Adrian College Introduces New Institute for Creativity

Adrian College President Jeffrey R. Docking today announced the establishment of a new and unique Institute for Creativity on campus. The Institute will provide a focal point and clearinghouse for ideas that will improve every aspect of campus life and benefit every member of the campus community.

Dr. Jennifer K. Ellsworth, currently serving on the faculty of the Accountancy and Business Administration Department, has been named Director of the Institute (profile attached). The Institute will officially begin in Fall, 2012, but plans are already in progress for this important new addition to campus.

Dr. Docking first challenged the campus community to develop and cultivate a “culture of creativity” in his 2011 State of the College address. After more than doubling the College’s enrollment in the past six (6) years and securing significant gifts for future improvements, Dr. Docking is calling on the college community at large to think and act creatively to help chart the college’s future.

Dr. Docking notes, “Establishing the Institute for Creativity is a high priority for this office. In midst of the many enhancements that we’ve introduced over the past six years, this new Institute for Creativity is as important as any of those.”

Dr. Agnes Caldwell, VP and Dean for Academic Affairs adds, “Progressive education, and specifically preparing our students for a rapidly changing world, is an imperative for Adrian College. We see this Institute as a tool for weaving creativity as a skill into every aspect of the curriculum.”

The structure and activities of the Institute for Creativity are based on three (3) underlying and fundamental premises.

First, the academic world’s primary objective is to prepare its students for life, including productive work. Today, the workplace and its demands are changing dramatically. No longer is “top down” management sufficient to meet the new global reality. Rather, creativity and innovation from every sector of organizations have become the most valued skills. In a recent IBM study of 1,500 corporate and public sector heads across 33 industries, CEOs cite creativity as the “most important leadership quality.” (1) To prepare students to be leaders in this world, creativity must permeate the curriculum and campus life during this critical time in their development.

Second, creativity is not limited to the performing and visual arts, but is vital in every discipline. Much of education is about learning and retaining the “right” answers. But, the Institute for Creativity will challenge everyone on campus to think and act on “new and better” ideas. These can range from more effective signs to a “garden to table” harvest and fine dining experience.

Third, everyone has a creative spark that can be nurtured and cultivated in a systematic way. A process for creative problem solving, based on tenets and techniques of the Creative Education Foundation, will be used to foster creativity across campus in every part of the organization ~ administrators, faculty, students, and staff.

Dr. Docking notes, “There can be little doubt that the future prosperity of this nation, particularly given modern modes of communication, mandates that creativity will be an imperative for college graduates. Our new Institute for Creativity is designed to give our students this important skill.”

For Additional Information, please contact:  Jennifer K. Ellsworth, PhD, Director, Institute for Creativity, 517-265-5161 (Extension 3849) or jellsworth@adrian.edu

(1) Carr, Austin. Fast Company. May, 2010.