Art History Teaching Resources (AHTR)

Michelle Fisher, Art History
Faculty Advisor: Jennifer Ball, Brooklyn College
Project Website: Art History Teaching Resources (AHTR)

Art History Teaching Resources (AHTR)


To develop a streamlined website interface for Art History Teaching Resources (AHTR), a peer-populated online teaching and pedagogy resources site, in order to share Art History Survey teaching materials within the CUNY Art History program Graduate Teaching Fellows, and eventually outside the CUNY system.


I proposed this project after a (fun and rewarding but) long and stressful first year as a graduate teaching fellow in art history in 2010-11. I spent longer prepping the lectures I was teaching for the survey course than I did on my own study and research. I also felt like fraud asking others for help because it seemed like I was failing at this “rite of passage.” A final niggle at my conscience were the lectures way outside my expertise – I had the Renaissance down, but how was I meant to confidently teach about the Arts of China when I knew nothing about them?

A recent and timely report by The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) in the UK cites “the lack of [teaching] support for early years academics, particularly the growing number on temporary contracts.” There is a need to support teaching excellence from the beginning of an academic teaching career, and to foster engagement, discussion and exchange between emerging teachers. At present, there is no standard set of resources for new art survey teachers within the CUNY system, and so most new teachers “reinvent the wheel” by creating their own lectures, PPTs and other teaching materials. As I can attest, this can be a tough process. I began to hear the same refrain from most of my “emerging” teaching peers.


AHTR begins to address these issues. Over the past two years I have developed the website – – and collaborated with teaching colleagues who have provided their own content for the site, to be shared with peers. The blog on the site was developed by myself and my teaching colleague at Baruch, Karen Shelby, as a forum for teachers to discuss current ideas, concerns, and developments in art history pedagogy. Karen has brought her Museum Video project to the site and we have begun collaborating on it as a long-term part of this evolving project. We have presented on this project at national and international conferences in our field, creating a dialogue with our peers around current teaching practices.

We are now looking to partner with a more established site in order to have greater access to programming and development expertise, and have meetings in the pipeline for summer/fall 2013.