The Creativity area explores basic concepts of creativity across various disciplines and gives students the opportunity to engage in meaningful creative endeavors. Students will experience some of the following within the Creativity Area of Emphasis courses:

  • Explore the place and meaning of discovery in the human experience
  • Explore the role of creative expression in addressing problems that face society
  • Consider the multiplicity of paths leading to creative solutions
  • Develop a precise grasp on the role of interconnection and divergence in creative thinking
  • Appreciate the roles of experimentation, failure, and revision in the commission of successful creative endeavors
  • Engage in inter- or cross-disciplinary modes of creative inquiry, exploration, and discovery, while aiming for integration, tolerance of ambiguity, and examination of enduring questions
  • Review common mechanisms for creative and innovative thought
  • Engage in creative collaboration on a joint project, or reinterpret the creative expressions of others
  • Explore one's own potential to produce an original creative project

Introductory Seminar (Fall)

HON 361 - Creativity, Innovation, and Human Engagement

This course explores basic concepts of creativity across the disciplines and within various cultures. Course content can include the study and analysis of creative expression; the application of theories and conceptual frameworks to notions of fruitful serendipity, intellectual insight, and imagination; and the various modes of creative cognition in individuals, groups, and experimental “thinking” machines. Individual instructors may draw especial attention to problems of creation in literary and artistic endeavors, the role of personality, creativity in scientific discovery, the physiology and neurology of creative ability, innovative teaching techniques, or the philosophy and psychology of creativity and human fulfillment.


Experiential Seminar (Spring)

Experiential seminar offerings may vary from year to year. The following seminars have previously been offered to students in the Creativity area. 

Creativity, Collaboration, Communications, and Problem Solving in Multidisciplinary Teams
AREA(S): Creativity; Leadership; Service

Creativity, collaboration, and communication across disciplines are the building blocks of multidisciplinary innovation. Students in this class will learn techniques and skills necessary to work in multidisciplinary teams. Through team-based experiences and exercises, students will develop their skills and advance their abilities to solve diverse time and material constrained problems. Students will learn elements of creative problem solving through exercises in team building, group presentation and creative expression, and design process. Students will practice concepts of team communications and the mechanisms of creative processes as applied to problem solving in multidisciplinary teams. In-class exercises designed to challenge students across a wide range of areas including technical, mechanical, structural architectural design, theatrical, literary and fine arts, scientific exploration and improvisation provide a framework for both faculty-led and peer-based instruction.

Global Challenges and the Future of Work in the 21st Century: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years
AREA(S): Creativity; Global Studies; Leadership; Research; Service

In this presidential election cycle, candidates extol the virtues of education, economic growth, and job creation as keys to the future. But what does a quality education look like in the twenty-first century? Where can we squeeze out additional profits amid calls for sustainable environmental practices? What will the jobs of the future look like? Are we prepared for the next global or international economy? Emerson once wrote: “Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it.” Is this all the reassurance we need?

In this class you will engage in self-directed study of the future of work, the future of education, and the future global economy. We will study the past, present, and future of great global challenges; the importance of service, civic engagement and leadership; and the need for creativity in making a difference in the world.

Reimagining Honors: Empowering Learners & Leaders in the 21st Century
AREA(S): Creativity; Leadership; Service

The Honors movement in America is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. What will Honors look like over the next fifty years? This class will investigate the past, present, and future of Honors education nationally and at JMU. Students will work in project groups that will provide opportunities to further develop their Creativity, Leadership, and Service skills. They will investigate the theories and models that provide a foundation for Honors. They will study how Honors is conceptualized and realized on other campuses and at JMU. This is an experiential course. Students can expect to work on projects that go beyond the boundaries of the classroom and engage in field trips and/or site visits.

Service & Civic Engagement II
AREA(S): Service; Leadership; Creativity

James Madison University’s mission statement challenges students to be meaningfully engaged with the campus and the community. This Service and Civic Engagement course will focus on the application of civic engagement between individuals, on campus, and with the larger community. Students will work as a class to develop, create, and execute community engagement initiative(s). Students will apply theories and models previously introduced in their first semester seminars to not only conceptualize, but also execute an applied project based on community engagement. This is an experiential course and students are encourages and expected to think outside classroom boundaries.

James Madison University Undergraduate Research Journal
AREA(S): Creativity; Global Studies; Leadership; Research; Service

Students collaborate to publish the online undergraduate research journal JMURJ. Students taking the course serve as editorial board members, who act in a number of capacities: outreach, acquisitions, and marketing; editing in all its forms, from comprehensive editing to copyediting and proofreading; and publication and design. Editorial board members gain experience in defining and publishing a growing university-wide academic research journal; collaborating with a diverse group of enthusiastic, skilled editorial board members; and working with people and texts from various fields.

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