UN561 Creativity and Human Development
By the time most people have reached the age of 20, they have formed a solid set of beliefs, self-perceptions, values and other mental and personality characteristics. Often these are antithetical to their ability to think creatively. Powerful authorities tend to encourage conformity to a “party line.” To reverse this trend, such adverse qualities must be identified and countermanded.
The best path to becoming a more creative thinker is to become aware of how creativity works. When you do, you cannot help but emulate the process, because consciously and unconsciously, you will want to. This course will help you understand how successfully creative people think, believe and feel. Your job will be to compare yourself to these descriptions, note the ways in which you are like them, and admit the ways in which you are not. You did not become a senior at Boston College without being above average in creativity, as well as intelligence. Therefore you have already made progress toward being a more effective thinker and problem solver.
In this course, you will look at your life retrospectively (up to now) and prospectively (your plan for your future), with a distinct emphasis on what role your level of creative ability has played or will play. These two analyses will be achieved through writing two significant papers. In the first, you will take a hard look at your family relationships, your education (particularly at BC) and your social environment to assess how each has fostered and deterred your creative abilities. You will ask yourself if you have imaginatively attempted to contribute to social justice to those in need in your immediate environment and/or farther away. That is, have you been living a useful life? Do you want to?
In the second paper, you will decide what role you want creativity to play in your life to come, to what extent you choose to use it to make contributions to your society, and how you hope to make that happen. The major focus of this course is to help you do this, through a variety of strategies for being more creative in all you do. Finally in this paper, you will need to ascertain how and whether you want spirituality, broadly defined, to assist you in your quest. These two papers will account for 50 percent of your grade.
Another 30 percent will derive from a semester-long creativity project in which you will use all of your imaginative powers to design something (a product, an activity, an artistic endeavor, etc.) that you hope will significantly benefit society. You will learn more about how to do this as the semester goes on. The remaining 20 percent of your grade will depend on the quality (not quantity) of your contributions to small group and class discussions.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1998). Finding flow: The psychology of engagement with everyday life (masterminds series). NY: Basic Books
Dacey, J. (2011). A history of the concept of creativity. In Gardner, H., & Sternberg, R., Eds. Encyclopedia of creativity, 3 Vols., 2nd Ed.. San Francisco: Academic Press.
(free -- sections reproduced on site)
Dacey, J., & Lennon,, K. (1998). Understanding creativity: The interplay of biological, psychological, and social factors. NY: Wiley.
Dacey, J., and Conklin, W. (2012). Creative thinking AND the standards. Huntington Beach, CA: Shell/CTM. (free -- sections reproduced on site)
Frost, M. (2005). The Greatest Game Ever Played. New York: Hyperion.
Bennett, H. (2009). Write starts: Prompts, quotes, and exercises to jumpstart your creativity. NY: New World Library.
Carson. S. (2010). Your creative brain: Seven steps to maximize imagination, productivity, and innovation in your life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Health Publications.
Galindo, J. (2010). The power of thinking differently: an imaginative guide to creativity, change, and the discovery of new ideas. Los Altos, CA: Hyena Press.
Gardner, H., & Sternberg, R., Eds. (2012). Encyclopedia of creativity, 3 Vols., 2nd Ed.. San Francisco: Academic Press. (Expensive: only for the passionate student of creativity.)
Hurson, T. (2007) Think better: An innovator's guide to productive thinking. Boston, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Michalko, M. (2011). Creative thinkering: Putting your imagination to work. NY: New World Library.
Week 1 - Introduction to the Course, Your Creative Ability - First Set of Tests
Dacey and Lennon 1
Week 2 - History of the Concept of Creativity, Finding Your Own Muse (a hypnotic meditation)
Dacey and Lennon 2
Week 3 - Creative Thinking and Your Family’s Life Style
The Dacey family study (on site)
Dacey and Lennon 3
Week 4 - The Physiology of Creativity
Dacey and Lennon 10 and 11
Week 5 - Creative Thinking and Your Social Milieu, The Six Stages of Life in which Creativity Can Most Easily Be Cultivated
The Dacey cultivation study (on site)
First half of Csikszentmihalyi
Week 6 - The Sociohistoric Causes Significant Bursts of Creativity
(such as the American Revolution)
Dacey and Lennon 4
Self-reflective paper due
Week 7 - Characteristics and Values of Creative Thinkers
Dacey and Lennon 5 and 7
Week 8 - Strategies Creative Thinkers Commonly Use
Dacey paper from Dacey and Conklin (on site)
Week 9 - The Central Role of Self Control
Dacey and Lennon 6
Self-projective paper due
Week 10 - Creative Problem Solving
Dacey and Lennon 9
Second half of Csikszentmihalyi
Week 11 - Exploring Creativity in Sports
Frost historical novel
Week 12 - Measuring Creative Ability
Paper on creativity measurement techniques (on site)
First half of Colby and Damon
Week 13 - Growth in Your Creative Ability - Second Set of Tests
Second half of Colby and Damon
Week 14 - Presentations of Creative Projects
Directions given in class