By Katherine Coble || News Editor
On Saturday, January 27, Franklin & Marshall College hosted the Creativity & Innovation Symposium. The annual event is in its second year at F&M and involved students, parents, alumni, and faculty.
The symposium specifically centered on the Creativity, Innovation and Design course offered by the College last fall. The course was co-taught by five professors and one staff member: Etienne Gagnon of the physics department, Dan Ardia of the biology department, English professor Kerry Sherin Wright, Bryan Stinchfield from the business department, film professor Dirk Eitzen, and Teb Locke, the director of ITS on campus. Last summer the College arranged for all of them to study at Stanford University’s famous School of Design Thinking to re-examine education and integrate creativity into their curriculum.
The result of this trip was the Creativity, Innovation and Design course, a team-taught interdisciplinary course with 18 students split into six groups. Each group was partnered with a nonprofit organization in the Lancaster area. The students worked with these organizations to identify issues and test solutions. The curriculum ranged from guest lectures about entrepreneurship to homework assignments such as “Make a table.” At the end of the semester, all of the students presented their work to an audience that included members of the F&M and Lancaster community.
This course was one of just many programs at F&M highlighted during the Creativity & Innovation Symposium. The event was hosted by the founder and CEO of the public relations firm Skai Blue Media, Rakia Reynolds. The agenda of the symposium included a keynote talk by Reynolds, a series of breakout sessions, and a speech by the CEO of Curemark and a College Trustee, Joan Fall ‘79, about how to better mentor young innovators.
One of the breakout sessions was hosted soccer coach Dan Wagner and was titled “The F&M Soccer Africa Project – Using Sport for Development.” F&M’s Soccer Africa Project has existed for eleven years and was created by Wagner. Every year, Diplomat soccer teams travel to Africa to run sessions about HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention in addition to hosting soccer clinics. The goal of the program is to increase international cultural understanding and instill leadership skills in players.
Another session at the symposium was a game stimulation hosted by Dr. Allison Kibler, a professor of Women’s Studies and American Studies at the College. The session was called “Slavery, Political Violence and Justice: Was Abolitionist John Brown Justified in Taking up Arms Against Slavery in 1859?” and Professor Kibler served as the game facilitator. Kibler is well-known for incorporating such simulations into her Introduction to American Studies courses.
The symposium was a celebration of creativity and innovative programs at F&M, which have undoubtedly increased in recent years at the College. The symposium will likely occur for a third time next year with new programs and courses being highlighted. The College is expected to remain on the forefront of educational innovation in the future.
Sophomore Katherine Coble is the news editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.