Center for the Performing Arts picks proposals for inter-domain courses

May 04, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State, through a program funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has selected five proposals for the development of inter-domain courses that include the performing arts at their cores.

The call for proposals, which was announced in January, resulted in submissions representing a broad array of Penn State’s departments and programs. The selected proposals will be developed into Penn State general-education courses within two years.

“We are blown away by the creativity of Penn State faculty and the desire for them to connect to the arts. As a brand new endeavor, we weren’t sure what to expect. What we got were well-thought-out, meaningful, student-centered proposals from all corners of the university,” said Amy Dupain Vashaw, the center’s audience and program development director.

“We cannot wait to begin the process of working with the awarded faculty to bring their visions for these new courses into reality,” she said. “We are so grateful to the Mellon Foundation for helping us discover this rich new vein of arts work through the curriculum.”

Among the five inter-domain courses is “Creativity and the Art of Human Flourishing.” The course will dive into the exploration of art and creativity and what it means to not only survive, but to thrive as a person.

“Human beings, over the millennia, have turned to art in all its forms for comfort, solace, inspiration, and to help them release or express their wide range of emotions,” said Molly Countermine, associate teaching professor of health and human development.

“There is a growing body of research linking creative expression and engagement in the arts with well-being across the lifespan,” Countermine said. “Penn State, with its many resources supporting art and artists, is uniquely poised to facilitate students’ and the broader community’s opportunity to learn about and consume art. We are thrilled to be working with the Mellon Foundation and the Center for Performing Arts at Penn State to develop this new inter-domain course.”

The other courses to be developed include:

— “Improv Theater, Curriculum and Instruction,” which will engage students in the study and practice of longform improvisational theater through, and along with, the field of curriculum and instruction.

— “Climate Change and Storytelling,” which will use the art of storytelling to explore the impact of climate change on health issues.

— “Performance 360,” which will ask students to experience and reflect on the performing arts as cultural practice, touristic product, vehicle for self-expression, response to structures of power and more.

— “Perspectives on Aging/Lighter as We Go,” which will examine research on happiness, aging and well-being alongside the lived experience of older adults.

“I view the exciting cross-domain general education courses being developed as a big step forward in the Center for the Performing Arts’ integration into academic life at Penn State,” said George Trudeau, director of the center and associate clinical professor in the College of Arts and Architecture.

“It has been very heartening to hear of the enthusiasm of our faculty partners in this project, further validation of the importance of the arts in academic life,” he added. “And, of course, we are very grateful for the support by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.”

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(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 06, 2020