UF Art Education


Online M.A. in Art Education (MAAE) students learn from and collaborate with some of the most respected leaders in the field. Our distinguished team of faculty members includes seasoned artist educators, widely-published scholars, and powerful advocates for arts education and social justice. All of them are passionate about advancing the field, sharing their knowledge, and helping you succeed.

Heidi C. Powell, Ed.D.

Heidi Powell, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Art Education & Director of Master of Arts in Art Education Online

Associate Professor of Art Education & Director of Master of Arts in Art Education Online

Dr. Heidi Powell, an artist and scholar of Native American (Lenni Lenape) and Norwegian descent, explores global initiatives in arts practice and pedagogy, conducting most of her research in Guatemala. Prior to joining the University of Florida, she taught art education and worked in other professional roles at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and Eastern Washington University. She also was a special appointed faculty and visiting scholar at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, where she researched and taught in Arts and Medicine.

Her international experience includes serving as an NAEA delegate to Cuba; an invited artist-scholar to the Freies Atelierhaus Schaumbad, Graz, Austria; a Fulbright Scholar at the Iceland Academy for the Arts–Listáhaskóli Íslands, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow to Alaska and British Columbia. Powell also participated in a faculty exchange at Karl-Franzens Universität Graz, Austria.

Her most recent scholarly work emphasizes narrative inquiry and experienced-based research methods, addressing pedagogy in arts education, medicine and arts integration, indigenous identities, art cultures, and art-based research, exploring the theoretical and practical ideas of how the arts reframe pre-conceived notions in learning environments. Her most recent publication, Becoming a curator of memories: Memorializing memory as place in art making for art education, appears in Revitalizing History (Vernon Press).

Her creative work focuses on indigenous and isolated histories and their relationship to contemporary society as landscape. Foundational to her creative work is the notion of “story,” which re-emphasizes the conflictual and the consensual in society, constructing and deconstructing daily identity where the personal, collective, and cultural converge. She says, “For me, art making is a way of adding original dialogue and new ideas, to artistic narratives of knowledge that demonstrate how individual truth, imagination, and experience work together.”

Powell’s honors including being named the Higher Education Art Educator of 2016 by the Texas Art Education Association. She holds her M.Ed. and Ed.D in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston and her Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Music Education from Houston Baptist University.

Michelle Tillander, Ph.D.

Michelle Tillander, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Online Master's in Art Education Program

Associate Professor

Prior to joining the University of Florida, Dr. Michelle Tillander coordinated the Zoller Gallery at Pennsylvania State University. Earlier in her career, she served as chair of the Visual Arts Department of Virginia’s first Governor’s School for the Arts, a regional program for artistically talented high school students. Tillander also taught and chaired the Old Donation Center for Gifted and Talented, a 3rd- through 8th-grade art program. She currently serves on the NAEA’s Art Education Journal Editorial Board and Publications Materials Committee.

Tillander’s research explores digital media technologies and contemporary learning. It includes the exploration of digital medias’ potential impacts and limitations to pedagogy and acknowledges the emerging vernacular of today’s youth who are ubiquitously engaged with digital media through the writing, thinking, and visual processes of the digital age.

Her current trajectory of inquiry, New Media Art Conversations, focuses on selected digital artists and practitioners. This ongoing research, funded by the UF College of Fine Arts Scholarship Enhancement Grant, investigates digital media artists’ conversations and artworks as a way to engage a dialogue about digital media in K-12 art education. Additionally, Tillander’s Elevate A. R. T. S. (Arts Relationships Technology Steam) project provides innovative, collaborative, and sustained professional development for 25 music and art teachers in 10 high poverty schools, to help reduce the high arts teacher turnover rate and improve student achievement.

She has presented her research and exhibited her work at numerous conferences and venues including the Sixth International Conference, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid; City and Aesthetics International Conference, Taipei; NAEA Women’s Caucus, Fusion Exhibition; and Tampa Museum of Art. Her research has been published in several NAEA scholarly publications.
Tillander’s honors include the University Florida Term Professorship Award (2017) and Small Works Exhibition Award of Merit (2016) from the Charles Taylor Art Center, Hampton, Virginia.

Tillander holds a Ph.D. in Art Education from Pennsylvania State University, an M.F.A., photography, from Old Dominion University, and a B.A. in Fine Arts from Moravian College.
Visit Michelle’s Website

One of the reasons that I decided to go with this program is that it has a great name; people know that it’s a legit program. It’s really broadened my idea of what arts is and what techniques there are and the artists are out there.

Daniel Andrews ‘17
online M.A. Art Education, University of Florida

Pamela Merrill Brekka, Ph.D.

Pamela Merrill Brekka, Ph.D., Adjunct Assistant Professor in Online Master's in Art Education Program

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Dr. Pamela Merrill Brekka specializes in Flemish and Dutch art. Her research interests include Renaissance cartography; the significance of underdrawings and the master’s “hand” in Netherlandish painting; Reformation era exegesis and the illustrated bible; and the Jewish construct in early modern Europe.

Brekka’s publications include The Living Tabernacle in Post-Tridentine Biblical Literature; The Anthropomorphic Lens: Anthropomorphism, Microcosmism and Analogy in Early Modern Thought and Visual Arts; The Antwerp Polyglot Bible’s “New World Indian-Jew” Map as a Reflection of Empire, in Imago Mundi: International Journal for the History of Cartography; and An Early Netherlandish Adoration of the Magi, in Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University. Additionally, she is the recipient of a Newberry Library Fellowship in the History of Cartography (2010), and is a University of Florida University Women’s Club Scholar (2010).

At UF, Brekka teaches courses including The History of Jewish Art; Dutch Baroque in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer; Introduction to the Principles and History of Art; and Art & Humanity: Introduction to the Visual Arts from a Global Perspective. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Florida and an M.A. in Art History from Rutgers University.

Joana Hyatt, Ph.D.

Joana Hyatt, Ph.D., Adjunct Assistant Professor in Online Master's in Art Education Program

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Dr. Joana Hyatt has worked as a K-16 art educator for more than twenty years in Nevada, Oklahoma, and Texas. Her scholarly interests and teaching emphasize arts-based research, narrative inquiry, performative critical pedagogy, critical theory, inquiry-based curriculum, and evaluation approaches. Hyatt has published articles in Art Education, the journal of the NAEA; the Journal of Social Theory in Art Education; and Trends, the journal of the Texas Art Education Association. She also is the author of the book chapter, Ma: Materiality in teaching and learning.

Hyatt serves as the western division representative for the Professional Learning through Research Working Group of the NAEA Research Commission and also serves on the Editorial Review Board for Art Education. She earned her Ph.D. in Art Education from the University of North Texas, where she was awarded the Priddy Fellowship.

Faculty is great here. They are always willing to help you. They go out of the way to help you.

Brooke Bolduc ‘18
online M.A. in Art Education, University of Florida

Jodi Kushins, Ph.D.

Jodi Kushins, Ph.D., Adjunct Associate Professor in Online Master's in Art Education Program

Adjunct Associate Professor

Dr. Jodi Kushins grew up, was educated, and taught high school on the East Coast before making her way to the Midwest for doctoral studies in art education at The Ohio State University. In previous faculty positions she taught courses on a range of contemporary issues in art education, supervised pre-service art educators in and around Cincinnati, and introduced elementary classroom teachers to arts-based learning. She has also worked as an educational consultant for a variety of cultural organizations around Columbus, Ohio, including the Columbus Museum of Art, the Dublin Arts Council, the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Little Minyan, and Ohio Wesleyan University.

Kushins’ passions lie in art education outside school walls, in museums, community centers, home studios, gardens, and laundromats. In such endeavors she finds synergy between her interests in socially engaged and participatory creative practices, the artist as public intellectual, and the art educator as community activist. She also engages in explorations of artful parenting, the picturebook as art object, and the convergence of contemporary craft and social networking.

Kushins writes regularly about her discoveries on her professional blog Art Education Outside the Lines. Additional publications by Kushins include Pedagogical Souvenirs: An Art Educators Reflections on Field Trips as Professional Development and I’m Not Really a Chaplain, I Just Play One to Pay the Bills. Additionally, Jodi serves on the review board for the Journal of Social Theory and Art Education.

Kushins lives in Columbus, Ohio, and practices creative placemaking at Over the Fence Urban Farm. The project has roots in conceptual and activist art and education for social and environmental reconstruction. She recently wrote an article about how the farm relates to her work for Artezein: Arts and Teaching Journal. Kushins earned her Ph.D. in Art Education from the Ohio State University. She holds an M.S. in Art and Design Education from the Pratt Institute and a B.A. in both Studio Art and Art History from Clark University.

Kristi Oliver, Ph.D.

Kristi Oliver, Ph.D., Adjunct Associate Professor in Online Master's in Art Education Program

Adjunct Associate Professor

Kristi Oliver is currently the professional development manager for Davis Publications in Worcester, MA, a company committed to helping art educators since 1901. Drawing from over 15 years of teaching experience in both high school and university settings, Dr. Oliver aims to assist communities in providing high quality art education experiences for learners, students, and teachers alike.

She earned a Ph.D. in Educational Studies from Lesley University where her research explored the perspectives of high school photography teachers regarding visual literacy. Her research interests include visual literacy, 21st century art education, contemporary photography, slow pedagogy, contemplative practice, and the creative process. Her research has been published in the International Journal of Education Through Art and the Dev Sanskriti: Interdisciplinary International Journal and is featured in Critical Digital Making and Revolutionizing Arts Education in K-12 Classroom through Technological Integration. She is a contributing editor for The Visual Experience 4th edition and various School Arts Collections. She currently serves as editor of the NAEA publication, Translations, which aims to bridge research and practice to assist all art educators in understanding the importance and applicability of research in the field of art education.

Dr. Oliver has presented at numerous conferences including the International Visual Literacy Conference, the International Society for Education through Art (InSEA) World Congress, American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, the International Transformative Learning Conference, the World Alliance for Arts Education Conference, as well as state association conferences and National Art Education Association conventions.

A practicing studio artist, her artwork has been featured in gallery exhibitions as well as in the publications Developing a Visually Reflective Practice: A Model for Professional Self-Study, The Little Book of Books, and Well Wed Magazine.

In 2020, Dr. Oliver was honored with the Eastern Region Award by the National Art Education Association. She has previously been awarded the Massachusetts Art Educator of the Year and the Secondary Art Educator of the Year. Additionally, she was honored as an Outstanding Arts Advocate in Art Education by Arts|Learning, a Kennedy Center Affiliate. She served as the President of the Massachusetts Art Education Association (MAEA) an affiliate of the National Art Education Association (NAEA), and currently serves on the NAEA Research Commission. Dr. Oliver is the Program Director for Art All-State Massachusetts, an annual program that brings together professional artists and high school juniors for an intense collaborative art making experience.

Patrick Grigsby, M.F.A.

Patrick Grigsby, M.F.A., Lecturer in Online Master's in Art Education Program


Patrick Grigsby’s recent teaching activities present drawing as a means of producing evidence to inform meaning in our nowness. Directing lessons in drawing and printmaking, he encourages students to identify unexpected results from their own quantity of vigorous drawing and collecting.

Grigsby leans upon print media itself to relay contextual and metaphorical themes. The technological evolution of news, print and electronic publishing mirrors trends and pressures throughout American culture. Halftones, color separations, values, and reversals are each terms attributed to the fidelity of quality print reproduction. A poetic investigation of these industry standards of measure transforms them into charged definitions with ironic parallels to the complexion of contemporary life in America.

Grigsby exhibits his work regionally and nationally. He began his career as a designer and, prior to joining the University of Florida, he was a faculty member in Graphic Design Technology at Santa Fe College, Gainesville, FL. At UF, he teaches Printmaking, Drawing, Interdisciplinary Studio, and Art for Non Majors. Grigsby earned a B.F.A. in Graphic Design and an M.F.A. in Printmaking, both from the University of Florida.

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