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Thr 180 The Creative Process




“In the creative process, one action leads to another, and the final outcome is shaped by a chain of expressions that could never be planned in advance.” – Shaun McNiff


Classroom: South Halsey 212
Meeting Time: TR 9:40 – 11:10am


Instructor: Dr. Bryan M. Vandevender
Office Location: Arts & Communication West 120
Office Hours: TR 11:30am-12:30pm & by appointment


  • Kaufman, Moisés. The Laramie Project. New York: Dramatists Play Service, 2001.
  • Kleon, Austin. Steal Like an Artist. New York: Workman, 2012.
  • Marnich, Melanie. These Shining Lives. New York: Dramatists Play Service, 2000.
  • Reza, Yasmina. Art. New York: Dramatists Play Service, 1999.
  • Smith, Anna Deavere. Fires in the Mirror. New York: Dramatist Play Service, 1992.
  • Tharp, Twyla. The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use it for Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006.
  • Additional documents can be accessed via Polk Library’s Electronic Reserves or D2L



  • Backlot Improv / September 18 / Backlot Comedy House (424 North Main Street) 
  • Oshkosh Gallery Walk / October 3 / Downtown Oshkosh
  • UW Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra / October 20 / Arts & Communication Music Hall
  • These Shining Lives / November 19-22 / Fredric March Theatre



This course explores the nature of creativity. It will attempt to expand your awareness, stimulate your imagination, and encourage your own freedom of artistic expression. The course will focus on increasing your observation skills and visual literacy, your knowledge of self, and your overall creative confidence. It will also address how creative endeavors are born of and/or engage in civic concerns. The course will combine lectures, readings, viewings, reflective writing, online discussion, and both individual and ensemble performances. Together, we will develop an understanding and appreciation for a variety of creative processes. We will also learn to use the language of the various arts so that you might at once be an artist and a critic of art.



  • To describe creative process broadly utilizing a variety of aesthetic, social and cultural approaches.
  • To analyze a variety of artistic works and the processes that were used to create them
  • To explore, develop, and describe your personal creative process.
  • To critically assess and evaluate a variety of artistic works in both written and spoken discourse.
  • To identify and explicate the major tenets of civic engagement.
  • To develop a civic imagination and an awareness of the ways one’s identity is connected to inherited and self-chosen communities.
  • To collaborate with your peers in the planning and execution of civically engaged art.
  • To cultivate effective written and oral communication skills



The University Studies Program (USP) is your gateway into a 21st century college education at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.  This Quest I course is the first in a series of courses you will take to introduce you to the campus and all it has to offer, the vibrant Oshkosh community, and the challenges and opportunities of academic life as you pursue a liberal education.  In these courses, you will be exposed to three “signature questions” that are central to a UW Oshkosh education:

  • How do people understand and engage in community life?
  • How do people understand and create a more sustainable world?
  • How do people understand and bridge cultural differences?

The Quest classes are designed to provide a solid foundation for the rest of your education here, no matter what major you choose. For further information about the unique general education at UW Oshkosh, visit the University Studies Program website at



“How do people understand and engage in community life?”

Civic knowledge consists of an awareness and understanding of the various political and social processes that impact the nature and quality of life in local, state, national, or global communities.  It also encompasses the cultivation of skills that may be useful in public life, like effective communication and ethical reasoning.  Civic engagement means having an appreciation for and applying the values gained from civic knowledge in real world settings, directed at improving the quality of life in the communities of which one is a part.  Civic knowledge and civic engagement emphasize learning, reflection, and action in order to create better communities.



Liberal Education is an approach to learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. It provides students with broad knowledge of the wider world (e.g. science, culture, and society) as well as in-depth study in a specific area of interest. A liberal education helps students develop a sense of social responsibility, as well as strong and transferable intellectual and practical skills such as communication, analytical and problem-solving skills, and a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings. In approaching our signature question, we will use the creative process as a tool for understanding self, relationships, and as a means of making ourselves more adept at critical thinking, conflict resolution and cooperative methods.  The importance of creativity in society is well documented and understanding the role it plays in society contributes to the development of well-rounded citizens. What we refer to as the arts—music, theatre, dance, literature, and all of the various visual arts—are most effectively employed when they are built on a broad base of knowledge that extends beyond skills-based training. Exploring this knowledge in the laboratory of the classroom and learning how to apply it to real world settings is an aim not only of this course, but also of liberal education in general.

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Due Dates

700 Points Possible

Creative Project One

Week Seven


Creative Project Two

Week Eleven


Course E-Presentation

Week Seventeen


Performance Attendance (4)

Throughout Semester


Creative Project Proposals (2)

Throughout Semester


Self-Reflection Drafts (2)

Throughout Semester


Online Discussion Board (8)

Throughout Semester



Throughout Semester



A: 700-651

B: 608-581

C: 538-511

A-: 650-630

B-: 580-560

C-: 510-490

B+: 629-609

C+: 559-539

D: 481-420

F: 420-0


This Web-Enhanced Course will be supported by D2L:

What to Expect from a Web-Enhanced Course: This course is designed to meet both face-to-face and virtually.  It is essential that you consult the course site throughout the week to access course announcements, engage in online discussions, submit assignments, check grades, etc. All course documents—syllabus, rubrics, assignment guidelines and such—are posted there.

What the Instructor and Your Peers Expect from You: By enrolling in this course, you have agreed to contribute to weekly discussions by accessing the online discussion board regularly. This will require a team effort, with respect and help for each other, as we build a community of learners. I also expect that you will have a foundational understanding of Internet terms and functions.

What You May Expect from the Instructor: I will monitor email no less than once a day and respond to messages within 24 to 48 hours, facilitate online discussions, and help build a learning community, both online and in our classroom.

Help Available: If you are having any technical difficulties (e.g., logging in, accessing the discussion board) please visit,, email, or contact the Learn@UW Help Desk toll free at 888-435-7589.


  • ATTENDANCE: Because of the nature of the coursework, which is interactive, participatory, and collaborative, regular and prompt attendance is not only expected, but will be crucial to your success in this class. Many viewing assignments will only occur during formal class meetings. More than two unexcused absences will drop your final grade one level per absence: 3 absences will drop an A to an A-; 4 will drop an A to a B+; 5 will drop an A to a B; 6 will drop an A to a B- and so on. Absences may be excused only in circumstances that are extraordinary and documented—serious illness, family death or medical emergency. Out of town travel, unless for a medical reason, is not excused. Absences due to a college-related activity or competition are also not excused. To excuse an absence, please bring me appropriate documentation as soon as possible after the absence; then we will discuss the necessity of makeup assignments for anything you may have missed.  Excessive absences, for any reason, are a problem, and any student who is not able to attend class regularly will be advised to drop. Remember that your attendance will not only affect your own work, but also you classmates’ work as well.
  • TARDINESS: While some instances of tardiness cannot be helped, chronic lateness is disruptive and disrespectful. As our time together is limited, class will begin promptly at 9:40am. If you are more than fifteen minutes late, you will be marked as absent.

  • PARTICIPATION: As creative endeavor entails doing, active participation is required. Active participation means arriving to class on time with the appropriate assignments read or written, contributing to class discussion, maintaining a positive attitude, focusing on the task at hand, asking questions, and trying everything to the best of your ability. Bear in mind that 20% of your final grade goes to participation. You will begin the semester with 150 participation points. I reserve the right to deduct participation points if I feel that you are not participating to the best of your ability. Talking or being disruptive during class, doing other homework, text messaging or using any electronic devices during class, coming to class unprepared, and refusing to participate in assignments/discussion will automatically result in a loss of ten participation points per instance—no questions asked.
  • GRADING/DUE DATES: Written assignments are due at the start of class on the due date or via D2L Dropbox by 4:00pm on the due date. Work received at 4:01pm or later is considered late. Late written work will be subject to a 10 % grade reduction for each class period the assignment is late. If you have an unexcused absence on the day of a performance, your grade for that project will also receive a 10 % reduction per class period until the performance has been made-up. Rubrics will be used to assess both your performances and writing assignments, and are available for your perusal on our course D2L site. Performance grades will reflect your own individual development, participation and improvement. Assignment grades will be posted on our D2L site for your perusal. If you have any questions regarding grading or a grade for a particular assignment, please schedule an appointment to speak with me during office hours. Questions about a specific grade must be posed to me within 72 hours of the grade distribution. Please follow your progress on the D2L site throughout the term. Once final grades have been posted on TitanWeb, they are final and will only be changed due to legitimate, clerical errors.
  • WRITTEN REFLECTIONS: While this course is primarily a workshop, you will occasionally be required to reflect upon your own work in writing. These assignments will be used to assess your comprehension of the central course concepts and are in lieu of additional tests or reading quizzes. While this is not a writing intensive course, it is a university level course and you will be expected to record your thoughts and observations cogently and clearly in writing and to respond to writing prompts thoughtfully and critically. You will receive a preliminary grade on your self-reflection assignments and will have the opportunity to revise and expand them before you submit your final E-Portfolio. Please see our course D2L site for additional information about written assignments and expectations for writing assignments.
  • ONLINE DISCUSSION BOARD: You will be required to contribute to online discussions via the Discussion Board on D2L during at least seven weeks of the semester. You will be given a topic/question in class on select Tuesdays to discuss with your classmates during the course of the week. A discussion assignment is worth ten points. In order to be eligible to receive all ten points, you must post at least one discussion thread of your own and respond to two of your classmates' threads by 4:00pm on Monday. Late postings will not receive credit. Please see our course D2L site for grading rubrics and additional information related to the Discussion Board.

  • RREQUIRED ATTENDANCE: You will be required to see These Shining Lives in the Fredric March Theatre and an improvisation performance at the Backlot Comedy House. Tickets for These Shining Lives are available at the Fredric March Theatre Box Office or by calling 424-4417. You can also purchase tickets online at <>. There is a chance that performances will sell out, so please purchase your tickets early. You will have a written assignment attached to the performance; therefore, you will need to see the performance in order to complete the assignment. There is no excuse for missing a performance. If you fear that you might have a problem attending a performance, please speak to me as soon as possible. Please submit your program to receive credit for attendance. Tickets for the Backlot Comedy House must be purchased in person. You may reserve tickets online at <>.

  • PEER MENTOR: As part of this course, you will have access to an upper-class student to help guide you on your Quest. The peer mentor will attend campus events with us, answer questions you have about UW Oshkosh, and help you with MAP-Works. Our mentor is Kalina Udell and you can reach her at
  • USP E-PORTFOLIO: As you move through your courses at UW Oshkosh, you will archive your learning in an e-portfolio. The e-portfolio can be found in D2L. The e-portfolio will help you keep track of papers, speeches, reports, projects, and other assignments in your Quest and Explore courses, so that you can see your progress and connect ideas across different classes. You can continue to use this portfolio in your major classes, so that you are ready for your Capstone course or experience as you near graduation. You can also use the e-portfolio after you graduate to show evidence of your learning to potential employers or graduate schools. In this course (and in all your USP courses), a specific assignment has been designated to be uploaded to your e-portfolio. More details will follow in class.
  • COURSE E-PRESENTATION: Throughout the course of the semester, you will gather and create artifacts that document your creative process. These artifacts can include proposals, written self-reflections, video recordings of rehearsals or performances, or any other relevant materials that inspired or informed your work—articles, images, videos, or songs. You will organize and present these materials (to both me and your classmates) in the form of an e-presentation presentation. You will utilize the e-portfolio platform available through D2L for this project. The e-presentation assignment is intended for you to demonstrate what you have learned about creativity and how your thinking about your own creative process has evolved. Please see our course D2L site for grading rubrics and additional information related to the e-portfolio assignment.
  • EARLY ALERT GRADES: Early Alert is a program that provides you with an Early Grade Report from faculty. Early Grade Reports will indicate if you have academic performance or attendance issues and specific steps you can take and resources available to help you improve. It is common for students to be unaware of or over-estimate their academic performance in classes so this will help you be aware early on of your progress and provide strategies for success in the classroom. You will receive an email during the 5th week of classes. It is important to read the entire email carefully.
  • MAP-WORKS: MAP-Works (Making Achievement Possible Works) is a survey that is all about you. You will receive an email from inviting you to take the survey. Advisors, hall directors, instructors and many other people on campus will use this information to help you be successful and to provide you with what you need. You will receive a report with suggestions on how achieve your goals; please review it. Please bring your MAP-Works survey report with you to class as after you have completed it.
  • DISABILITY ACCOMMODATION POLICY: If you need accommodations because of a disability, have emergency medical information to share with me, or need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please inform me—both in person and in writing—immediately. See me privately after class, or at my office. To request academic accommodations (a note taker, for example) students must also register with Disability Services. For other resources for students with disabilities, visit
  • ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: Academic honesty is fundamental to the activities and principles of a university. All members of the academic community must be confident that each person's work has been responsibly and honorably acquired, developed, and presented. Any effort to gain an advantage not given to all students is dishonest whether or not the effort is successful. The academic community regards breaches of the academic integrity rules as extremely serious matters. Sanctions for such a breach may include academic sanctions from the instructor, including failing the course for any violation, to disciplinary sanctions ranging from probation to expulsion. When in doubt about plagiarism, paraphrasing, quoting, or collaboration, consult the course instructor. Suspected instances of dishonesty will be reported to the Provost. For more information about academic dishonesty, visit
  • INTELLECTUAL PLURALISM: The University community welcomes intellectual diversity and respects student rights. Students who have questions concerning the quality of instruction in this class may address concerns to either the Departmental Chair or Divisional leader All students will have the opportunity to submit an anonymous evaluation of the instructor(s) at the end of the course.
  • COURSE EVALUATIONS: Because I value your feedback and want to be sure the class best meets your educational goals and needs, we will issue both mid-semester course evaluations and end-of-semester course evaluations as well. Both types of course evaluation are anonymous.
  • WITHDRAWL/NO-DROP EXPECTATION: In the event that you decide to withdraw from this course, you will to contact Debbie Gray Patton ( for approval. Please be aware that withdrawing from this course will also require you to withdraw from your designated Quest Writing/Speaking course. The final day to withdraw from this course is October 18.



  • WRITING CENTER: The Writing Center employs specially trained students with a passion for helping their peers become better writers.  The services it offers are many and will help you become a proficient writer.  Appointments are free, confidential, and are at your convenience.  For more information, email:, or visit them at SSC 102, or call 424-1152.
  • POLK LIBRARY/INFORMATION LITERACY: Polk Library offers many professional librarians who can help you find library resources for your research.  Specifically, Ted Mulvey, the Information Literacy Librarian, is available to assist you as you access, evaluate, and use information in University Studies Program classes.  Phone: 424-7329; email:  You may also set up a research advisory session with a librarian at
  • READING STUDY CENTER: The Reading Study Center is an all-university service whose mission is to facilitate the development of efficient college-level learning strategies in students of all abilities.  The center offers strategies for improved textbook study, time management, note taking, test preparation, and test taking.  For more information, email, or visit them in Nursing Ed., room 201, or call 424-1031.
  • CENTER FOR ACADEMIC RESOURCES: The Center for Academic Resources (CAR) provides confidential, free tutoring for students in most undergraduate classes on campus.  CAR is located in the Student Success Center, Suite 102.  Check the Tutor List page on CAR’S website for a list of tutors.  If your course is not listed, click on a link to request one, stop by SSC 102 or call 424-2290.  To schedule a tutoring session, simply email the tutor, let him/her know what class you are seeking assistance in, and schedule a time to meet.



* I’m happy to talk with you about assignments and/or your progress in the course during the office hours listed above.  Please see me to schedule an appointment. Feel free to contact me with questions or concerns at any time.

* Please consult our course D2L site regularly for announcements and updates, especially if you have been absent. All course documents—syllabus, rubrics, assignment guidelines and such—are posted there. Please consult your syllabus first when in doubt about due dates and course policies.

* Please turn off and put away all cell phones, electronic games, CD players, and mp3 players before class starts.

* We will occasionally engage in activities that will require you to move freely around the classroom space. To this end, please wear clothes that will not restrict you movement. Please avoid dresses, tight fitting pants, flip-flops, high heels, hats, sunglasses, etc. For your safety, gum and eating food are not allowed when we engage in these activities.

* Always bear in mind that creating art is always a learning process. You will work closely with your classmates. You will need to give and receive constructive criticism. Everyone’s creativity is welcome. It is important that we applaud and encourage each other’s work. At the same time, constructive criticism is essential and necessary for you to grow as actors. You will be expected to give each other honest and thoughtful feedback. This feedback should be given and taken in the spirit of helping you to improve.

* As this is a college level course, some of the material we consider might be “R-rated.” We are all adults here, so please conduct yourself as such. If you have a question or concern about the appropriateness of any material, please speak with me privately.



This Calendar is Subject to Change



Reading: Syllabus

R 9/10: Performing the Syllabus



Reading: Reza – Art; Kleon – Steal Like an Artist

Viewing: Gerard Puccio – “Creativity as a Life Skill,” Austin Kleon – “Steal Like an Artist”

T 9/15: Discuss Reza; Creative Thinking Exercises

R 9/17: Discuss Kleon & Puccio; Creative Thinking Exercises



Reading: Tharp – Chapters 1-3

T 9/22: Theatre Games & Creative Thinking Exercises; Re-Thinking Failure

R 9/24: Theatre Games & Creative Thinking Exercises; Discuss Tharp



Reading: Tharp – Chapters 4-6

Sign-up for an Individual Conference w/Dr. Vandevender

T 9/29: Improvisation Games/Project One Exercises

R 10/1: Backlot Comedy House Presentation: Improvisation Games



Reading: Tharp – Chapter 7-9

Project One Proposal Due at Individual Conference

T 10/6: Guest Speaker: Emmet Sandberg (Art)

R 10/8: Visit to Allen Priebe Gallery



Reading: Tharp – Chapter 10-12

T 10/13: Guest Speaker: Dr. Stewart Cole (English)

R 10/15: Guest Speaker: Dr. John Mayrose (Music)



T 10/20: Project One Presentations

R 10/22: Project One Presentations



Reading: TBA


T 10/27: The Liberal Arts; Project One Reflection Due (Visit Tim’s Class This Day)

R 10/29: Guest Speaker: Emily Vandevender (Art Institute of Chicago); Project One Reflection Due



D2L Reading: Linda Frye Burnham and Steven Durland – Selections from The Citizen Artist

T 11/3: The Liberal Arts (Continued); Civic Engagement

R 11/5: Discuss The Citizen Artist Readings



D2L Reading: Jan Cohen Cruz – Selections from Radical Street Performance: An International Anthology

Viewing: TBA

T 11/10: Discuss Radical Street Performance Readings

R 11/12: Discuss Radical Street Performance Readings



Reading: Marnich – These Shinging Lives; Kaufman – The Laramie Project,

D2L Reading: Rich Brown – “Mosises Kaufman: The Copulation of Form and Content”

T 11/17: Discuss These Shining Lives

R 11/19: Discuss The Laramie Project and Brown



Reading: Smith – Fires in the Mirror

D2L Reading: Carol Martin & Anna Deavere Smith – “The Word Becomes You: An Interview”

T 11/24: Discuss Fires in the Mirror and Martin/Smith

R 11/26: No Class Meeting – Happy Thanksgiving



T 12/1: Project Two Presentations;

R 12/3: Discuss These Shining Lives Performance



T 12/8: Project Two Reflections Due

R 12/10: TBA



T 12/15: E-Presentation Work Day

R 12/17: Debrief Course; E-Presentation Due





Theatre 180 – Fall 2015

I have read the syllabus for this course. I understand the policies and expectations for Theatre 180 and agree to comply with them. Failure to return this signed page to the instructor by Tuesday, September 29 will result in a loss of ten participation points.


Student Name (Printed): ____________________________________________________________


Student Signature: ________________________________________          Date: _______________

by Alderson, James M last modified Sep 16, 2015 08:35 AM