Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Delores E. McNair

First Committee Member

Lynn Beck Brallier

Second Committee Member

Rod P. Githens


The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship of higher education organizational structure and institutional quality assurance practices to and the culture of teaching and learning in artistic disciplines from the perspectives of three artist-educators. The research questions addressed by this study are as follows:

1. How do participants view the relationship of the organizational structure of their institution to the provision of quality assurance practices in their disciplines?

2. What barriers, if any, do participants perceive about the implementation of effective quality assurance practice and policy, and if barriers are perceived, why do they occur?

3. What changes or improvements have been made, if any, to pedagogy as a result of the findings of quality assurance practice?

4. In what ways, if any, has the relationship of organizational structure and quality assurance affected the orientation of the participants' disciplinary culture to learning?

Quality assurance practices are central to institutional decisions about educational programs, their alignment with mission, and how resources should be allocated. The process by which quality is defined, understood, and evaluated should connect with the domain it is attempting to define, understand, and evaluate in a way that the community surrounding the domain recognizes as useful and authentic. Intended for an audience of students, faculty, staff, and administrators in higher education arts disciplines, this study provides insight into how quality assurance process and product relate to teaching, learning, and assessing learning in the arts. Through a qualitative research study employing purposeful sampling selection, three artist-educators working at three institutions differing in size, scope, and funding structure took part in this study. Findings emerged across a series of themes concerning artists as educators, art as an educational endeavor, the work of the artist-educator, the doing of assessment, and the politics of assessment. The experience of the participants gave rise to three primary implications; the importance of opportunity for creation and risk as curricular and pedagogical imperatives, the acceptance of a subjective ontology and epistemologies of diagnosis to connect the arts to teaching and learning in other disciplines, and a convergence of top-down and bottom-up leadership models to identify and document educational effectiveness. This study suggests a model of artistic learning in which engagement with students is indicative of an ecology that accounts for the many factors connected to successful student engagement. This kind of holistic model, one that considers artistic learning by means of a systems approach, aligns the environment of the discipline in which the student is situated to the relationship of that discipline to a department, school, college for the purpose of student achievement and the development of artistic voice.