Laura Hetrick's directory photo.

Laura Hetrick


Associate Professor

Primary Affiliation

Cognition, Lifespan Engagement, Aging, and Resilience


Status Affiliate Faculty

Home School of Art and Design




  • Biography

    Laura Hetrick received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 2010 and immediately began working at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is an associate professor of art education and also serves as their Graduate Coordinator. Her doctoral scholarship concerned itself with the emergent identity formation of art student teachers: the knowledge and cultural systems through which art teaching identity conceives itself, and the ontological consequences that evolve from those identifications. Hetrick is the co-editor of the journal Visual Arts Research, a publication providing a forum for historical, critical, cultural, psychological, educational, and conceptual research in visual arts and aesthetic education. To date, Hetrick has published one edited book, 20 peer-reviewed articles and given over 30 conference presentations and invited lectures. She is consistently invited/accepted to present at conferences, workshops and panels in the U.S., and internationally, including Canada, Finland, Jamaica, Jordan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey.

    Currently, she is affiliated with the National Art Education Association; the Disability Studies in Art Education Special Interest Group; the Illinois Art Education Association; and the International Society for Education through Art, or InSEA, which is an affiliate of The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.


    • Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 2010

  • Honors
    • 2023-2024: Public Voices Fellow, University of Illinois System

    • 2019: College of Fine & Applied Arts (FAA) Faculty Award for Excellence in Service, 2018-2019. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    • 2014: FAA Creative Research Award, $8000 Grant. College of Fine & Applied Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    • 2011-current: Teachers Ranked as Excellent on Campus, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, all semesters. *Some semesters were ranked as Outstanding.

    • 2011: Elliot Eisner Doctoral Research Award in Art Education; Runner-Up, National Art Education Association, Reston, VA.

  • Research

    Research interests

    • Teacher identity/subjectivity

    • Psychoanalysis

    • Popular visual culture

    • Fandoms/fan art as philosophical constructs

    As a late-in-life diagnosed autistic professor, Hetrick is now focusing mainly on autistic identity and the autistic lived experience. At the Beckman Institute, she hopes to research such issues as the mechanisms and processes of autistic adult cognitive development; how an autistic’s activities contribute to resilience through the adult lifespan; the development and evaluation of cost-effective and life-integrated autistic interventions using psychology, neuroscience, kinesiology, education and more; and the mechanisms underlying autistic intervention effects, including those related to behavioral, neural, emotional, motivational, and social processes. Additionally, she hopes to explore and understand various autistic health co-morbidities from a cellular level, and as a result, advocate for improved medical care, prevention, and maintenance for autistic adults.

  • 2023

    • Black on Black on Black on Black: An interview with Artist-Scholar Dr. Blair Ebony Smith, Visual Arts Research, 49(1), 6-13.
    • Current State of Play: Transitions, Visual Arts Research, 49(2), 1-5.
    • Recognizing Greatness in our own Time, Visual Arts Research, 49(1), 1-5.
    • The Intersectionality of Autism, Woman, and Scholar, in The Intersectionality of Critical Identities in Art Education [Eds.] Steve Willis, Ryan Shin, & Allan Richard.


    • Building a Case for Complexity Theory in the Construction of Art Education Curricula, Visual Arts Research, 46(2), 1-14.
    • Embracing Uncertainty through Embracing the Arts. Visual Arts Research, 46(2), v-vi.
    • Experimenting with Failure as a Journey, Not a Permanent Destination. Conference Proceedings. International Society for Education through Art World Congress, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


    • Fan Art/Fiction Production as Creative Processes. Conference Proceedings. International Society for Education through Art World Congress, Espoo, Finland.
    • Introduction to 45.2—Themes and Thoughts. Visual Arts Research, vol. 45(2), v-vii.


    • [Edited Book] Teaching Art, (Re)Imagining Identity. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.
    • Introducing the Many Face[t]s of Identity, in Teaching Art, (Re)Imagining Identity. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, (5-11).


    • Exploring art student teachers’ fictions of teaching: Strategies for teacher educators, Journal of Social Theory in Art Education, 37(1), 38-48.
    • Renewed Culture Wars and their Malcontent: How to Engage with a Culture of Disillusionment, Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education, 34(1), 29-44.


    • Common Threads: Formally Addressing Informal Spaces, Identity, and Blurring. Visual Arts Research, (42)1, 1-7.
    • Psychoanalysis in Build-A-Bear Workshop®: Lacanian and Kristevan perspectives, Journal of Visual Inquiry: Learning & Teaching Art (VI), 5(3), 307-315.