Ph.D. student Cindy T. Davis wins the Onstead Institute Dissertation Award

Cindy T. Davis smiling, head-and-shoulders, long brown hair, wearing glasses, maroon topSpring 2023: The inaugural recipient of the Onstead Institute Dissertation Award is Cindy T. Davis, a CVAD art education doctoral student and an assistant professor of art education at Northern State University, Aberdeen, S.D. 

The Onstead Institute Dissertation Award of $5000 recognizes doctoral candidates in art education whose scholarship exhibits excellence within the field. 

"We congratulate Cindy and are proud to offer this opportunity to our excellent CVAD art educators," said Heidi Strobel, CVAD associate dean for academic affairs.

Students are eligible if they have completed all coursework for the Ph.D., except for their dissertation hours. The award celebrates art educators at a vital point in their careers while contributing to the Onstead Institute's mission of developing, supporting, and sustaining innovative art and design practices and processes for K-12 education through a program of research, project administration, and public dissemination of information.

A committee of CVAD's four visiting professors Letitia Huckaby, Beth Link, Donnie Nie, Layla Seale, senior lecturer Alisa Otto and CVAD Leadership Team members Peter Hyland, Manisha Sharma, chair, Department of Art Education, and Heidi Strobel made the selection. The committee evaluated each applicant's originality of ideas presented, the strength of the submitted written and creative work, potential impact on the field, and the project's feasibility within the given period. 

Davis is currently completing her research and dissertation focusing on the art education curriculum for in-service art teachers using problem-based design thinking. Davis provides in-person and remote course instruction and supervises art teachers at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Additionally, she has previous teaching experience at UNT and the State University of New York at New Paltz, N.Y.

Davis earned a management information systems degree and a Master of Arts in education from the University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla. She holds a PK-12 art education certification from Florida and has experience teaching art through public schools, private schools, and summer camps. Davis is an active member of state, national and international art education organizations, presenting at TAEA (Texas), FAEA (Florida), NAEA (United States), CSEA (Canada), and InSEA (Latin America) conferences.

Davis's art practice includes acrylic painting, mixed media art, ceramics, pencil and charcoal drawings, and photography addressing contemporary art topics, including depression, anxiety, hidden medical disabilities, and feminism.

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