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Faculty/Staff Profiles

Alison Leonard

Assistant Professor of Arts and Creativity

Office: 409 A Gantt Circle
Phone: 864-656-5117
Vita: Click Here
Personal Website:

Educational Background

Ph.D. Curriculum & Instruction
University of Wisconsin-Madison 2012

M.A. Performance Studies
New York University 2006

B.I.S Anthropology, Dance, & Spanish
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 2003


Alison Leonard's current research focuses on three areas: 1) engaging middle school students in computer programming through embodied ways of thinking in a project called Virtual Environment Interactions (VEnvI) with School of Computing colleagues from CU and Duke; 2) exploring how the arts, creativity, and play are perceived in education; and 3) examining dance in education contexts, dance's role and its possibilities in schools.

Selected publications:

Leonard, A. E., & Odutola, A. O. (2016) “I Am Artistic”: Mixed Method Case Study Research of Preservice Generalists’ Perceptions of Arts in Education. Studies in Art Education, 57(3): 279-299.

Catalano, T. & Leonard, A. (2016). Moving people and minds: Dance as a vehicle of democratic education. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice. 1-22. DOI: 10.1177/1746197915626082

Leonard, A. E., Dsouza, N., Babu, S. B., Daily, S. B., Jörg, S., Waddell, C., Parmar, D., Gundersen, K., Gestring, J., & Boggs, K. (2015). Embodying and programming a "constellation" of multimodal literacy practices: Computational thinking, creative movement, biology, & virtual environment interactions. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 11(2), 64-93.

Leonard, A. E., Hall, A. H., & Herro, D. (2015). Dancing literacy: Expanding children’s and teachers’ literacy repertoires through embodied knowing. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 0(0) 1–23. DOI: 10.1177/1468798415588985

Daily, S. D., Leonard, A. E., Jörg, S., Babu, S., Gundersen, K., & Parmar, D. (2015). Embodying computational thinking: initial design of an emerging technological learning tool. Technology, Knowledge, & Learning. 20:79–84. DOI 10.1007/s10758-014-9237-1

Leonard, A. E. (2014). Aliens, zombies, and a volcano: Embracing the unexpected in conducting
research with young children. Curriculum & Teaching Dialogue, 16(2), 139-144.

Leonard, A. E., Hellenbrand, L., & McShane-Hellenbrand, K. (2014). Leading by design: a collaborative and creative leadership framework for dance integration in pk-12 schools. Journal of Dance Education, 14(3), 87-94.

Leonard, A. E. (2014) Democratic bodies: Exemplary practice and democratic education in a K-5 dance residency. Journal of Dance Education, 14(1).

Leonard, A. E. & Daily, S. B. (2013). The dancing Alice project: Computational & embodied arts research in middle school education., Issue 1, Retrieved from

Leonard, A. E. & McShane-Hellenbrand, K. (2012). K-5 student experiences in a dance residency: A case study.
Journal of Dance Education, 12, 82-86.

Courses Taught

ED EL 310: Arts in the Elementary School
EDF 974: Emerging Qualitative Research Methods & Design
ED 3970 010: Creative Inquiry
ED 4990 Honors Capstone
ED 9910: Doctoral Dissertation Research
ED 9940: Directed Research

Research Interests

Interdisciplinary arts education
Performance Studies and theories of performativity
Community outreach arts and artist-in-residence programs
Multicultural, social justice, and democratic education
Teacher Education
Dance and Theatre for Youth pedagogy and perspectives


Arts & Creativity Lab Facebook
Arts & Creativity Lab Instagram
TEDxYouth@Columbia, SC
Virtual Environment Interactions (VenvI)
Choreography Sampler