Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Teacher Education

Major Professor

Joy G. Bertling

Committee Members

Joshua L. Kenna, Jason S. Brown


It has been found through extensive studies that students who are proficient in the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are more prepared to succeed later in life. But by adding Art into the STEM curricula (STEAM) and creating a far more interdisciplinary framework for educators, students can be even better prepared to solve the world’s problems.This study uses a narrative approach for data collection and interpretation of results by interviewing three interdisciplinary artists. At the beginning, I posed the two main questions: 1) How do interdisciplinary artists conceptualize themselves as art educators? 2) How can interdisciplinary artists’ experiences and understandings inform how STEAM is implemented within art education?My intention was to learn how these interdisciplinary artists were able to integrate their specific areas into the arts to develop uniquely integrated curricula. Over the course of my research, I determined that there is never one single event that drives individuals to this type of work. Each of these individuals started from a different point that eventually landed them in interdisciplinary education. It was on these separate paths that each person developed a common understanding of their role as an interdisciplinary artist. That is not to say that this path is easy. The jobs of artist, educator, and researcher are constantly in contention with one another, but they must work together to fully succeed.Currently the role of art in education is treated as an option not a necessity. This is due to the fact that most educators already involved in STEM do not see themselves as artists. In an education system that is based on test scores, this is increasingly hard to prevent. So, in order to create a truly integrative and interdisciplinary education system that is effective and comprehensive as well has helpful and engaging to students, we must use both quantitative science-based subjects as well as qualitative art-based subjects. As interdisciplinary educators, we must correct past mistakes and show that art is a vital part of any and every core curriculum.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."