Professor wins national top art educator award
Irene Naested named Canadian Art Educator of the Year
The Canadian Society for Education through Art (CSEA) has named Mount Royal University Professor Irene Naested, PhD, as the Canadian Art Educator of the Year (Higher Education) for 2014.
The award recognizes the exemplary contributions, leadership and excellence in teaching and research of one outstanding CSEA member annually at the national level. The award will be presented at the annual CSEA conference entitled ‘Visual Revival’ held on October 24-25, 2014 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Naested recently retired from her role as Chair in the Department of Education and Schooling in the Faculty of Teaching and Learning. Throughout her 18 years at Mount Royal, Irene has made significant contributions to the advancement of art in education, with a research interest in helping teachers learn to make connections between art and math, believing that when students understand the math/art connection, their understanding and confidence increase in both subjects.
She credits success in teaching this concept to recognizing that students are coming to class with anxiety about the course and teaching.
“Very few artists or students good at art don’t realize that they know a great deal about mathematics,” Naested says, adding to encourage this, a teacher needs to connect terminology and numbers to what the students are doing.
“You can evaluate an art piece using mathematical terms such as proportion and symmetry — it provides a different way of looking at things.”
This concept applies to her experience at Mount Royal in that she credits the face-to-face environment with the ability to interconnect with others who have a different perspective on subjects, which led to a co-teaching opportunity with colleague Roberta La Haye, PhD, who teaches math.
Naested was nominated by La Haye, who says, “Irene is a passionate art educator who attempts to promote good art education and champion the visual arts as a discipline.”
Naested has been recognized by Mount Royal for her teaching excellence, receiving Mount Royal’s Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award in 2009. She was among the first faculty at Mount Royal to be granted the rank of full professor.
Renowned for the relationships she builds with students, Naested is strongly committed to the development of student leaders. Her advice to art educators is to understand what you are doing, plan well and get to know your students very well. She is also a strong advocate of field experience.
During her tenure at Mount Royal, she was instrumental in the development of creating a minor in educational studies, Mount Royal’s Bachelor of Education – Elementary, as well as adding five art courses to the University calendar. She has authored and co-authored eight publications, including Understanding the Landscape of Teaching and Exploring the Math and Art Connection and has numerous academic and professional presentations to her credit. Naested now plans to use her experience in education and research to provide teachers with resources to help them educate.
Oct. 22, 2014 — Melanie Veriotes