Freshman Arts Discovery Courses Cross Disciplines

With Associate Dean of the Fine and Applied Arts Mike Ross’s leadership and the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s initiative on Cultural Understanding and the Creative Process, UIUC’s Discovery Program in the Arts is now in its second year.  Freshman are invited each term to enroll in FAA 199 Art | Creativity | Diversity, sections of which are taught by top interdisciplinary faculty teams from across the University.

This Fall, for example, four sections are offered, with Patricia Knowles (Dance) and Lawrence Schook (Institute for Genomic Biology) for section A, Kevin Hamilton (Art and Design) and Ned O’Gorman (Communication) for section B, Matthew Hart (English) and LeAnne Howe (English/American Indian Studies) for section C, and Sharon Irish (Architecture) and Leslie Reagan (History/Medicine) for section D. Discovery sections regularly invite in guest lecturers and travel out to venues on campus  to experience campus activities and events (lectures, installations, performances).

eDreamers are enthusiastically supporting this program. During the program’s first year, eDream’s Associate Director for Research, Guy Garnett, team-taught a section. This semester, Director Donna Cox is serving as a guest lecturer for Pat Knowles and Larry Schook’s section. Donna is presenting on scientific visualization and its importance for scientific discovery and public education.  Course co-teacher Larry Schook recently “led the international pig genome sequencing project, which has produced a draft of the pig genome” (UIUC News).

The First-Year Discovery Program, which provides the rationale and foundation for this latest arts-oriented version, was established fifteen years ago by the Office of the Provost.

— Kelly Searsmith