Undergraduate Course Exploring Collaboration Underway with Full Enrollment

After more than a year of planning and development, the pilot Pathways course called Introduction to Applied Collaborative Techniques (I-ACT) is underway for the first time this fall. Twenty students from 6 different colleges and 16 different majors (including mechanical engineering, nanoscience, economics, computational modeling, accounting, information technology, management, agribusiness, public relations, mathematics, music, communication, and sustainable biomaterials) are working together to understand and apply principles of collaborative theatre performance within the context of a non-theatre focus.

“I love this class. I’m learning more about myself and how to approach collaboration than I ever imagined I would,” wrote one student enrolled in the Center for Communicating Science’s undergraduate course. The course, TA 2404, is housed in the theatre program in the School of Performing Arts and was developed by CCS director Patricia Raun.

Daniel Bird Tobin, Post MFA Fellow and faculty in collaboration class

Two Post-MFA fellows were hired this past summer to help develop the course and to contribute in other ways to the work of the Center for Communicating Science and the theatre program. Daniel Bird Tobin, a director and theatre maker from Florida, comes to us from Arizona State University. Nicole Dietze, a theatre educator and performer, comes from the University of South Carolina by way of Los Angeles.

Nicole Dietze, Post-MFA Fellow and faculty in collaboration class.

The adventurous students in I-ACT are experimenting with practice-based approaches to effective interpersonal and small group communication; interdisciplinary team creativity; audience connection; and innovation through improvisation. They are gaining important skills in situational awareness, listening, effective storytelling, team conflict resolution, non-verbal communication, and connecting across difference. The course teaches theatre as an instrument for those who do not consider themselves to be theatre artists. It includes theatre practices that address areas of social and cultural policy.

In the course, the students examine the world from multiple perspectives through engagement with one another. They develop capacities to empathize by imagining the lives of others and responding to the biographies of real individuals and dramatized characters from a variety of life experiences and world views. They embody those differences through improvisation and devised scene work.

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