Kerry FreedmanKerry Freedman, Ph.D., professor and head of art education, has earned the Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award from Northern Illinois University. In more than 20 years on the faculty of the NIU School of Art and Design, Professor Freedman has continued her work as a national and international leader, researcher and presenter in the field of art and design education.

Freedman helped to create the Ph.D. in Art and Design Education at NIU and has served as the advisor for program the since its inception. She teaches doctoral core courses and models professional presentations for her students in her frequent appearances at national and international conferences. Freedman advises all doctoral students in the program through coursework until dissertation and actively serves as chair or committee member on most dissertations.

Freedman has written more than 120 published works, including seven books, which have been published in nine languages. She has presented keynotes and workshops in more than 30 countries on five continents.  Among other professional activities that have contributed to her mentorship, she has served as the Senior Editor of the research journal of the National Art Education Association, co-edited the International Encyclopedia of Art and Design Education, and is a former Fulbright Scholar.

“Dr. Freedman has been an excellent mentor to me, serving as both my advisor and dissertation co-chair, mentoring me through her teaching, research, and providing professional opportunities,” said Nicholas Leonard, a current art and design education doctoral candidate. “Dr. Freedman’s teaching model is both personalized to accommodate individual student research interests, while also rigorous to equip me with the skills and abilities expected from a premiere research university.”

Kathryn Sowinski, a second-year Ph.D. student in art and design education has worked with Freedman as a doctoral student, graduate teaching assistant and graduate assistant. “When I began researching Ph.D. programs, my professional colleagues recommended NIU largely because of Dr. Freedman and her excellent reputation as a scholar, researcher, professor and advocate for graduate students,” Sowinski said.

Richard Siegesmund, Ph.D., professor emeritus of the School of Art and Design, said Freedman’s influence is felt across the entire field of art and design education. “Dr. Freedman’s mentoring has helped establish NIU’s art and design doctoral degree as one of the preeminent programs of study in the world,” he said. “Her influence is not limited to one university. Through her concern for nurturing new generations of scholars, she has had an international impact on her discipline.”

The Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award is given by The Graduate School at NIU. Recipients receive a monetary award and plaque. As well, Freedman will have the honor of carrying the ceremonial mace at the spring 2024 commencement ceremony.