Advocacy & Policy

NAEA Position Statement on Professional Development

[Adopted March 2011; Reviewed and Revised April 2014; March 2019; April 2024]

NAEA asserts that meaningful, rigorous professional development, targeted toward the visual arts, media arts, and design education, are essential to the lifelong learning of visual art educators. NAEA believes all visual art educators should have equal access to ongoing professional development appropriate to their role, commensurate with educators in other content areas.

NAEA supports opportunities for building enriched relationships between theory and practice. Examples of professional development opportunities include, but are not limited to:

  • studio practices
  • engagement with contemporary and traditional art forms
  • curriculum design and instructional methods
  • classroom management
  • strategies meeting the needs of all learners
  • leadership development, emerging and ever changing technologies and their relation to art and education
  • theories related to lifelong learning, cognition, and human development.

NAEA recognizes these opportunities can take place in a variety of contexts and supports peer to peer learning among professionals. NAEA believes optimal professional development can take place through self-study and self-initiated outreach, participatory learning communities, mentoring relationships, research opportunities, and formal presentations and events.

NAEA maintains that dynamic professional development takes place as visual art educators and organizations partner toward shared professional goals. These opportunities can take place among colleagues, as well as with universities, museums, galleries, cultural organizations, community groups, government agencies, and philanthropic organizations; between NAEA divisions; as well as with non-visual arts professionals. Meaningful professional development can also take place between the visual arts and other artistic disciplines, as well as between the visual arts and other subject areas.

NAEA promotes professional development and learning through local, state, and national conferences, web-based platforms, institutes, in-services, workshops, and retreats that share a variety of perspectives.