Welcome Back! Fall 2018

The start of a new semester often brings academics anxiety about everything we must do in the coming weeks, and frustration at the goals we were unable to realize over the summer.  As we begin the busyness of fall, all of us at AHTR ask you to take a moment to reflect on the positive. Whether you spent a day at the pool, attended a workshop, had lunch with a friend, or cleaned out your inbox, these are productive acts of self-care that take place every day and which we should remember to acknowledge when faced with the demands and high expectations inherent to teaching. Likewise, it’s helpful to keep in mind the joys of going back to school: the sense of starting fresh, the potential for unexpected discovery, and renewed awareness that–like learning–our professional development is an ongoing process of new opportunities to grow.   

In keeping with the start of the school year, we are excited to share some new things going on at AHTR. You may have noticed that many images on the site have been refreshed, and work is underway to add more content to the site. With support from CUNY’s Open Education Resources (OER) Initiative and the Baruch College Center for Teaching and Learning, we launched in July a beta-version of our expanded Visiting the Museum Learning Resource.  A related project is the creation of a new repository of OERs on AHTR that not only includes course content, but also offers insight into effective uses of these materials in a class. Reflecting the goals of CUNY’s OER Initiative, the materials, which will soon be published on AHTR, are intended to expand pedagogical choices, develop student information literacy, introduce a wider variety of course materials, and embrace interdisciplinary. For the spring, AHTR co-founder and design curator, Michelle Millar Fisher is spearheading a collaboration with other experts in architecture and design to develop an AHTR component supporting instruction in design history. 

Another upcoming project to announce is a special issue of Art History Pedagogy and Practice, which will be guest-edited by AHPP advisor Kelly Donahue-Wallace. Slated for publication in fall 2019, this issue will highlight a variety of research methodologies used for SoTL-AH.  We invite submissions of project abstracts or complete manuscripts by art historians new to SoTL research (See the complete CFP here). Once selected, authors who would like additional guidance, will be paired with experienced mentors in SoTL and art education to support their project’s development toward publication in AHPP.

Lastly and most importantly, we want to officially welcome three new contributing editors to our volunteer leadership collective who will help expand AHTR’s reach and resources in the coming months:

Francesca Albrezzi brings expertise in Digital Humanities and the use of technologies like virtual reality, 360° cameras, and other tools of information capture to affect experience and understanding in museum and learning environments. Francesca’s contribution to raise AHTR’s visibility and community engagement has already been seen in her role to oversee social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and (still to come!) Instagram.  

Alysha Meloche brings experience teaching art history, as well as in educational research and policy to her role supporting AHTR’s E-journal hub and the editorial/production team at Art History Pedagogy and Practice. We are also excited to have her perspective on new resources exploring how to foster creative thinking through art history and instruction around digital and visual literacy.   

Mary “Franny” Zawadzki is a long-time friend of AHTR who has published multiple times on the AHTR Weekly, so we are thrilled to now have her contributing her knowledge of online education and e-learning, as well as experience in digital/game-based learning practices. Get ready for a special series in the coming months that will take a deep dive into issues of online learning, co-authored by Franny and AHTR contributing editor and assessment guru, Parme Giuntini.  

In welcoming you all back, AHTR remains grateful for the continued enthusiasm and support of this growing community of practice. The AHTR website, which now receives 1,000 visitors each day, has been viewed more than a million times since its public launch in 2013. This fall will see publication of the fourth issue of Art History Pedagogy and Practice, which has been downloaded more than 7,500 times by readers in 98 countries since its release in December 2016.

We look forward to an exciting year and hope you’ll continue to contribute to our community through support of our work, engagement in online discussions through our Facebook group,  following us on Twitter, and comments posted on the AHTR website or sent to us at info@arthistoryTR.org.

We further encourage you to reach out and connect with us at conferences! This year, Karen and Parme will be in Birmingham, Alabama at SECAC in October to host a roundtable on Memory and Monuments: Teaching the South in and out of the South. This theme of facilitating emotional or highly charged pedagogical discussions will also be addressed in our session at CAA in February, 2019. A collaboration with our friends at Art History That, AHTR has planned State of the Art (History): Engaging Difficult Topics In And Out Of the Classroom as a series of lightning talks to frame an interactive discussion among session attendees. Ginger will also be heading to Portland in November for the PODS Network Conference and several of us hope to make it to HASTAC next year in Vancouver, B.C. We hope to see you there! 

Until then, we wish you a wonderful start as you head back to school, and look forward to all that’s to come in the new academic year!     


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