I teach courses and workshops in creativity, counselling, integrative psychology, expressive arts therapies, and related themes. My courses are designed for learner engagement, purposeful play, and intentional self-development. My approach is experiential: I don’t lecture much, I support learner initiative and experimentation, and I am particularly interested in ways of integrating personal and professional development. I support learner-designed projects, individualized curriculum, and group experiences. I believe in the power of education as a transformative force.
The Interdisciplinary Expressive Arts courses that I teach at Kwantlen Polytechnic University are good examples of my approach. IDEA courses ask foundational questions and pursue meaningful answers. Through learner-designed projects, individualized curriculum, purposeful play, and many other innovative approaches, IDEA courses create collaborative learning environments in which learners discover their own paths and purposes. We build communities of real inquiry, creative engagement, and personal development within and beyond the classroom. We promote university experiences that are reflective, individualized, and joyful. We recognize that beneath academic cultures and traditions lies the authentic search for knowledge, wisdom, and personal connection. IDEA courses support that search and encourage learners to follow it — wherever it may lead.
IDEA courses focus on the integration of personal and professional development. Using creative methods, experiential learning, outdoor trips, self-awareness practices, cultural immersion, learner-built content, and many other approaches, IDEA courses offer a single lens that moves across all domains of knowledge.
IDEA courses integrate three core values: self-awareness, empathy, and character. Self-awareness is what we know — about ourselves, our interests, our capacities. Empathy is what we feel — toward others, toward the state of our world, toward nature. Character is what we do with our self-awareness and our empathy. Awareness, emotion, behavior. Or, to put it another way: being, feeling, doing. These represent the core of IDEA: the whole enterprise of teaching and learning rendered down to the alchemy between three foundational parts of ourselves. In IDEA courses, all disciplines are one discipline: the search for self-awareness, empathy, and character.
In the IDEA classroom, students build an integrative and engaging learning environment. We explore many forms of creativity, we learn to facilitate and lead our interpersonal and creative process, and we examine our personal strengths and vulnerabilities. The IDEA environment is collaborative. We build upon the individual strengths of each participant to discover the quality and integrity of our learning community. IDEA courses are built by learners and for learners. With self-awareness, empathy, and character development as the foundations of our curriculum and learning environment — with both learners and instructors grounded in these values — we construct communities of real inquiry, creative engagement, and personal development.
Learners in IDEA win awards, earn scholarships, present at conferences, and consistently demonstrate leadership in academic life and beyond. The engaging environment of IDEA — with its focus on the integration of personal and professional development — provides exemplary opportunities for learners to develop the skills necessary to achieve outstanding results in whatever they pursue. (In 2012, four of the finalists for — including the winner of — the Dean’s Medal in the Faculty of Arts were IDEA students.)
In IDEA courses, students from all disciplines talk about and work on the things that matter. We grow as people, we get to know each other at a level that is unusual in the Kwantlen experience, and our ties extend past the posting of final grades. IDEA courses attract the kind of students who are prone to being engaged and involved citizens.
IDEA 1100, Interdisciplinary Foundations
What’s the point of university? Why are we here? What should we do? This course explores these questions through the lens of interdisciplinary inquiry and creativity. Led by the initiatives and interests of learners, the course includes a diverse number of current interdisciplinary approaches to help learners ask — and answer, in their own ways — questions about purpose, meaning, and direction. University is the first step toward lifelong learning. We should take that step with clarity, mindfulness, and a sense of creative joy.
IDEA 3301, Mythological Narratives
Mythological Narratives is a course that explores the fundamental role of storytelling in human culture. Whether those stories derive from popular culture, literature, family, religion, art, business, science, or any of the myriad ways we communicate with one another, stories are always at the core of who we are. Stories define us, they challenge us to move forward. Examining our own stories — where they come from, what they mean, what they demand of us — is a path of deep meaning and fulfilment. This course helps us find that path and follow it.
IDEA 3302, Creativity and Leadership in Groups
Working creatively with groups is immensely rewarding and uniquely challenging, requiring of the facilitator a particular blend of professional skills and self-awareness that develops only through practice and experiment. This course offers learners a path for developing these skills, through exposure to a wide spectrum of both theoretical and experiential approaches to group work and creativity. In this course, learners discover what authentic leadership means and how to cultivate it.
IDEA 4100, Interdisciplinary Expressive Arts 2 (The Creativity Course)
This course includes a diverse number of current interdisciplinary approaches within the expressive arts: creative writing, music, movement, visual arts, theatre, storytelling, mythopoetics, photography, etc. In this course learners apply many creative practices and discover — or rediscover — the foundational role of purposeful play and creativity in the human experience.
Upcoming in Summer 2013: Travel to the Amazon with IDEA
Drift down the river, searching for dolphins along the shore. Meet with a shaman practicing ancient forms of spirituality. Experience tribal cultures and arts. Hike through the rain forest and experience its incredible ecology. Join us for this unique adventure with IDEA in June 2013.