Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis


Master of Science



Program Director

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

First Reader

Matthew E. Davis, PhD

Second Reader

Becky Birch, EdD


This qualitative research examined how the arts extend to serve as a tool for equity in supporting students of all backgrounds, language skills, and learning levels toward access and development of acumen for learning in all subjects and disciplines. This research is situated in a theoretical framework encompassing theories of learning styles (Dunn, 2000), art education and equity (Kalin, 2012), and pedagogical approaches to the use of technology (Strycker, 2020). Sixteen students participated in a peer focus group in which they developed, reflected upon, and then co-critiqued an art project that evolved through a six-phase process, and two faculty members were interviewed on how the arts impact education across disciplines. The research found that equitable and autonomous learning increased when students were allowed to express their voices by demonstrating creative visual representation of their responses to project criteria, and could be cultivated through peer interaction, and increasing motivation and growth through skill-building and course alignment which provide alternative methods and insight for communicating personal reflection and voice as a way to engage in real life. The work has significant implications for how students can collaborate, engage in their own learning style, and have agency over their learning outcomes. Arts education gives students the opportunity to explore their ideas and how art is used to communicate their ideas and reflections through discussion and synthesis of projects. Similarly, creating an environment that gives students the opportunities to reflect and communicate their ideas helps teachers collaborate, plan and design lesson activities that are relevant to students' individual learning experiences.

IRB Number