At our year-end faculty meetings, we spent some time talking about our Mission, and whether or not it still reflects what we’re trying to do with our students. What started to bubble up in the discussion was how important creativity is in our every-day lives at MacDuffie. Creativity is embedded in the pillars of “Intellectual Habits of Mind” (creative thinking is an important habit to be learned and practiced) , “High Ethical Standards” (we teach values, and one of our six CIRCLE values is Creativity), and “Respect for Diversity” (what is creativity if not diversity of approach and thought?). However, the question has been raised as to whether creativity should be elevated to the status of a pillar unto itself.
Describing creativity often leads to a riddle wrapped in a conundrum. This juxtaposition of what creativity looks like is captured well by Scott Barry Kaufmann in his article on creative people (http://www.creativitypost.com/psychology/creative_people_are). However, creativity is viewed as perhaps one of the main elements of an American Education. Dr. Marvin Bartel argues (https://people.goshen.edu/~marvinpb/arted/tc.html) that creative thinking is a habit that can be taught and practiced, which echoes the thinking on intellectual habits of mind that I have shared previously.
Our role as a school is to do our best to foster creative thinking in our students. It’s why we have a rigorous Arts requirement for our graduates, and it’s why creativity is one of our CIRCLE values. It’s also why our teachers, across all disciplines, challenge students to come up with creative solutions, and to think critically.
Our energies are focused on building an Arts Complex for MacDuffie, which I have recently been referring to as our “Creativity Center” (Why do the Arts get to have all the fun?) In the near future we will be doing something to explore what the intersection of creativity and leadership look like, with the purpose of creating a space for this endeavor in our new building. Is it entrepreneurship? Is it something else? We don’t know yet, but we’d love to hear some creative responses!