Arkansas Art Educators Honors Dr. Jeff Young with Award

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By Trina Harlow, Professor of Art, Art Education »

Arkansas Art Educators Honors Dr. Jeff Young with Award

Arkansas Art Educators, the state association for the National Art Education Association, honored Dr. Jeff Young of UCA with the 2020 Higher Education Educator of the Year Award for his service to art education in the state of Arkansas and beyond. Jeff is well-known in Arkansas for the significant contributions he has made to art education. Jeff was presented this award – that normally is presented at the organization’s annual fall conference – in October through a digital presentation sent out to AAE members.

A member of the UCA Art Department since 1996, Jeff served as chair of the department from 2003-2018 and now teaches art education and drawing classes. Prior to working in higher education, Jeff was an elementary art teacher for twelve years and a middle school art teacher for one year in the Arlington, Texas, and Coppell, Texas school districts.

Jeff’s recent research focuses on K-12 art teachers’ professional identities, their work in curriculum, and their experiences in mentorship. Working with colleagues at UCA and the University of Texas, the team has conducted in-depth interviews with eight art teachers over a span of ten years, from their first year as new art teachers to their tenth year. To date, the research from the fifth-year interviews yielded three articles published in Art Education, Visual Arts Research, and Studies in Art Education. The team has recently submitted a new manuscript based on information gathered from the tenth-year interviews for possible publication in a teaching journal and has begun work on another manuscript from these interviews.

In her letter of support for Jeff to receive this award, Deborah Kuster, UCA Professor Emeritus, wrote he “is known as one of those professors that students continue to respect, communicate, and partner with throughout their careers. He’s known by his students for his endearing stories, sense of humor, and availability. . . Jeff’s passion and investment in the quality of art education in Arkansas has never wavered.”

Jeff holds the Ph.D. and M.A. in Art Education from the University of North Texas and the B.F.A. in Art Education from Texas Tech University. He received this same award from Arkansas Art Educators (AAE) in 2001 and has also been named the Western Region Higher Education Art Educator of the Year Award by the National Art Education Association in 2002 and the Arkansas Art Educator of the Year Award by AAE in 2008.