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A new kind of university. A university for life.

Instead of exclusively offering courses and degrees, AOEU provides a wide variety of learning opportunities. Instead of abandoning students after graduation, AOEU supports its students over an entire career. Instead of offering an endless list of degree programs to every student imaginable, AOEU is hyper-focused on the field of art education.

Imagine… a university built by art teachers, exclusively for art teachers.

Meet the AOEU Team!

We’re art teachers. We’re leaders. We’re passionate about art education and higher education. We’re on a mission to grow amazing art teachers.


Our Mission

“We grow amazing art teachers by providing rigorous, relevant, and engaging learning at every stage of their career.”

Accreditation You Can Trust

The Art of Education University is a fully-accredited online graduate university, offering an accredited degree program nationwide.


Letters from our Founders

Hi, I’m Jessica. Founder and President at the Art of Education University.

Several years ago as an art teacher working towards my master’s degree, I began a search for a university with courses designed for art teachers but came up short.

Like so many art teachers, I struggled to find classes that were relevant, practical, and would actually teach me something valuable to my career as an art educator!

This frustration led to the creation and development of The Art of Education. That year, my husband Derek and I set out on a mission to provide Ridiculously Relevant Professional Development™ to art teachers around the world.

Since that time, and thanks to our loyal students, The Art of Education (AOE) is now The Art of Education University (AOEU), the world’s first fully-accredited graduate university exclusively serving K-12 art teachers like you.

Today, hundreds of thousands of individuals read our online magazine each month while thousands of art teachers attend our conferences and rely on our online graduate classes for license renewal, salary advancement, or to secure a master’s degree.

As art teachers, we all have to stick together. We’re not an afterthought – and we absolutely deserve the highest quality professional development available.

The Art of Education University exists to grow amazing art teachers by providing rigorous, relevant, and engaging learning at every stage of their career.


Jessica R. Balsley
Founder and President
The Art of Education University

P.S. To learn more about the team that makes this institution possible, meet our team now.

Hello, I’m Derek. Founder and Chief Executive Officer at The Art of Education University.

In 2011, my wife Jessica and I founded The Art of Education to improve professional development for K-12 art teachers around the world.

Several years later, when we decided to transform The Art of Education into the world’s only hyper-vertical university exclusively serving art teachers, we began by asking ourselves a series of questions. Questions which helped us envision an entirely new kind of university.

  • “What if universities weren’t something you attended, graduated, then abandoned — but instead were a valuable learning institution you invested in for life?
  • “What if universities didn’t try to offer programs for every student imaginable — but instead, specialized by serving one specific type of student as deeply as possible?
  • “What if universities not only offered traditional degrees — but a full spectrum of lifelong learning opportunities to reflect each student’s unique needs?

The Art of Education University is a new kind of institution. A “University for Life” which serves a single type of student, over an entire lifetime, with a full spectrum of learning opportunities.

It’s an honor and pleasure to serve alongside the entire AOEU team, today consisting of more than 45 inspiring team members, committed to fulfilling our mission of growing amazing art teachers!


Derek B. Balsley
Founder and CEO
The Art of Education University

P.S. To learn more about the values which underpin this unique institution, take a closer look at our official seal.