Teaching is a big responsibility; teaching future teachers, even more so. Associate Professor of Art Tracie Costantino is focused on developing models that are instructive to her students, but also will be useful for them when they get a classroom of their own.
“I approach my undergraduate teaching in art education—teacher preparation—by trying to model the kind of teaching I hope they will do,” Costantino said. “Instructional strategies that you can connect to students help them take ownership of what they are learning and helps develop clarity about the expectations for the class.”
Costantino’s focus on students and her instinct for collaboration has blossomed with her engagement in some of the most innovative programs at UGA. As a member of the art faculty, she participates in the Lamar Dodd School of Art’s study-abroad program in Cortona, Italy, where her Italian language skills have helped expand the art education program to the local elementary schools.
Selected as a Lilly Teaching Fellow in 2007, Costantino developed an interdisciplinary collaboration with a Lilly colleague from engineering that has taken both programs in promising new directions. Costantino was co-principal investigator, along with Nadia Kellam from the Faculty of Engineering and Bonnie Crammond from the College of Education, on a $149,000 NSF grant supporting the team’s development of a course that explores how visual thinking may inform the development of creative problem solving in environmental engineering, with joint course enrollment by undergraduate art and engineering students.
“Dr. Costantino’s warmth towards, respect for and support of students is a sentiment regularly heard from her students and colleagues around campus,” said Georgia Strange, director of the art school. “Her collaborative efforts to create a classroom environment that promotes learning and encourages students to challenge themselves, while also creating a synergy between her research and teaching, reflects well not only on the school of art but the entire university.”