What I’m Teaching – May 1

Last ENTP 123: Art Entrepreneurship Community class of the semester just finished an hour ago. We ended at Steelstacks, with guest speaker, Ryan Hill.

We started outside on the Air Products Town Square; the blast furnaces lit up while we had our first hour of discussion. (Pretty cool to watch their faces when they saw that) I had them do a couple of creative exercises, and reviewed a bit of framework for their final projects. All of their projects are individualized. They’ve been directed to identify problems, barriers or opportunities in all of their activities. Their final project is to highlight one of them, and provide as many solutions, connections, collaborations,  and/or ideas to fix or improve on what they’ve identified. I’ll give them a bit of direction for their consideration (who, how, institutional history, etc.)

I’m really looking forward to reading what they think.

The last class is also the time students fill out the standard course evaluation forms. I tell them to be honest and rate what they feel. In case they don’t write the feedback that I really want, we spend some time in honest feedback before they fill out the forms. I ask them to tell me how the activities, site visits, guests, and assignment met the learning objective.

I got great feedback about the textbooks. I think it’s time to ditch the Florida, and find something more relevant. We might be able to get what we need from a summary, or maybe an updated application of his theories as applied to creative placemaking. I’m even thinking about having the next class read David Brooks’ On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now and Always Have. Definitely will add David Owens’ Creative People Muse Be Stopped: 6 Ways We Kill Innovation Without Even Trying. Here’s a quick video intro.

To keep or not to keep the Scott Timberg Culture Crash… that remains a question. Maybe I start with that one. Hmmm, lots to consider.

The students want to get into the community sooner. They love the site visits and talking with the cultural entrepreneurs that have founded and sustain the arts scene just off campus. They want to be more a part of it and will feel more inclined to explore when they have more of a relationship on their own terms.

This feedback excited me. Next action is to work with the cultural arts groups to schedule earlier in the semester, and then to arrange multiple volunteer opportunities and deeper engagement and reflection with the missions of each organization.

Then comes the sustainability part. I need to find ways to create more “institutional” relationships between the community and various campus groups. Perhaps I could explore more deeply the leadership potential of student social groups to build transitions between classes. The relationship with the scene must be THEIR terms; not mine.

I really enjoy teaching this class. I don’t feel as much of a teacher, more like a facilitator. I introduce them to experiences. Hopefully, they make their own connections, and have a value of community assets wherever they choose to live.

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