Morristown, N.J. (April 4, 2016) – Lincoln Park, N.J., resident Betsy Diaz will receive her doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) from College of Saint Elizabeth in May 2016 after successfully defending her dissertation.
The topic of her research, "21st Century Skills from the Fine and Performing Arts Perspective", focuses on how well fine arts faculty in the district understand the 21st century skills frameworks. The goal of this research is to determine the teachers' knowledge in relation to the 21st century skills ideas, determine the teachers' knowledge as to how the fine arts departments can help foster these skills, and determine the resources needed to support continued fine arts education in the district.
"The faculty of this program made the years of academic work a worthwhile experience," says Diaz. "I was introduced to the concept of servant leadership, which enriched my understanding of the big picture in education. The flexibility of the program made it manageable to continue working fulltime, raise my children and aspire to fulfill my goal of a doctoral degree."
Diaz earned a B.A. in studio fine arts with a concentration in painting and a minor in educational psychology and a M.A. in educational leadership from Montclair State University.
As a Paterson, N.J., native, she was motivated to improve the quality of arts education in the inner city. Diaz worked for seven years in various Paterson Public Schools teaching fine arts in the elementary and middle-school grade levels.
Diaz moved to the Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, N.J., where she took more of a leadership role as a department head, mentor for new teachers, and curriculum writer. She taught beginning, intermediate and advanced sections of painting, drawing, mixed media and advanced placement (AP) sections of studio arts and art history.
Her passion for the arts and desire to expand the curriculum allowed her to implement the AP classes in the studio arts department. Her years in education strengthen her belief that the arts are an essential element of education in developing a well-rounded individual.