Lois Hetland is an associate professor of art education at the Massachusetts College of Art and a research associate at Project Zero. Her research in cognitive and developmental psychology focuses on issues of learning, teaching, and disciplinary understanding, with an emphasis in the arts. She teaches undergraduates and graduate students, and she facilitates professional development for educators in both face-to-face and online contexts.
Currently, she is also a co-principal investigator on the project, “Qualities of Quality: Excellence in Arts Education and How to Achieve It,” funded by the Wallace Foundation, and on the project Teaching and Learning in the Visual Arts (T/LVA), a qualitative research project funded by the J. Paul Getty Trust, the Ahmanson Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education. The project first developed the Studio Thinking Framework by studying artist-teachers at two Boston area high schools who take the arts seriously. Phase two of the project focused on describing student learning, and phase three works with generalist and arts teachers in Alameda County, California, to understand how teachers learn and use the framework in planning, teaching, and assessment.
From 1996-2005, Dr. Hetland served as the educational chair of Project Zero’s annual summer institute, and, since 2000, has authored and taught online courses on Teaching for Understanding and the Dimensions of Understanding on Harvard’s WIDE platform (Worldwide Interactive Development for Educators).
Lois Hetland, Ed.D., is Professor and Chair of the Art Education Department at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Senior Research Affiliate at Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Trained in music and visual arts, she taught elementary and middle school students for 17 years. Currently, she co-leads the Studio Thinking Network, a monthly online conversation among educators who use the Studio Thinking Framework. Previous work includes conducting an assessment initiative at MassArt (2009-2013), serving as Co-Principal Investigator on a National Science Foundation study of potential transfer from visual arts learning to geometric spatial reasoning (2008-2013), conducting research for the co-authored book, Studio Thinking 2: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education (2013, Teachers’ College, 2nd edition), supported by the Getty and Ahmanson Foundations (2001-2004); serving as Consulting Evaluator for Art21 Educators (2010-20012); Principal Investigator for research and professional development in Alameda County, CA, funded by the US Department of Education (2003-2010); Co-Principal Investigator on the Wallace funded study, Qualities of Quality: Understanding Excellence in Arts Education (2005-2008); and research leading to a set of ten meta-analytic reviews analyzing the effects of arts learning on non-arts outcomes, funded by the Bryant Family Foundation (1997-2000).