Ohio State University: Lessons Learned
Our plan for including many academic partners in our research and classroom discussion process was quite ambitious, and the difficulties of sustaining engagement over multiple academic quarters proved challenging due to changing class structures.
Shifts in the focus of the Builders Association during their creative process, as well as unforeseen but required shifts in their schedule and scope of some of their creative residency time on campus, also proved difficult for some areas of our academic partners to remain on track.Â However, the deep engagement of the architecture class and graduate students from the dedicated theatre cohort, and the sense of theatre and performing arts having a viable role in the academic and community life of a large university were important outcomes.Â In the end, the greatest areas of academic impact resulted from capitalizing on the enthusiasm of particular faculty partners to spur greater involvement of their students, as well as the self-motivation of certain students who felt that the productionâ€™s themes or sophisticated stagecraft resonated with their own interests to a high degree.
Cross disciplinary support for performing arts can lead to perceptual shifts among all involved and reinforce the value of cross-disciplinary learning opportunities which is of increasing importance in higher education.Â These shifts can range from small insights to profound change; likely, none of these shifts would have occurred had the process for the production not included the wide ranging cross-disciplinary/cross-departmental focus designed at the outset of our project.
The scope of this project was such that key participants engaging deeply were appropriate for the sake of the production and the process.Â In addition, we also directly experienced the impact of changes in leadership within our academic partners that affected the course of our project.Â Over the course of our project, we learned that more is not always better.Â Breadth and depth both come with a cost of personnel time, focus, and management.Â We also discovered how deeply rewarding it can be for artists to open their process to material derived from campus and community interaction that can take them in unexpected directions that ultimately contribute to making stronger work on stage.