Way is an art historian specializing in the period from 1945 to the present. Previously, she worked in the curatorial departments of art museums in Philadelphia and Detroit and in not for profit organizations. Her research and teaching explore the meanings and uses people make of art, historically, since 1945.

Way’s current research examines how Americans engaged with a foreign art form in programs that intersected American foreign affairs agendas with domestic life and linked the United States and South Vietnam on questions of diplomacy and belonging in the Free World from about 1955 to 1961. By integrating historical material with historical and contemporary theory, Way studies discursive meanings that arise at the intersection of politics, economy and art. Supported by a Smithsonian Terra Foundation Senior Fellowship and grants from the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design and the Design History Society, among other resources, this work has generated a book manuscript with Bloomsbury Press, two journal guest editorships, numerous refereed journal essays, encyclopedia essays, and conference sessions and presentations, including the 34th International Congress of Art History held in Beijing.

Course topics Way teaches in relation to her research examine craft and decorative art in historiographies of modernism; visual culture, refugees and migrants; art and suffering; objects of diplomacy; heritage and memory; politics of exhibitions; and artists as citizens. During the fall semester, students in her graduate art history seminar, Artists as Citizens, explored changing ideas and practices of citizenship along with artists who work with citizenship issues including citizen of the world, cultural citizenship, the imagined nation, and statelessness. She regularly teaches a seminar on the politics of exhibitions and an undergraduate and graduate seminar in art history methods.

Way has also published on the work of British, Irish, and American artists active since 1945 and on the topic of art and technology with emphasis on gender. Her research has been supported by Trinity College, Dublin (Fulbright); Clinton Institute for American Studies, University College Dublin; National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Institute of International Visual Arts, London; Smithsonian National American Art Museum (Terra Foundation Senior Fellowship); Lemelson Center for Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.; and the Newberry Library, Chicago.


Way has developed collaborative, interdisciplinary academic projects in partnership with members of her college and university, and with the greater DFW community and organizations outside region. Selected examples include the series Conversations: Art, Politics & North Texas; Leadership Perspectives on Technology and Art; the Virtual Senior Center, NYC; and Collections Cultures and Collaborations, a student-research, collections-based project collaborating with local museums and collecting organizations, in its 11th year.

She has supervised over 50 MA art history projects and created and taught over 28 seminar topics and 15 upper-level art history courses. Over 50 scholars and artists have visited with students enrolled in her courses since 2004. Way received a university award for mentoring students in research, and a university award for teaching.  She served as PI and Co-PI for numerous external and internal grants and fellowships.

Way serves in university leadership roles promoting diversity and gender equity, graduate studies, and the accessibility of information concerning the workplace environment. She developed the 4+1 BA/MA degree track for the art history program. She oversaw merit, promotion and tenure processes for her college and program and mentored numerous probationary faculty through tenure. Way served as program coordinator for art history multiple times, chaired numerous academic search committees, and supervised college academic, gallery, and ad hoc policy and grievance committees, among others.