Blog Archives

Engaging Campus Partners – an example from Montclair State University

The core campus partners at Montclair State University were the Office of Arts and Cultural Programming (ACP) and the Research Academy for University Learning (RAUL). Under the banner Peak Performances, ACP provides a place for innovative artists to create and present works across multiple disciplines. Artists include established and up-and-coming creators on a national and international level, as well as members from the College of the Arts. ACP’s role in the project was to identify and support the artists collaborating on the project, to spearhead project-related marketing and communications, and to provide administrative and documentation support during course development.

Read about the partners and process lessons ›


The Caduceus Rod approach – Using Art as a Catalyst to Integrate Art & Science – an example from Wesleyan University

Involving intense interdisciplinary collaboration around a common objective or theme.

Feet to the Fire is a major undertaking on Wesleyan’s campus to examine critical environmental issues through multiple lenses, from science to art. This program is dedicated to the proposition that a multidisciplinary examination that includes art will provide a more comprehensive and deeper understanding of these global issues.

Feet to the Fire is a major undertaking on Wesleyan’s campus to examine critical environmental issues through multiple lenses, from science to art.

Learn more about the Feet to the Fire program ›


Provoking Thought, Discussion and Research – an example from California State University, Long Beach

Banned, Blacklisted and Boycotted: Censorship and the Response to It (The B-Word Project) was an 18-month campus-wide initiative, running from September 2011 through December 2012, at California State University, Long Beach. It presented performances and other activities to stimulate wide-ranging discussions that examine what happens when a voice—whether in artistic endeavors, journalism, scientific research or other areas—is stifled through governmental, commercial, or social restraints. The goal of the project is to provoke thought, discussion and research into the effects of censorship across all disciplines at Cal State Long Beach.

Learn more about the The B-Word Project ›


Tapping Into Community Needs – Class Divide, an example from Dartmouth University

Class Divide

Dartmouth University’s Hopkins Center’s three-year Class Divide project was conceived as a cross-campus / community programming initiative intended to raise awareness and spark discussion about socio-economic difference in communities throughout the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont. Through a series of events, performances and residencies, the Hop aimed to both heighten their campus and community visibility, and to deepen their role in the higher education community at Dartmouth College. The Class Divide project began one-year prior to receipt of two-years of funding from the Creative Campus Innovations grant program.

Margaret Lawrence, Director of Programming, director Peter Sellars, faculty and students reflect on the Class Divide program:

Margaret Lawrence, Director of Programming, director Peter Sellars, faculty and students reflect on the Class Divide program.

Class discussion and analysis of educational impact:

Class discussion and analysis of educational impact.

Learn more about the program at Dartmouth College ›


Reviewing Three Interdisciplinary Approaches

In the 2010 evaluation report of the Creative Campus Innovations Grant Program, Alan Brown, Laura Mandeles and Jennifer Novak-Leonard indicate that the Creative Campus grants succeeded in stimulating the development of new models for arts-based interdisciplinary exchange initiated by campus-based presenters. While some of the models studied build on conventional practice (e.g. artist residencies), they are distinguished by their interdisciplinary nature and by the approaches used to conceive them. They observed three primary approaches:

  • Artist Focus
  • Thematic/Topical Focus
  • Stakeholder or Partner Focus

Read the summary of findings ›


Partnerships are Key to Successful Collaboration

In some respects, the Creative Campus Innovations Grant Program could be viewed as a study in partnerships: partnerships with artists, partnerships with faculty and academic departments, partnerships with student organizations, and partnerships with community organizations. Strong partnerships yielded strong and sustainable outcomes. Thus, grantees with strong process design and project management approaches (e.g., active task forces and committee structures) tended to outperform those with weaker approaches in terms of the grant program’s goals. The capacity to assess progress, reflect critically and diagnose problems was also associated with stronger outcomes.


Pairing Visiting Artists with Non-Arts Faculty – three examples from Wesleyan, Cal State and Montclair State

This strategy builds relationships and pedagogical practices that extend across disciplinary lines. At Wesleyan, co-taught courses coupled a dancer/choreographer with an environmental scientist who developed a curriculum that engaged students in the subject of climate change through scientific and artistic lenses. While engaging faculty artists proved to be relatively straightforward, engaging non-arts faculty proved more difficult. At some campuses, non-arts faculty could not be engaged in the project – not because of political or philosophical problems – but because of the advance planning requirements associated with modifying curriculum.

Partnerships at Wesleyan:

When the sequencing of the human genome was announced to the public, choreographer Liz Lerman of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange was one of many who asked what this would mean for the future. To help answer these questions, she developed Ferocious Beauty: Genome, a multimedia piece that explores the current historic moment of revelation and questioning in genetic research. The subject is represented through a plurality of viewpoints, mirroring a dialogue among multiple voices — artistic, scientific, and scholarly — in all their varied perspectives.

Wesleyan Science Choreography

She began collaborating with scientists across the country who investigate genes and their function. Wesleyan University began to work with Lerman in science classrooms using various movement-based tools developed by the Dance Exchange both to teach science and to encourage our students to think creatively about science – an exploration that has been met with great success.

Pam Tatge continues to describe various effective collaborations/pairings of environmental scientists, choreographers and others during the 18 month project:

Pam Tatge continues to describe various effective collaborations/pairings of environmental scientists, choreographers and others during the 18 month project.

Read more about Wesleyan’s Science Choreography ›

Read more about this and other successful program strategies ›

Introduction of co-taught visiting artist series at California State University, Long Beach:

Introduction of co-taught visiting artist series at California State University, Long Beach.

Browse the list of partners at Long Beach ›

Voices of campus partners at Montclair State University:

Wayne McGregor, choreographer, Random Dance Workshop:

Wayne McGregor, choreographer, Random Dance Workshop.

Robert Whitman, playwright, Passport Workshop:

Robert Whitman, playwright, Passport Workshop.

Robert Wilson, director, with Wayne McGregor:

Robert Wilson, director, with Wayne McGregor.

Scott DeLahunta, R-Research Director, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance discussing the “task” of the work:

Scott DeLahunta, R-Research Director, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance discussing the “task” of the work.

Elizabeth Streb, choreographer:

Elizabeth Streb, choreographer.

Michael Gordon, composer:

Michael Gordon, composer.

Read the full description of all Montclair State University artist partnerships ›

Get an overview of the artistic partnerships in the project’s final report ›


Adding Community Engagement Programs

Several projects were conceived out of a desire to serve a specific population or stakeholder group, or a desire to work with a specific academic department. In most cases, this approach was amalgamated using an artist focus.

Read more about programmatic components ›

California State University, Long Beach, created a community engagement project called PROject/proJECT with videos done by high school students as part of a partnership with the YMCA Youth Institute.

What It’s Like by Barrier Breakers:

What It’s Like by Barrier Breakers.

What They Don’t Want Us to Know by Censor This:

What They Don’t Want Us to Know by Censor This.

See Hear Speak by Liberation Transmission:

See Hear Speak by Liberation Transmission.

Power of Words by Vyrus:

Power of Words by Vyrus.

Silence by Taboo:

Silence by Taboo.

Learn more about the PROject/proJECT ›

Wesleyan’s Feet to the Fire Program

Feet to the Fire is a major undertaking on Wesleyan’s campus to examine critical environmental issues through multiple lenses, from science to art. This program is dedicated to the proposition that a multidisciplinary examination that includes art will provide a more comprehensive and deeper understanding of these global issues.

Co-taught after school programs (at off-campus middle school):

Co-taught after school programs (at off-campus middle school).

Each year, Feet to the Fire presents programming that provides opportunities to engage with the arts and the environment simultaneously. Events and exhibitions often take the form of one-time performances by visiting artists, festivals, or gallery exhibitions. It is an occasion for the CFA to present artists whose work connects with the annual Feet to the Fire theme. It also allows for the campus and surrounding community at-large to engage with the work of the artist and environmental topics.

Read more about the Center for the Arts’ community events ›

Music and Public Life: A Year-Long Campus and Community-Wide Exploration

Today, the private and public worlds of music often overlap and intersect in virtual networks, community musicking, and public policy. During the 2012–2013 academic year, Wesleyan University is celebrating and studying the sounds, words, and spirit of music in public at the local, national, and transnational levels through concerts, workshops, gatherings, and courses, all designed to cross disciplines and engage the campus and Greater Middletown communities.

Learn more about the Music and Public Life project ›


Key Outcomes: Sustainability

The 2010 evaluation report of the Creative Campus Innovations Grant Program features examples of the outcomes from the Round 1 grants which the authors consider to be the most sustainable in nature.

Browse the list of sustainable outcomes ›

California State University, Long Beach

From the earliest days of the B-Word Project, Cal State tried to build a sustainable model for interdisciplinary projects. All the evaluation activities, all the committee meetings, all the classroom visits, were designed to instill in faculty the idea that Cal State’s Carpenter Center was ‘open for business’ and interested in working with them. Since the directive to accomplish this originated with the Dean of the College of the Arts, and he was promoted to Provost when the Creative Campus award was announced, we surmised this was a realistic endeavor.

Read the full sustainability report from Long Beach ›

Dartmouth Hopkins Center

Discussion at Hopkins Center of how seeds sown in the arts produce multiple blossoms:

Discussion at Hopkins Center of how seeds sown in the arts produce multiple blossoms.

The Hopkins Center (the Hop) now has several sets of internal and external resources they did not have before Class Divide:

  • An employee Task Force that is deeply versed in matters of community access, and whose work will continue to benefit the Hop’s institutional accessibility. The Hop Employee Task Force’s approach to assessing the economic accessibility of the Hop is being made public to peer organizations needing help.
  • The Community Advisory board, who understand the Hop’s goals and programs and who will continue to function as advocate for them.

Read the Dartmouth College sustainability report ›

Montclair State University

Plans for continuing to take an interdisciplinary approach to pedagogy – the Creative Thinking course was intended to become an ongoing part of Montclair State’s curriculum. The long-term goal is for the course to grow into a foundational experience for all incoming students at Montclair State. The course responds to goals articulated in Montclair State’s strategic plan that include the integration of deep learning initiatives and creativity into the curriculum and increased integration of the arts into campus life.

Read the Montclair State University sustainability report ›

Read the discussion of sustainable elements in the 2012 Creative Thinking CCI Final Report ›

Wesleyan Center for the Arts: Common Moment

First Year Matters (FYM) is an annual program for incoming first-year students that explores the challenges we face as a result of global climate change and its impact on cultures and ecosystems around the world. The CFA connects to this program through the Common Moment, which is a capstone experience at the end of FYM. The purpose of the Common Moment is to create a participatory community experience through music and movement that physically connects the students to the FYM readings. Each unique performance is interactive and allows students to connect the materials learned throughout the week with the arts. At the conclusion of the Common Moment, the students assemble in a histogram representing the results of a survey question about the F2F theme answered earlier in the week.

Wesleyan Common Moment

Common Moment for incoming freshman is now an annual festival that continues with a new theme each year:

Common Moment for incoming freshman is now an annual festival that continues with a new theme each year.

Learn more about Common Moment ›

The parts of Feet to the Fire that will continue beyond the funded project include the relationships between the CFA and the various campus partners to continue to create innovative collaborations.

Read the Wesleyan sustainability report


Lessons Learned: California State University, Long Beach (CSULB)

Organizers of the project report – The name, The B-Word Project, worked. It begged the follow-up question, “What is that?” and later, became easy shorthand for those events. Students on campus have been overheard saying, “That’s a B-Word thing.” The name sounded edgy and seemed to resonate with CSULB students.

As a mechanism to make the campus aware of the Carpenter Center, the B-Word Project’s colorful, provocative banners placed throughout campus worked. On such a large campus, to be able to mention the B-Word Project anywhere and have everyone nod their heads in recognition is an almost un-heard-of feat. Of course, every sword has two edges. Some of our Steering Committee faculty members heard complaints from their department colleagues about “your” banners being inappropriate or too provocative. This was one of the first signs that we were doing something right with our censorship initiative!

Find out what worked and didn’t work in the B-Word Project at California State University, Long Beach ›