Art education director honored with Diekhoff Teaching Award

shuckerowSome art education teachers simply cast out their student teachers to fend for themselves.

To make sure his students have the best chance to succeed as student art teachers, Tim Shuckerow matches each one’s strengths and personality to a particular art teacher and school.

Then he routinely visits them to observe how and what his students teach, offering suggestions for improvement and occasionally giving art demonstrations to the student-teacher’s class. Sometimes, he’s so inspired by their creativity that he even incorporates some of their ideas into his own classes.

In 2008, Shuckerow was inducted as a “Distinguished Fellow,” the highest honor bestowed by the Ohio Art Education Association.

Already a two-time winner of the prestigious Ohio Arts Education Association’s Higher Education of the Year Award, Shuckerow now adds another honor.

Shuckerow, director of Case Western Reserve University’s Art Education/Art Studio program, is one of two recipients of the university’s 2014 John S. Diekhoff Award for Teaching, which recognizes his contributions to graduate education.

Shuckerow, who was also nominated for a Diekhoff Award in 1989, has also been nominated twice for the Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (in 1992 and 2006), and was honored with the Bruce Jackson Award for Excellence in Mentoring in 2004.

His legacy is as vast as his commitment to visual arts education: For the past 26 years, Shuckerow has taught and mentored more than 225 graduates who have gone on to become art teachers.

“Many people strive to follow their calling in life, but few are successful,” wrote a former student who nominated him for the award. “Still fewer manage not only to succeed, but to make a real impact in their area of expertise. A rare few help others to pursue their dreams as well. Tim Shuckerow is one of these rare few.

He’s been such a fixture at Case Western Reserve University that the children of some of his early graduate students are enrolled in his classes. In fact, some of his students are the children of professors he had as a CWRU graduate student in the 1970s.

Shuckerow credits his graduate students’ exceedingly high retention rate in the field of Art Education to mentoring that starts from his initial one-on-one meeting with a new student.

He seeks two qualities in his students: First and foremost, creativity and artistic talent; and then a commitment to serve and teach. Merely wanting to teach art isn’t sufficient, he said.

“You have to know, practice making the art,” he said, “to teach it.”

Shuckerow shares with students his experience as a teacher in New Orleans, Fairbanks, the Cleveland and Shaker Heights public schools and at University School, where he was director of the visual and performing arts programs, from the stage to the potter’s wheel.

Shuckerow, a painter and singer/blues harmonica player, believes being an art educator and musician are the perfect fit.

“When the workday’s done,” he said, “I go home and play some more with painting and music.”

That’s an attitude he likes to see developed in his students—where the passion for art seamlessly carries over from work to home, to the point where it becomes an essential part of their lives.