WAA: Writing and the Arts

By Molly Keane-Sexton

After a decade run, the Writing and the Arts Integrated Learning-Living Community (WAA) had a wonderful final year. Students started the term with a campus tour of art spaces hosted by Brian LaDuca, the Director of the Institute of Arts Nexus (IAN) at ArtStreet; Dr. Michelle Hayford, the Director of the Theater Program; and Dr. Judith Huacuja, the Chair of the Department of Art and Design.  

At IAN at ArtStreet, students experienced the work of the Collaboration Accelerator 2.0 Project of The Institute of Applied Creativity (IACT). The summer projected partnered UD students with three area employers: the Air Force Research Laboratory to utilize unmanned aircraft-systems technology in a way that serves the public good, the UD Research Institute to demonstrate additive manufacturing’s ability to reduce our energy footprint, and Emerson Technologies to ask the questions what is connectivity and why do people want to connect? The WAA students experienced watching futuristic EMT drones in action, the vertical gardens growing food, and the concept of connectivity to drive creativity.

In Fitz Hall, Dr. Hayford led a wonderful tour of the Department of Theater introducing students to professors Linda Dunlevy and Jerome York.  Students also met the Costume Designer and Lecturer Donna Beran and saw the amazing Costume Room. In Fitz, we toured the Dance Studio, the Black Box Theater, and met Dr. Heather MacLachlan of the Department of Music, who introduced us to a room-sized Indonesian instrument -- the Gamelan. Students then explored the Visual Arts and Design space, where Dr. Huacuja held a welcoming reception for them in the Gallery, while the faculty art exhibit in view. This was a great way to begin the year.

This year, the WAA was part of the Kearn Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) through the School of Engineering. As such, the students explored the concepts of curiosity, connections, and creating value. Students researched and completed projects about current problems and creative solutions, including ocean debris filters by David Swanson, earth-friendly packaging by Bridget Warneka, and educational reform by Amanda Verhoff.

The students also participated in the Collegiate Learning Assessment Plus (CLA+), which assesses critical thinking. One hundred percent of the WAA participated, earning them a pancake breakfast sponsored by the Dean’s Office of the College of Arts and Sciences. Throughout the term, students also enjoyed many interactive exhibits at ArtStreet in the White Box Theater Space and attended ArtsLive Events. The WAA students, along with the entire first-year class, also attended the 2016 Arts Immersion Experience: The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, a Dayton Philharmonic performance at the Schuster Center.  It was a wonderful year. Thanks to all who helped with the WAA over the last decade. What an incredible experience working with such wonderful students, educators, and artists.

Molly Keane-Sexton, ‘95, ‘02

WAA Coordinator

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