University of Iowa: Sustainability
Eye Piece was a transformative learning experience for Hancher. We are pursuing multiple strategies to continue the momentum and to bring the Creative Campus approach to scale. The principles of academic engagement and working with a wide variety of disciplines across the UI campus now guide our programming decisions. We constantly question how our residencies can reach deeper into academic life and develop connections with less obvious campus partners. We are actively looking for opportunities to directly support the UI strategic plan and to develop projects that relate to campus-wide initiatives.
A large project with multiple facets, held together by a common theme, is a powerful device to bring disparate parts of campus together. Continuing to produce large, campus-wide projects is a key element in taking this to scale. We imagine that each year we will develop multiple projects of varying size. Some may relate to short artist residencies, while others will likely be long-term residences that take place over many years and include the development of new work. In order to have the widest impact and to engage a broad cross section of students and faculty, these projects must connect to the UI’s strategic plan as well as current themes and priorities. They must complement and integrate into programmatic areas of interest across the UI, which are led by the Provost’s Office.
We are currently involved in initiatives to address two of the major challenges we face in working across the campus. We are working to:
- develop new strategies to raise awareness of Hancher’s academic role across the UI campus by building relationships with faculty; and
- train faculty members to integrate Hancher programming into their curricula in order to foster deeper engagement in the course.
Hancher has convened a six-member faculty advisory committee charged with suggesting strategies to raise awareness about Hancher’s academic role. They are actively pursuing advocacy activities that include integrating Hancher information into established communication structures like meetings of deans and faculty members, departmental emails, and newsletters. The committee will also suggest ways to connect Hancher programming to current UI themes and priorities, such as immigration, aging in the heartland, and public humanities. More faculty members will be engaged in the committee’s work as it continues over the course of the 2010-11 academic year.
The UI Center for Teaching is a particularly important partner in this project. The Center’s mission is to promote and support efforts to enhance instruction at the UI and they have long been advocates for incorporating Hancher into academics. They assist in developing the teaching skills of faculty through professional development programs and work to strengthen the culture of teaching on campus.
The Center and Hancher will partner to present a ½-day Faculty Workshop in February 2011. The workshop will provide a forum for faculty members to explore how their courses can engage students in a wide variety of issues through the performing arts with a focus on designing coursework relating to a major artist residency in 2011-12. The workshop will be jointly facilitated by an expert in university instructional design and the lead artist in the 2011-12 residency. Institute participants will be required to specifically design courses to incorporate artists presented by Hancher.
Working in the context of a major research university with a vibrant academic environment will always present opportunities for Hancher to collaborate with new partners, explore fascinating ideas, enrich the lives of students, and work with inspiring artists.