Leads approximately 60 faculty and 20 staff in the School of Art + Design, which is part of the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington. The school offers degree programs in Studio Arts (ceramic, sculpture, metals, textiles, painting, printmaking, photography, digital art, graphic design), Interior Design, Fashion Design, and Merchandising, and has three centers, including one housed in Columbus, Indiana.
Leadership and Creativity
Intro: Welcome to Listen For Insight. I’m your host David Ternik. We have for you Peg Faimon, the head of the art department at Miami University and co chair of the Miami Ideas Initiative. I send you now to our interviewer Nora Husani.
Nora: So as people may or may not know, you are the co-chair for Miamideas, I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit more about Miamideas and also describe your involvement as co-chair.
Peg: sure, well um gosh over a year ago now, the president came to Glenn Platt and I and asked us to chair this initiative and it was something I think that was very close to his heart and especially in his last year as president really wanted to incentivize and spotlight um all the things that are creative and innovative on Miami’s campus. And I think he also impressed upon us his wish and it was definitely our wish also that it not just be a year of creativity and innovation but that the year really sparked things going into the future as well. So Miamideas is really intended to be for this particular year of creativity and innovation, like I said a spotlight on the things we are already doing a lot of the great events that are happening that are just annual to this year um that are specific to this time period but then also we are doing an awful lot which is for going into the future, plans, structures and annual events which will occur going into the future.so those are, its its sort of a two tiered approach, current things and then also future things.
Nora: Wow that’s amazing, so you talked about different events going on on Miami’s campus, uh what type of events exactly are these?
Peg: There’s a lot of different uh different things going on. Many of the things we found when we were organizing all the activities, were already occurring, uh but we have been able to work with different chairs, different student groups, to uh help them to focus some of those activities on creativity and innovation. So for instance the university speaker series one of the talks is highlighting creativity and innovation. Um there have been several things happening at the business school, suseem? , um there have been things in the school of education of course inn the college of creative arts um the uh associated student government, is has put out a call for creativity projects this spring. So these are events, activities, speeches, lectures, workshops, many which would already have been occurring but they have taken on this sort of steam of creativity and innovation for the year. Um also there are some new things, some workshops especially, that are happening um throughout the year, especially during this spring which are things which are happening just because it is the year of creativity and innovation so those are new new things um an example is uh we have a learning community as part of the uh Miamideas and the year of creativity and innovation it’s a learning community not just for faculty but also for staff and students, has 30 plus people in it and we are bringing in an author, we have been reading his book his name is Tod Henry, he’s also an alum, and we’ve been reading his book as a group and we are going to bring him in to do some workshops around the university, he’s gonna give a lecture and do some workshops with our group. So that’s something that’s unique to this year that’s focusing everyone on learning more about creativity and innovation specifically.
Nora: Wow those sound like some really great events. Um you know you touched a little bit at the beginning on how Miamideas really came to be, but I was wondering if you could talk a little bit more about how this idea um was even inspired.
Peg: Well it really did come from the president, I have to give him credit um he I think has been thinking about these ideas a lot, I think He had been doing some reading and obviously had been talking to other people around the country about these issues. I think he’s also seen that a lot of our alumn are focused in creative pursuits, uhh, and really wanted to spark that, I think, in a way not so much spark it because I think that’s already happening here at Miami, uhh, it had been already happening but in a way sometimes we do things and we don’t, if we don’t sort of pay attention and shine a spotlight on it, we don’t notice it as much. You know what I mean? It’s one of those things that I think the Miami community really sort of innately is very innovative but, uhm, unless you talk about it and unless you really, uhm, highlight some examples, have a discussion, have workshops and things that focus on this, you, you don’t realize just how much you’re doing already. But then also to enhance it going into the future so really President Hodge, uhm, the idea was from him. He called several people when he first thought of the idea and we all were very encouraging and excited by the possibility. Miami has done “year-of’s” before. We had the Year of the Arts, we had Freedom Summer, and those were things which were fantastic but they were very focused on a particular year’s group of events.
Peg: And this is, this was really intended from the beginning to be something a little different in that it would have more longevity. Uh so that’s, that was particularly important to Glenn and I and very important to the president.
Host: We asked Peg to elaborate on how she uses creativity and innovation in her department
Peg: It’s interesting those two words,I’m on, also our learning community, several of the people that we’ve met with across campus- a lot of people ask “What’s the difference between creativity and innovation?” and that’s an excellent question and I think we have been trying, uhm, through this whole initiative and this is also something that we talk about in the art department. What does creativity mean and I believe we wanted from the very beginning to have a very inclusive definition of creativity. We didn’t want it just to be about the creative arts. So, although this is important to my department and the College of Creative Arts, we also wanted it to be important to everyone from all the way across the campus. So that very inclusive definition, uhm, we wanted everyone to feel like they could be creative not just people that were specifically trained in fields that are traditionally thought of as being creative.
15:05 (Nora) – Um so, I was wondering uh, for me personally I’ve never had the opportunity to take an art course. I was wondering if you could tell me how you promote creativity inside your classroom.
15:16 (Peg) – Well in my graphic design classes I’ll use the class I’m teaching right now as an example. I’m currently teaching identity systems which is our branding course. That’s kind of my specialty in graphic design I’ve done a lot of work with branding um that would be you know logo development all the application that goes along with that along with the sort of marketing strategy that that helps to develop a company brand um. And in that class I’ll give you two examples of some things I do to uh get the students really creative. Especially when it comes to creating logos, a lot of times students um especially less experienced students will just think you know their first idea out of their head is you know the perfect one um (laugh) and um and they’ll think up, job done. You know, so one of the things that I really try to get them to do especially I’ve been doing it with this first project this semester is to get them to think really broadly. One of the things they need to learn as a professional um and as a problem solver is to think broadly about a problem and to come up with a lot of different uh perspectives on that particular problem. So, say they have a company that they’re designing a logo for, they need to really do their research, investigate what that company’s about, think about their competitors, and then come up with a a wide series of ideas. They’re going to be presenting ideas to their creative director, and ultimately to a client, and what they think might be their best idea, their creative director or the client might not agree with them. So they need to have a a full range of ideas that they can bring to the table for discussion especially with their creative director, not just one. So, we’ve been working on creating uh lots of different ideas, you know, 90, 100 ideas
17:13 (Nora) – wow.
17:13 (Peg) – um, was was the target for the students to come to class like last week. Um, and then they’ve been narrowing and refining and honing the best ideas and actually today, uh we’re having a final critique on their final two best ideas that were honed from these hundreds that they originally brought in. So, those
17:34 (Nora) – wow ha
17:34 (Peg) - brainstorming techniques that broad thinking, is highly creative, obviously, and in implementation, it really forces them to be more innovative. So the other
17:47 (Nora) – wow yeah that that
17:47 (Peg) – I was going to say, the other thing that we do in the class which I think really helps the students to think about what life is going to be like outside of academia outside of college uh helps them see into the future but also helps them see how creative they can be now um and in the future is by bringing models into the classroom so we partner with some industry leaders and they actually for the last project team teach with me and so they um and they’re alums which is really amazingly fun for me to team teach with my former students who are now very successful in the field
18:27 (Nora) – yeah
18:27 (Peg) – it’s extremely gratifying and so they they will come into the classroom and teach with me and they will uh present a problem to the students we’ll we’ll move through that problem and for the students to be able to see sort of themselves in these professionals knowing especially because they’re alums that they will be in those shoes in the years to come, I think really does incentivize them and helps them um be more creative as well and see how creative those those models are for them those role models.
19:14 Host: We asked her how she uses creativity in her leadership role within her department.
19:20 (Peg) what I’ve learned from being a leader of a department, and it’s a fairly complex department, I have four degree programs, I have a historians, I have educators, I have designers, and I have fine artists in my department. So each one has a very different take in perspective on things, because their training is quite unique to one another. So I really try to draw out, instead of me telling someone what I think they should do from my perspective, my unique perspective and bias might not be what’s right for them, and might not be the right solution for them, and I think that the way I can be the most creative in my job is to help empower them to be able to achieve their best and be able to solve their own problems and find the places where they can be the most creative themselves. So I think that’s my most important job, is to creatively work with my faculty to help them be creative. That is just an exponential kind of thing, right? The more I can assist them in doing their work well, the more they can impact students in an effective, innovative, and creative manner. And that’s where I think that happens in every leadership role not just an academic apartment, and I can see that playing out in the same way in corporate America. Or in an engineering firm or many many places you would find a leader who is working with a team. So that’s an example of where being creative is really really helpful when it comes to leadership.
Peg: Hi this is Peg Faimon I am chair of the department of art and thank you for listening to listen4insight
Categories | Creativity and Innovation
Filetype: MP3 - Size: 13.76MB - Duration: 15:02 m (128 kbps 44100 Hz)