Message from President:
It has been four months since ThinkTank4. In that time, Integrative Teaching ThinkTank (ITT) has made tangible progress towards its educational goals and planning.
Most significantly, Anthony Fontana (Vice President for Communications) and Stacy Isenbarger have co-edited a publication, State of Play, with contributions from ThinkTank4 participants including Melanie Lowrance, Anna Kell, Kip Bradley, Michelle Illuminato, Oliver Schemm, Matt King, Danica Oudeans, and Chris Kienke. Board Secretary and Treasurer Adam Kallish has done yeoman's work in the design of the publication. State of Play can be downloaded here and will be available via print on demand in the near future.
State of Play came about through the initiative of ThinkTank4 participants. It was not a planned objective of the conference. Instead, it came about through ThinkTank's synergy. It is a great example of how artists seize opportunities and create unexpected outcomes.
Within this newsletter is information on ThinkTank5, scheduled for June 2-6, 2010 at the University of Georgia, in Athens. As ITT and ThinkTank become better known, it becomes easier to get the word out to segments of our core constituency. For example, we have lists of individuals who expressed direct interest in ThinkTank at both the FATE and NAEA 2009 conferences. However, there are important divisions of our consistency that we still need reach.
There are four areas of focus:
Designers who teach foundations are a particular concern. This may be a small group, as many designers choose not to teach foundations. Nevertheless, designers have been a critical part of ThinkTank since its inception and we need to find voices ready to contribute to the dialogue.
Second, we need to push hard at making sure that the new emerging educators who can benefit from the dialogue and networking opportunities of ThinkTank know about and understand the career significance of their participation. This is where the members of the Advisory Board can be of particular help. You are our national grass- roots organization. You know the young professionals at your local institutions who could benefit. If every one of our Advisory Board members could recruit three emerging educators to apply, we would be able to select from a dynamic pool of applicants. We want ThinkTank to be competitive. We want the best people participating.
Third, leadership is an area that needs to be developed. We need to connect with the administrators who set budgets and establish the conceptual parameters for learning objectives in foundations. We need to do more than assure great teaching in our individual classes. We need to be at the policy table and set the agenda. We need to establish the curricular ideas of ITT as the norm.
These educational leaders are certainly the department heads, or school and college directors to whom we report. They can also be the principals who set standards for the high schools that feed students into higher education foundations programs. Finally, it also includes those higher education administrators who realize that foundation courses do more than develop artists.
Foundations experience develops ways of problem seeking, problem solving, and assessment that are a valuable part of a liberal arts education. This summer, Dr. Zach Kelehear, Associate Professor, Educational Leadership/ Policies, University of South Carolina has joined the Board as Vice President for Policy to assist us as ITT develops this area of focus.
Fourth, we want to reach out to small, targeted group of high school educators who are open to bringing the new ideas and approaches of ITT and ThinkTank into the School Advance Placement Studio Arts and the International Baccalaureate curriculum.
Bringing all of these constituencies into the mix of ThinkTank5 will be a challenge. It remains a priority to keep the scale of ThinkTank small, focused, and intense. Our core mission is improving studio+design foundations. Therefore, we need to find key people, particularly in the last two categories.
Full information for applying to ThinkTank5 is in this newsletter. I look forward to seeing you in Athens in June 2010.
Integrative Teaching ThinkTank