National Art Education Society Selects MC Faculty for Preservice Excellence Award
The awards keep rolling in for one of Mississippi College’s most popular art professors.
The National Art Education Association, the nation’s leading professional membership group for visual arts educators, has named Dr. Stephanie Dickson Busbea, MC professor and art education program coordinator, as the 2022 recipient of its Preservice Chapter Sponsor Award of Excellence.
Busbea will formally accept the honor on March 4 at the Higher Education Awards Ceremony in New York City.
The accolade comes on the heels of NAEA representatives presenting the association’s Mary Quinn Dix Leadership Award to Busbea during the Mississippi Art Education Association’s Awards 2021 ceremony on Nov. 12.
The Preservice Chapter Sponsor Award of Excellence recognizes dedication to the development of future professional members of the NAEA through sponsorship of an outstanding preservice chapter group at the college/university level. Only sponsors of active NAEA preservice chapters are eligible to receive the award.
In his letter informing Busbea of her selection, Mario R. Rossero, NAEA executive director, said, “There is no greater testament of your exemplary contributions to the field of visual arts education than being chosen for this prestigious award. Your colleagues throughout the United States and abroad join the NAEA Board of Directors in applauding your leadership, commitment, and service to the profession.”
Busbea said her association with the arts education society dates back to her undergraduate days.
“When I was at Arkansas State University, my chapter sponsor got me involved on the state and national levels,” she said. “Now, I’m doing the same thing for my students.
“What’s going to make this award special is having my students with me when I receive it. That is going to be really meaningful.”
MC’s art education seniors will accompany Busbea to the Higher Education Awards Ceremony after her students made and sold handcrafted ceramic Christmas decorations and linoleum prints last fall to pay for the trip.
The NAEA considers service to the state organization and region, as well as contributions to the national association when selecting the Preservice Chapter Sponsor Award of Excellence winner.
Busbea has served the MAEA in a variety of roles, including president-elect from 2015-17, president from 2017-19, and past president from 2019-21. She has also served on the NAEA Convention Delegates Assembly from 2017-19, on the National Leadership Conference in 2016 and 2018, on the Mississippi Arts Commission Arts Education Panel in 2012, 2015, and 2020, and as the MAEA Fall and Spring Conference coordinator from 2015-19, among other appointments.
She has given presentations to the NAEA and at its national conference, has been an NAEA delegate representing Mississippi for two years, and has orchestrated numerous regional activities for her students, including painting murals for Shower Power and hosting art exhibitions to benefit Stewpot Community Services, nonprofit organizations that minister to the homeless population in Jackson.
“We’re so service-minded at MC, and there’s a lot of opportunities to serve others through the arts,” Busbea said.
Renna Moore-Edwards, visual arts educator at the Ida B. Wells Academic and Performing Arts Complex in Jackson, said she nominated Busbea for the award, not only for her extraordinary service to her students and the community, but also for her exceptional performance in leading the Mississippi Art Education Association.
“There are few people within Mississippi who are as dedicated to the arts and education as Dr. Busbea,” said Moore-Edwards, a 2004 MC art education graduate who serves as MAEA president-elect. “She has inspired many students and teachers alike with her leadership and teaching. This is shown in the numerous awards and leadership positions she has received.
“Putting the honors and leadership aside, I wanted to nominate her because she is the one art education coordinator and NAEA Preserve Chapter sponsor that I would and have recommended my own art students to continue their education with. With her as their next mentor, I know they will be on their way to becoming innovative art educators and will receive a world-class education in the MC Art Department.”
The quality of art instruction Busbea provides is highly valued by her students. Danielle Henderson, a senior art education major from Waynesboro, said she fully enjoys Busbea’s Aesthetics and Modern Art classes.
“To be such a talented artist, Dr. Busbea is an even better teacher,” Henderson said. “Her enthusiasm for art is just as evident as her love for her students. She genuinely cares for each of us and will go the distance to see that we leave her class with a new appreciation for art and refreshed outlook on ourselves as artists.
“Dr. Busbea completely deserves this award because she’s both a friend and a mentor and no one loves art or students like she does.”
When Emma Kate Lyons, a senior from Brandon, changed her major to art education, she received enthusiastic support from Busbea.
“Dr. Busbea made me feel welcome immediately,” Lyons said. “She has an obvious passion, not only for art, but for teaching as well. In the classroom, Dr. Busbea succeeds in maintaining an engaging and challenging environment while also keeping students motivated and encouraged.
“Dr. Busbea goes above and beyond to provide her students with resources that prepare them for life in the ‘real world.’ I am so grateful to have a professor such as Dr. Busbea that shows us all what it looks like to be a powerful figure in art and education and shapes the college careers of so many.”
Busbea’s dedication to her students was exemplified at the MAEA fall conference when she introduced the keynote speaker for the event. During her presentation, Busbea had all of her students come to the front of the auditorium.
“I said, ‘By the way, all of these students are going to be looking for jobs,’” Busbea said. “A lot of the teachers thought that was funny, but after the address, those same teachers came up to the students and then came up to me and asked, ‘Which of your students are going to graduate in May?’ The students already have a great relationship with those teachers, and may get an interview and an opportunity at their school districts.
“The event was a great opportunity for the students to get experience presenting at a conference. That’s the kind of experience that can go on their resumes.”
Neither Lyons nor Henderson has ever attended an NAEA convention, but both plan to be among the MC art students who will join Busbea when she accepts the award in New York. Of course, Busbea intends to use the occasion as a teaching opportunity.
“I am looking forward to meeting different art teachers from around the country,” Lyons said. “I am also excited about visiting art museums such as the Met and the Museum of Modern Art. It will be interesting to experience many works of art in person after we have studied them in class for the past couple of years.
“At these events, we are able to learn more about different creative processes that we can utilize in our future classrooms. NAEA also gives us opportunities to network with art educators from all over the country. We are also able to utilize the many resources they provide for art teachers.”
Henderson said Busbea has encouraged her students to participate in MAEA and NAEA activities, which can help support their burgeoning careers.
“Connections are everything and having a community is such a great way to get inspiration, advice, and encouragement from other teachers in your field,” Henderson said. “Plus, the art world is always changing, with social and cultural trends, so staying up-to-date with what others are doing can be really exciting and helpful.”
Moore-Edwards credits Busbea with infusing new life into the statewide art organization.
“During Stephanie’s tenure as MAEA president, she brought our MAEA chapter back to life,” she said. “Besides her hard work as a leader, she also brings in new members from her Preservice NAEA Chapter. At this moment, she has the only thriving art education department in the state and works hard at keeping her NAEA Preservice members active in our association and school systems.
“Dr. Busbea has trained and inspired countless preservice students and the relationships she has fostered between preservice and cooperating teachers has caused Mississippi to turn out competent, highly innovative educators that continue to stay active in NAEA and take leadership roles in our state. Her preservice chapter of NAEA also works hard to maintain a strong presence in the college and community and works with other departments to promote the visual arts. This hard work has helped her students receive numerous scholarships and event statewide arts grants to continue their work and education.”
Professor of art at MC since 1997 and a former adjunct instructor of art, Busbea holds a B.S.E. in art education from Arkansas State University, an M.A.Ed. in art education from the University of Georgia, and a Ph.D. in art education from the University of North Texas. She serves the Christian University as assistant chair of the Department of Art, art education coordinator and advisor, student teaching supervisor, and graduate reader.
Moore-Edwards said Busbea has been on the leading edge of art education throughout her career.
“Dr. Busbea is so much more than just a college professor,” she said. “She works so hard on making sure her art education majors are successful and find jobs in their field. She heavily recruits into her department. And she also is there for them in all aspects of her life.
“She is a perfect example of the wonderful Mississippi College culture and leadership you find in the art department.”
“I think Dr. Busbea is one of the coolest people I have ever met,” Henderson said. “When I grow up, that’s who I want to be. This award is not her first and won’t be her last, and she deserves every single one.”
The diminishing number of art education teachers is at the forefront of Busbea’s concerns for her profession.
“We would love to have an art education scholarship endowed so we can continue to have art education teachers in Mississippi,” she said, noting MC and William Carey University have the only remaining art education programs in the state.
In recent years, the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, the University of Southern Mississippi, the Mississippi University for Women, and Delta State University all closed their once-thriving programs.
Founded in 1947 and based in Virginia, the NAEA includes members from elementary school teachers through college professors and students seeking to become art educators. NAEA members promote mentoring and networking, and they attend art education conferences across the U.S.
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