Accepted: Connecting Communities with Chopsticks

I am looking forward to sharing my "excellent Chinese adventure" at the National Art Education Association conference in the Spring.

Photo by Paige Vitulli

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Quality Instinct

A FABULOUS book for art educators, advocates, and enthusiasts!
"Seeing Art Through a Museum Director's Eye"