Professor of Storytelling & Narrativity: Just the Tip of Creativity
Creativity is the new currency in the knowledge-based economy...For Immediate Release: April 2, 2013
How do you inspire creativity and innovation in postsecondary education? That’s the challenge that Sheridan College has embraced as a key milestone to becoming Ontario’s first university exclusively dedicated to undergraduate professional education.
Building the Creative Campus
The immense curiosity generated by Sheridan’s recent job postings for a Professor of Storytelling & Narrativity and a Professor of Creativity & Creative Thinking might provide some indication that Sheridan isn’t alone in recognizing the importance of teaching creativity to future generations.
“Creativity is the new currency in the knowledge-based economy,” says Dr. Jeff Zabudsky, Sheridan’s President. “As Ontario and Canada continue to wrestle with jobs that constantly evolve and emerge, we have an enormous obligation to give our students the hard and soft skills they need - not to participate in the future, but to help inform it. To do that, we’re building what I like to call The Creative Campus.”
The Creative Campus is a philosophy and a commitment to making creativity a cornerstone of the Sheridan experience. “We’re already known for creativity as it relates to the Arts,” says Dr. Yael Katz, Associate Dean for Humanities & Creativity at Sheridan and Chair of the Creative Campus Working Group. “But several of our Faculties also cultivate it in different contexts by incorporating reflective thinking, problem-based learning, adventure learning, community engagement or storytelling. We’re aiming for a common language to elevate creativity and integrate it visibly across the board without stifling the different ways in which it can be nourished and conceptualized. This includes finding cross-disciplinary opportunities for students to develop creative thinking competencies, skills and sensibilities. The intent is to encourage students to think creatively in a purposeful way and to transform the parameters of their learning experience.”
College-Wide Electives in Creativity
In the next academic year, Sheridan is planning to make available electives on studies in creativity designed for students across programs. To give faculty members and managers the intellectual space to be creative and do things differently, Sheridan is also working with Dr. Gerard Puccio from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State, where they offer an M.A. in creativity. Puccio will deliver an intensive training workshop to help Sheridan’s leaders develop the process skills, methods and tools to enhance their students’ creativity as well as their own.
Building Spaces that Nurture Creativity
Recognizing that space is also literal, Sheridan has a unique opportunity to create a blueprint for creativity as it plans for its second building in Mississauga. “The new building will accommodate programs that have been grouped into clusters – such as creative technical arts, creativity and communications, applied computing, advertising, merchandising and retail, and humanities and social sciences -- to connect different domains of knowledge, research and practice,” explains Dr. Mary Preece, Sheridan’s Provost and VP Academic. “To encourage inquiry and debate, classes will be designed to promote interaction between students and professors, enabling collaboration and professional engagement. The building will also feature a street-level gallery to showcase Sheridan’s creativity, foster partnerships with the community, and integrate learning with civic life.”
Creativity in Action
In May, Sheridan will announce the winners of its annual President’s Creative Challenge, a year-long initiative in which teams from every corner of the College propose solutions to complex societal issues. This year’s focus is on designing projects to help create more inclusive communities for all ages. “It’s brought together approximately 30 teams, involving more than 75 students and 15 mentors, from 10 of Sheridan’s programs representing three campuses,” says Pat Spadafora, Chair of the Planning Committee, and Director of the Sheridan Elder Research Centre. “Collaboration is the key to inspiring truly creative ideas. While teams still have a few weeks to submit entries, we’re anticipating projects that could propose anything from new processes and products to technology applications, or even designs for innovative housing alternatives and connected neighbourhoods.”
Sheridan is vested in making creativity a tangible and defining notion of the College, as reflected in its mission, values and goals. As one of Canada’s leading postsecondary institutions, Sheridan offers over 100 diploma, certificate, and bachelor degree programs. The aim is to build a new kind of postsecondary institution in Ontario – one that remains focused on undergraduate, applied learning that is strongly connected to fields of practice, but that also meets university accreditation requirements so that graduates have more pathways to continued learning – today’s pre-requisite for personal, career, and industry success.
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