Research Commission Column: Feb/Mar 2022

NAEA News Feb/Mar 2022

The columns for this issue of NAEA News were written prior to the 2022 National Convention. As such, you may find information about Convention sessions and references to past occurrences in the future tense.

What’s Your Why? Motivations for Research in Your Work

“If we want to feel an undying passion for our work, if we want to feel we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves, we all need to know our WHY.” ―Simon Sinek

As we approach the Convention season, I am reminded of the demonstrated whys participants in the 2019–2020 Research Commission survey expressed. The #1 reason for valuing research was “to improve [their] practice,” with 72% of participants choosing this as their why. More than half of the participants also indicated additional whys as important: “to expand or redefine the field,” “for advocacy,” and “to contribute to the field.” Museum educators also pointed out an important aspect of motivation for engaging in research: “to connect with others.” Higher educators shared their whys with elementary educators, overlapping with a desire to expand and redefine the field, and secondary educators overlap with higher educators in their desire to contribute to the field.

I love thinking about these coinciding whys for engaging in and valuing research because they reveal how powerful our shared missions can be for connecting across NAEA membership divisions and within projects, representing our varied curiosities. The NAEA Research Network has as its goal to highlight and strengthen these connections and encourage shared interests to increase the impact of research in the field. Please attend the upcoming Research Commission–sponsored sessions at the NAEA Convention to find connections with your research why and activate research connections in your work. Follow up with an email to the presenter; talk to the person sitting next to you in the presentation; ask questions of the research presented based on how the ideas connect to your practice; volunteer your classroom as a site for continuing the research. These connections activate the Research Network and lead to meaningful contribution in the field.

Research Commission–sponsored sessions at NAEA Convention 2022: Activating the Next NAEA Research Agenda
Possible Futures of Doctoral Studies in Art Education
Engaged Research and Community Investment
Moving From Me to We: A Showcase of Collaborative Research in Art Education
Curriculum in Practice: Exploring the Intersections of Art and Civics
Art Education by the Numbers: Exploring the Power of Mixed-Methods Research
Data Visualization Working Group: K–12 Students as Data Scientists and Artists
Data Visualization Working Group: Breaking Boundaries and Forging Connections
Re(presenting) Disability: Critical Considerations for Art Museum Educators
Changing the Education Landscape: Ideas to Imagine the Future of Art
Research About the College Teaching of Art

A very special Research Commission–sponsored session is Curiosity Lab, which will take place Saturday in the ballroom right after artist Hank Willis Thomas’s presentation, where we will be listening for how research informs his creative practice. Please join us for this fun interactive extension of Thomas’s presentation to our own practices.

And lastly, the Convention in NYC marks the passing of many batons on the Research Commission. Sincere gratitude is due to the outgoing members on the Research Commission: Lisa Hochtritt, Mark Graham, Dan Barney, and Kristi Oliver. Each of these individuals have defined leadership through engaged meaningful service over their tenures on the commission. Shepherding our webcast series, launching the College Teaching of Art working group, and rebooting Translations are just some of the many contributions of this incredible group. I am forever grateful for the time working alongside this esteemed group of colleagues.

Additionally, Juan Carlos Castro completes his tenure as Past Chair of the Research Commission at the close of the Convention. Juan, truly, your guidance and support has been invaluable. Thank you for your service pushing for new levels of engagement, transparency, and mission for the Research Commission, operationally and philosophically. Also, I value how you model commitment in your service roles. Thank you for the many gifs and giggles, even during this challenging time of pressing ahead in the most difficult of circumstances.

Lastly, I will be passing the baton of chairing the Research Commission to the very capable hands of Amy Pfeiler-Wunder. Amy, your clear focus and connective energy will continue to support the efforts of this group so well. I look forward to witnessing inspiring next steps with your leadership. It has been a complete joy working with the incredibly talented team of commissioners as we underscored the importance of connective research efforts across the membership of NAEA. I look forward to contributing further by supporting the next steps of the NAEA Research Network as Past Chair of the commission.

Column by:
Sara Wilson McKay
Research Commission Chair. Associate Professor, Department of Education, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond.

Explore More