Professor Mary Stewart has now completed the first week of a two-week Fulbright project in Toronto. Working with Acting Dean Mark Jones and Art Fundamentals Coordinator Phillip Woolf from the School of Creative Arts and Animation at Seneca College, she is helping to plan an intensive three-day educational Generator designed to create connections among colleges and universities throughout Ontario. The initial event will then be followed by pedagogical workshops and presentations at the participating institutions during 2014-2015. She ran workshops, gave lectures, and met with faculty and students.
At Centennial College, she taught a two-dimensional design workshop for faculty and students. At Haliburton School of the Arts, she toured an extensive sculpture park and ran a workshop on team-based learning. Flying roughly 500 miles to the north, she next visited Canadore College and ran a workshop on connections between convergent and divergent thinking. This presentation was repeated at Loyalist College, in Prince Edward County, south of Ottawa.
At Seneca College, Professor Stewart facilitated a discussion of teaching and learning with fourteen students, followed by a Generator brainstorming session with ten faculty members. As the host institution, Seneca will play a leading role in this teaching and learning initiative.
At Sheridan College, she gave a presentation to over fifty highly engaged faculty and students on connections between creative and critical thinking, followed by a presentation on twenty-first century approaches to Art Fundamentals.
The visit to Ontario College of Art and Design University focused on meeting leaders at various levels and on exploring the multiple buildings and incubator programs of this “university of the imagination.” The week ended with a tour of George Brown College and a lively brainstorming session with a dozen faculty members. This downtown Toronto college is home of the Institute without Boundaries, a Toronto-based studio that works towards collaborative design action and seeks to achieve social, ecological and economic innovation. Next week will be devoted to visits in other areas in central and eastern Ontario.
This will be a two-part visit. The first two weeks (October 21-November 4) will be devoted to lectures and meetings with administrators and staff from various schools and colleges of art and design. By the end of the first visit, a well-developed plan for a May 2014 teaching and learning conference will be in place. The second two weeks (April 21-May 4) will be devoted to preparations for and implementation of the conference itself.
Professor Stewart will provide an in-depth analysis of the first-year program at Seneca College, as well as an more general analysis of curricula of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) universities and colleges for comparison and differentiation. She will identify the distinctive mission and delivery of each institution and propose ways to strengthen both. Areas of shared interest and potential collaboration among institutions will also be highlighted.
Shortly after the conclusion of the second visit, she will provide a debrief and publish an Executive Summary that reflects the highlights of the forum and the next steps to be taken in terms of planning on-going continuity.
The initial conference (April 30, May 1 and May 2) will serve as a teaching and learning pilot project, with additional events planned for 2015 and 2016.
PROJECTED ACTIVITIES DURING THIS FELLOWSHIP INCLUDE:
Seneca College is investigating using a Canadian National Centre of Excellence (NSE) model to develop a best practices hub dedicated to teaching applied creativity. This process will be initiated through a conference that brings together four local universities (Ryerson, University of Toronto, York University, Ontario College of Art and Design) and five local colleges (Seneca, Sheridan, Humber, George Brown, Centennial) in the Greater Toronto Area.
I am finishing up a very busy and very productive Fulbright visit to Ontario, Canada. Working with my hosts at Seneca College in Toronto plus faculty and administration at art and design colleges throughout the province, I am developing plans for a series of three teaching and learning conferences (2014, 2015, 2016). The first, scheduled for April 30-May 2, has a working title of “Creating Minds for the Future.” It will include breakout groups, plenary presentations, digital media workshops and case histories.
To develop this project, my primary host, Phillip Woolf and I have visited eight institutions in Ontario. Of particular note are Sheridan and Seneca Colleges (both leaders in Animation), George Brown College (with its Institute without Boundaries), and Ontario College of Art and Design University (with its “Take It To Market” creative business incubator program) and Loyalist and Canadore Colleges (both of which integrate radio and television production with graphic design). Connections between educational and professional pursuits are emphasized at all of the colleges, while Canadian universities focus more on pure research.
Working with Phillip, I gave a presentation on divergent and convergent thinking at all except one site, and met with many faculty and administrators. In most cases, the work being done here is really stimulating. I’ve had very little time for sightseeing or tourism. Nonetheless, I did make it to Art Toronto, an international art fair (see photo of sculpture), the Royal Ontario Museum (terrific dinosaur and mineral displays), and the very colorful Kensington Market, with open-air vendors, bakeries and street musicians.
The Fulbright I’m on is called the Senior Specialist program. In this category, I can visit up to two countries over a five-year period, for up to seven weeks per visit. In Canada, I will be visiting twice, for two weeks each time. Because there is no category for ART, I applied as an educator, and was accepted into this program several years ago. I look forward to returning home next week, and catching up on some sleep! Best wishes!