UARTS 250 - Creative Process
Section: 101
Term: SP 2010
Subject: University Arts (UARTS)
Department: CoE Undergraduate Education
Requirements & Distribution:
With permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credit(s).
Primary Instructor:

UARTS 250: Creative Process, sponsored by Arts on Earth, is the first interdisciplinary arts course in a new category of University of Michigan courses — University Arts (UARTS). It is supported by the University of Michigan Multidisciplinary Learning and Team Teaching Initiative.

  • Team-taught by faculty from the
    • School of Art & Design
    • the School of Music, Theatre & Dance
    • the Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning and
    • the College of Engineering
  • Open to undergraduates from all University of Michigan colleges and schools
  • No prerequisites

Why enroll in Creative Process?

Creative Process is designed to prepare you to recognize, understand, articulate, and utilize your creative abilities. Your experiences in this course, working with other students from disciplines across campus, will provide you with a conceptual and experiential foundation for the generation of creativity.

Creativity is emerging as an essential competence for students in universities worldwide. The creative process has been a subject of study and inquiry in diverse disciplines for decades, as reflected in scholarly journals such as the Journal of Creativity Research, the Creativity Research Journal, the Journal of Creative Behavior, and Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, as well as in the proceedings of organizations such as the American Creativity Association and the International Center for Studies in Creativity. Creative Process uses the strengths of U-M’s exemplary professional arts and engineering faculty not only to prepare students for particular career goals, but also to equip them to respond creatively and confidently to new and unexpected situations that will confront them throughout their lives. This primary intention of the course is especially relevant in Michigan; it aligns well with the work of the University Research Corridor (URC), and could inform or inspire similar courses at other Michigan institutions.

In addition, today, 80% of corporate leaders say “creativity is an essential skill for the 21st-century workforce.” With globalization, America’s economic future depends as never before on our creativity. Creative Process is designed to generate creative thinkers, makers, and doers.


Students from across campus work together to explore creative problem solving through hands-on activities led by faculty from the School of Art and Design; the School of Music, Theatre and Dance; the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning; and the College of Engineering. Weekly colloquia, readings, and discussions supplement studio projects.

The course meets for five hours a day, beginning and ending with two-hour studios. Student groups work in round-robin sequence with faculty from each academic unit, rolling up their sleeves to visualize innovative images/objects, create original sound pieces; define imaginative spatial solutions for human interaction; and invent computerized, mechanized movement work. The focus of the four studio/critique components of the course is hands-on experience in creative work through short individual and/or collaborative projects. Students create projects in the four categories, then discuss/critique as a group both the creative process and resulting projects.

  • Verbal/Symbolic Language
  • Visual Images/Objects
  • Sound
  • Movement

Each faculty member has particular creative expertise in one of the four categories, and each category offers a wide range of creative possibilities. Students experience working with four different kinds of practitioners and develop a sense of the vast range of options available for carrying out creative work in these four categories — and ultimately in their own disciplines.

A mid-day colloquium, where all faculty and all students gather for an hour, provides students with conceptual, historical, and contextual information about creative processes across a wide range of human endeavors. Colloquia include lectures, films, other presentations, and discussions.

Students are required to keep a comprehensive journal recording their ideas, experiences, and reflections in the course. Digital documentation is encouraged. Faculty periodically throughout the course evaluate journals. The journal plays a key role in developing the final project/presentation.

On the first day of class, students receive “prompts” that become the genesis for their final projects. During the course, students present several iterations of their concepts for realizing their final projects in group critiques and brainstorming sessions. Shared ideas engender risk taking and potential for creative invention far beyond the scope of original concepts. During the last segment of the course, students realize and present the final comprehensive iterations of their “prompts.”

The entire faculty team evaluates each student. Criteria for grading includes:

  • Attendance,
  • Class participation,
  • A comprehensive journal,
  • Four mini-projects,
  • Evidence of intellectual and creative process development, and
  • A culminating project/presentation.

More Questions?

Please contact School of Art & Design Associate Dean Mary Schmidt at

UARTS 250 - Creative Process
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101 (LAB)
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