STEM Student Learning Goals: Creativity

C. Stories and interviews from the field– creativity as a student learning goal

The with "creativity" interview with Tori Haring-Smith, President of Washington and Jefferson College, is a challenge to take seriously the increasing national attention to student learning goals. “We can no longer simply say the student didn’t get it. We need to think about whether we did enough to establish an environment in which the student was able to get it. And that’s a whole different way of thinking. ...Because most of us teach the way we were taught, it’s very difficult to break out of that established pattern. But if we can get faculty instead to teach the way they act as scholars, it leads to a completely different approach.”

The “creativity” interview with Debbie Chachra and Mark Somerville of the Franklin W. Olin School of Engineering brings an image to mind of students whose very actions validate definitions of what it makes to be creative, as defined by Robert Harris, Introduction to Creative Thinking (1998).

Creativity as:

  • an ability: A simple definition is that creativity is the ability to imagine or invent something new.
  • an attitude: Creativity is also an attitude: the attitude to accept change and newness, a willingness to play with ideas and possibilities, a flexibility of outlook, the habit of enjoying the good, while looking for ways to improve it.
  • a process: Creative people work hard and continually to improve ideas and solutions, by making gradual alterations and refinements to their work.