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Keywords

aesthetic education, creativity, integrative learning, multidisciplinary reading, improvised activities

Abstract

This article informs about a multidisciplinary learning community targeting first year students from diverse cultural backgrounds at an urban community college. The combination of English, art, and philosophy of art in a Creativity Cluster offers an excellent opportunity for great teaching and learning experiences. Yet, how can faculty address the multiple challenges faced by inexperienced student readers who have little time to reflect on difficult texts or make thoughtful connections across disciplines? The authors find that students’ reading comprehension can be deepened and reinforced by dovetailing such manifold sources as poetry, short stories, plays, film, music, artworks, and readings in aesthetic theory. Further, students’ critical thinking and analytical writing skills can be improved with related creative activities and integrative paper assignments. Moreover, through improvised activities, faculty can respond effectively to students’ needs, nurture their creativity, and enable them to make meaningful connections across disciplines and artforms.

Vera Albrecht is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at LaGuardia Community College , City University of New York (CUNY).

Barbara Comins is a Professor of English at LaGuardia Community College, CUNY.