Dr. Jean Creighton to receive 2021 CIM Grant

The UWM Physics Department would like to congratulate Dr. Jean Creighton, director of the Manfred Olson Planetarium, for receiving a 2021 Curriculum Innovation Grant from the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center for her proposal Communicating the Universe: Integrating design-thinking in a transdisciplinary course to support learning in Physics and Theatre. This support is being provided as part of the LEC Curriculum Innovation Grant Program designed to foster a larger community of UWM faculty, instructors and staff who are integrating themes of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship into their courses. This award is being made in parallel with a similar award to Dr. Robin Mello to foster their collaborative work. This award is made possible by support from the Uihlein Trust Fund in support of research and innovation at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The goal of the program is to expand the umbrella of Ideas Challenge Courses in order to expose more UWM students to innovation and entrepreneurship. The program supports two tracks:(1) ideas for individual course instruction from an individual and (2) ideas for new/existing courses requiring co-instruction from a pair of instructors. The expected outcomes of each grant is new curriculum – either embedded into an existing course, or a brand-new course. This proposal will be for the development of a new course – Communicating the Universe.

This project aims to further develop the lessons learned from the Tale of Scale project; a curricular pilot research project developed by Dr. Jean Creighton, Director of the UWM Planetarium, and Dr. Robin Mello, Professor and Chair of Theatre. Communicating the Universe focuses on the intersections of science, design-thinking, and the performing arts; domains that, when brought together, support student learning in performative and imaginative ways. The premise is that, by engaging students in collaborative design-teams, (in Theatre this is known as a “devising ensemble”), they will become more resilient and less resistant to novel ideas. The students will be encouraged to participate collaboratively through group problem solving, devising, storytelling, and ‘outside the box’ thinking, while team teaching will allow the students better access to the interdisciplinary expertise of the instructors. The final goal of this course is the creation of student-created authentic public programs that communicate science in accessible and meaningful ways.

For more information about the grant process, please see Lubar Entrepreneurship Center website.