• And so rather than sitting and pondering forever whether a visual is an art work or a scientific image, it's more productive to say a multitude of images exist in the world—and to ask what they do. Where do they live? What kinds of inquiries do they prompt? What do they be of the viewer?

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Creative Process Course (UARTS250)

  • September 19, 2011
  • By a2ru      
Creative Process is an ArtsEngine course that immerses students in the creative process.


Creative Process (UARTS250) is a four-credit course offered by ArtsEngine that immerses students — first- year through fourth-year, from all units — in the creative process. CP is team-taught by faculty from each of the North Campus units: Art & Design; Architecture + Urban Planning; Engineering; and Music, Theatre & Dance. CP provides students the opportunity to pursue intensive, hands-on creative work in four modalities — sound, motion, visual images and objects, and language — any or all of which come into play in their final course project.

Origination & Purpose: Creative Process was created by an ad hoc group of faculty from the four represented units responding to a call for sustainable, innovative, cross-disciplinary courses from U-M’s professional schools. The aim was to create a new undergraduate course that disabused students of common misconceptions of creativity, and helped students gain confidence in their own creative process by immersing them in original creative work.

Funding: The course proposal was provided with seed funding of $180,000 over a three-year period.

Product: The course is described briefly above and in more detail here:

Outcomes: For the first two years it was difficult to find adequate space to teach four new studio sections of a course simultaneously. Scheduling Creative Process for all-day Friday meetings on U-M’s North Campus kept enrollment low by eliminating students who had other Friday classes and those who were loath to spend all day Friday in class. In year 3 (FY2011), space was secured to offer the course in two 2.5-hour chunks during the week, and enrollment jumped sufficiently for the course to be sustainable, even with 5 faculty (one from each unit, plus course coordinator Professor Stephen Rush).

Evaluation: Creative Process has become a high-profile course at U-M, with students often saying that it has changed their lives. Course evaluation by U-M’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) has shown that Creative Process is unusually effective in helping students

  • Clarify unstructured problems
  • Formulate good questions
  • Consider a broader context when decision-making and problem-solving
  • Be open to others’ points of view
  • Plan
  • Analyze problems in a way that considers unusual alternatives
  • Work through obstacles
  • Be able to critique others
  • Be able to receive feedback and criticism
  • Produce work of their own design
  • Participate effectively in group discussion
  • Convey their ideas effectively
  • Check to see if they understand others’ thoughts
  • Relate to people with backgrounds different from theirs
  • Listen to audio or video media critically

Comments: Course coordinator is Stephen Rush ([email protected]), and faculty include Amy Chavasse, Dance ([email protected]), Michael Gould, Music ([email protected]) , Herb Winfuls, Engineering ([email protected]), Elona van Gent, Art & Design ([email protected]), and Greg Saldana, Architecture ([email protected]).