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Morrissey College of Arts and Science

UNCP5561 Creativity and Human Development

syllabus: fall, 2017

Professor John Dacey

Stokes Hall

Office hours: Thursdays 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and on my Canvas site: bostoncollege.instructure.com/courses/1567869/

Home phone: Evenings 7:30 - 8:00 p.m. (Really important calls only, please) 781-861-1072

The best path to becoming a more creative thinker is to learn how creative people think. When you do, you cannot help but emulate the process, because consciously and unconsciously, you will want to. There is a genetic component, but nevertheless, everyone is able to become more creative.

This course will help you understand how 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 in 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 (in the future), with a distinct emphasis on what role your creative ability has played and will play. These two analyses will be achieved through writing two papers (each at least eight to 10 pages long). In the first, you will identify an “unresolved childhood conflict (UCC).” UCC’s are often the result of decades-old incidents, typically long-forgotten. They tend to be the culprit when it comes to anxiety disorders, depression and other such psycho-social maladies. You will report on your effort to resolve a UCC.

In the second paper, you will anticipate how your creative abilities might affect the rest of your life. Both papers will be explained more fully in class. The major focus of this course is to help you become more authentic, through a variety of strategies for being more creative in all you do. Finally, in these two papers, you will need to ascertain how and whether you want spirituality, broadly defined, to assist you in your quest. These two papers will each account for 25 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 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 the whole class, as well as to small group discussions. Each will take place each week and will be based on the several readings assigned for that week.

Here is how the small group discussions will work:
There will be four groups of four to five students. Each week, a different group member will be responsible for bringing a least three thought-provoking questions for each of the readings assigned for that day, and will lead the discussion of them. You should combine your group’s answers into one file, typed by another group member as an electronic file (this role also rotates). After class, that person will email the group’s answers to everyone in the class at un56101f@bc.edu. You should read these emails to see how other groups handled the assignment. I will be reading and grading each file, and recording that grade in each student’s personal file on the website.

Here’s the main point: everyone in the group gets the same grade for each week’s product. That means if you don’t do the readings (and take notes), you will let your group down. Also, I will be observing the discussions and I will see who is participating. If you fail to do your share, your group’s grade will suffer.

As to large groups, I will lead the first two. After that, pairs of students, chosen randomly, will lead the discussions. They will decide on the questions to be discussed, and will randomly call on students to answer their questions. Every two weeks, you can see your grade for participation in large and small group discussions by looking at the grade book on Canvas.

PS: No computers or cell phones on desk tops in first half of class.

Required Texts

Dacey, J. (2011). A history of the concept of creativity. Chapter in Gardner, H., & Sternberg, R., Eds. Encyclopedia of creativity, 3 Vols. 2nd Ed. San Francisco: Academic Press. (available at my Canvas site)

Dacey, J., & Conklin, W. (2013). Creativity AND the Standards. Huntington Beach, CA: Shell/TCM.

Dacey, J., & Lennon, K. (1998). Understanding creativity: The interplay of biological, psychological, and social factors. NY: Wiley.  

Brown, B. (April 7, 2015). Daring greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead. NY: Avery.

Supportive Texts

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.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1998). Finding flow: The psychology of engagement with everyday life (masterminds series). NY: Basic Books   (Paperback)

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.

Kurtweil, R. (2012). How to create a mind. NY; Viking.

Michalko, M. (2011). Creative thinkering: Putting your imagination to work. NY: New World Library.

 

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