Give Today! Support Randolph College
AboutAdmissionUndergraduateGraduateAcademicsUndergraduateGraduateStudent LifeAthleticsOutcomesAlumnae & AlumniParents & FamiliesInside RandolphAPPLYREQUESTVISITNEWSEVENTSSupport RandolphSearch

New Master of Education program provides expertise to educators

Michelline Hall poses in the middle of an art gallery, with her hand on her hip

Michelline Hall ’24 MEd

This story appears in the Spring 2024 edition of Vita Abundantior, the Magazine of Randolph College.

For Michelline Hall ’24 MEd, the arts are paramount to life. 

She took her first ceramics class at 11, then fell in love with photography, which she studied at Virginia Intermont College. 

“My philosophy on teaching is developed from my own personal experiences, but it really lines up with John Dewey’s pedagogy of thinking about art as not separate from life,” said Hall, chief programming officer at the Academy Center of the Arts. “I think where we go wrong is trying to separate the creative from the technical. It all goes together.

“The arts are a touchpoint,” she added. “These are the things that unify us because they’re expressions of our human nature.” 

Hall is also a photographer, advocate, and entrepreneur who has worked as an art educator in addition to running her own photography business and founding the visual branding agency Blackwater Branding with her husband, Jawansa. 

And now, she’s tackling going back to school—as one of the first students in Randolph’s new Master of Education program. 

While Randolph’s Master of Arts in Teaching degree is focused on helping teachers earn licensure, the MEd, which is being offered online, is designed as an opportunity for those who may not want to teach in public K-12 schools, but still want advanced study in education. 

Michelline Hall speaks with guests at an art gallery opening

“In our department, we recognize education as a lifelong pursuit that happens in many spaces: arts centers, afterschool and summer programs, camps, museums, and so many more places,” said education professor Crystal Howell. “In addition to extensive experience in schools, our faculty have created curricula and taught in these nontraditional settings, and we regularly work with local organizations.” 

The goal is to prepare graduates to not only plan and deliver engaging programming but also to evaluate their program’s success and engage in continuous improvement. 

“This emphasis on action research—that is, the kind of critical self-assessment nonprofits and community organizations engage in continuously to make their programs better fit the needs of their communities—is one of the many things that sets our MEd apart from other programs,” Howell said. 

Hall applied for the MEd to enhance the Academy’s arts programming with an educational focus, aiming to support students of all ages. 

“I’m an arts administrator, and I really want to ensure we are providing a level of excellence in education that supports the city schools in a way that is very intentional,” she said. “It’s one thing to look at programming through the eyes of a teacher, or an arts educator with a specialty in a specific discipline, versus being inside of the school system as an administrator.

“It’s looking at arts administration and school administration, where they overlap and where there are opportunities for more connection,” she added. “Having an understanding of that is helpful, so you’re asking the right questions. I aspire for our partnership to be strong and supportive for educators and students alike.”

She’s spent a lot of time examining the SOLS to break out objectives and develop curriculum, while also understanding budget constraints that school systems often face. 

“As a person who has always been in the arts, I understand when you have things being stretched and budgets being cut,” she said. “I want to be in a position at the Academy where no  matter what the school’s budget, we can supply robust, engaging, and worthwhile programming for students and teachers and really be a resource.”

She’s also working on an action research project that feeds into her work and has already brought ideas back to her team.  

“Michelline’s study enhances her contributions at the Academy Center of the Arts and throughout the Lynchburg community,” said Peggy Schimmoeller, education professor and director of the College’s MEd and MAT programs. “We love having her as a member of our learning community. She will undoubtedly continue to make significant contributions as she applies what she has learned.”

The program has been a perfect fit for Hall’s busy life as a working mom and active volunteer. She is president of the Junior League of Lynchburg—only the second Black president in the organization’s history—and serves on numerous boards around town. 

“The support of the faculty and staff at Randolph is top-notch,” she said. “They are very understanding of working families and are attentive to the shifting priorities that may happen in a day or a series of weeks. I definitely feel their support in this.”

Tags: , ,
  • Archives

  • Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn YouTube RSS Feeds Snapchat