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Elizabeth Kowalchuk

Associate Professor
Primary office:
785-864-8218
Chalmers Hall, room 320


My teaching broadly focuses on preparing individuals to be productive members of their community. This community includes people who shape and interpret our visual world and who teach others about art, local history and community.  My goal is for students to gain an understanding of how museums and the arts interact with other forces to influence and enrich our lives. Consequently, the thrust of my instructional endeavors involves guiding students toward professional competence, where the importance of art and community is recognized and investigated. I hold a joint appointment in Museum Studies and in Visual Art.  In Museum Studies, I teach courses for undergraduates on the purpose, practice and place of museums in society and graduate seminars focusing on education and local museums.  In Visual Arts, I teach courses in art education focusing on teaching, curriculum, and studio instruction. 

My current research interests center on museums, material culture and the arts.  Specifically, I seek to make connections between how museums and the arts function in communities, create a sense of place, and contribute to civic engagement.  I'm interested in these issues both from the point of view of how teachers use their arts knowledge and local resources but also how museums contribute to community vitality, particularly in rural areas. I am currently studying the rich history of the arts and museums in Kansas including artists and collectors who have contributed to our state.  I frequently give talks and workshops about the importance of art in community, the broader society and everyday life. 

Originally from Miami, I grew up in South Florida and started my teaching career in Palm Beach County.  I taught art in the public schools for six years before returning to graduate school at Ohio State University. Coming to Lawrence from a faculty position at Buffalo State College in Buffalo, NY, I have been a faculty member at KU for over 20 years. During this time, I have been active in campus and community affairs including service on the Lawrence Arts Commission and volunteer work for the Friends of the Lawrence Public Library.


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Museum Events

Big Botany on the Big Screen -- Leaning into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy
Thursday, May 31
6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
309 Auditorium, Spencer Museum of Art
Free and open to the public