In the spring of 2009, the AEMS Alliance conducted a roundtable symposium for the deans of education, arts and sciences, liberal arts, and the humanities from two-and four-year Maryland institutions of higher education (IHEs) to discuss arts education in the preparation of teachers for 21st century teaching and learning. The event was hosted by Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and the AEMS Alliance.
The purpose of convening the Roundtable was to discuss how to improve overall arts education and how to initiate greater access and equity for high-quality opportunities for learning in and through the arts throughout Maryland. In addition, the Roundtable was used to update the deans on accomplishments in arts education, student achievement, and research; to share information on the importance of the Fine Arts State Curriculum and the Maryland Fine Arts Standards; to identify IHEs' challenges and successes in preparing teachers to enhance P-12 student learning in and through the arts; to explore how IHEs can make the implementation of the State Curriculum and the meeting/exceeding of the Maryland Fine Arts Standards a joint effort through the creation of partnerships with P-12 schools; and to explore action plans that align 21st Century Skills with Maryland educational goals and the incorporation of the arts in that work.
The overarching goals of the Roundtable were to inspire effective K-20 partnerships and to enable fine arts teachers and classroom teachers involved in arts integrated instruction to strengthen their capacities and improve their practice. Potential outcomes that were explored include pre- and in-service training in the arts that better equips education leaders and instructors for preparation of K-12 students for working in a 21st century world.
Arts education was discussed from a number of perspectives, including the Arts and Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM), teacher preparation in relation to 21st Century Skills, arts integration and education reform, PK-20 partnerships, assessment linked to instruction and program evaluation, and the latest research including neuro-scientific information about the impact of the arts on students. Perceptions of Arts Teacher Preparation Survey Data and Reflection Question responses from fine arts coordinators and supervisors in school systems throughout Maryland were distributed and reviewed to inform deans about the perspectives and needs of the field concerning current and future teacher preparation. Two sessions of six concurrent break-out discussions facilitated by specific Deans followed a plenary session which featured a presentation entitled The Essential Role of the Arts in 21st Century Teaching and Learning by keynote speaker Richard J. Deasy, Co-Chair of the MD Fine Arts Advisory Panel and former Executive Director of the Arts Education Partnership.
The previous Deans' Roundtable, which was held in 1999, led to the development of the AEMS Alliance Higher Education in the Arts Task Force, Towson University's Arts Integration Institute, and the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Arts Integration.