By: Colleen Alexis Metzger, costumes editor, USITT Creative Teaching Archive
I taught Costume Design for seven semesters straight and wanted to mix things up. I am the costumes editor for the USITT Creative Teaching Archive and was reviewing a submission for a “Life-Size Costume Timeline” where students create giant historical costumes on tracings of their own bodies using colored tissue paper. As soon as I read the submission I was mentally adapting the project for my own Costume Design course. What an engaging way to make my costume history segment more hands-on!
For theatre professors, building classes is time-consuming and never-ending. Whether trying to infuse new life in a class that’s been taught semester after semester for the last 20 years, or teaching a class for the very first time, hearing classroom ideas from fellow theatre practitioners is always appreciated. And the USITT Creative Teaching Archive allows academics to do just that – this archive showcases innovative ideas that professors can use to create a brand-new course or update an established one.
The Creative Teaching Archive collects and disseminates a multitude of ideas for theatre professors, from ten-minute in-class projects to multi-day projects to large-scale projects that span most of a semester. Some contributors even outline entire courses! In addition to posting unique class projects, the website also contains syllabi and rubrics, also helpful when building a brand-new course.
Peruse the site, here! Visitors to the site will notice that while right now there are several engaging projects listed for each area of interest (scenic, costumes, lighting, etc.) the site is still being developed and needs contributions.
Contributing to the Creative Teaching Archive is especially valuable for anyone polishing their Curriculum Vital as they prepare for promotion or tenure. Submissions are vetted by a blind jury, peer-reviewed, and — if selected — published online in the USITT archive (please note that rubrics and syllabi are simply published, but not blind juried or peer-reviewed). This means that anyone who submits a Creative Teaching idea can add a peer-reviewed publication to their CV! And each Creative Teaching submission is a project the author has already created and tested in a classroom of students — every theatre professor reading this could contribute a Creative Teaching idea right now.
There is so much potential for this site and hopefully, contributions will continue to roll in. Help the Creative Teaching Archive continue to grow — consider submitting an idea and look over the existing contributions to find fresh inspiration for your classes!