Creative Campus

The Curb Center Creative Campus Initiative supports faculty, staff, and students as they seek to combine their creativity and disciplinary knowledge to solve problems and advance innovation for the public good.

The Initiative, funded by the Mike Curb Family Foundation and coordinated by the Curb Center at Vanderbilt, focuses on creativity; academic innovation, and public leadership; all hallmarks of our signature campus and community oriented projects.  More specifically, The Curb Center Creative Campus:

  • support course and curricular innovations, especially those that integrate media, design, creative problem solving, and expression with rigorous disciplinary training;
  • create a community of catalysts–faculty, staff, students, and Nashville community members who thrive on making the non-routine  happen in their classrooms, research, and work;
  • transform campus spaces through serendipitous, out-of-the-ordinary encounters and experiences that break mundane conventions of everyday routines and induce heightened thoughtful engagement and curiosity;
  • provoke conversations that bring together unexpected parties and inspire novel approaches to engaging ideas, debates, and problems;
  • illuminate extraordinary and everyday creative lives, including the common creative process that threads through artistic, scientific, entrepreneurial, and design work

Our endowed Curb Scholars program, a proposed academic minor that will complement any disciplinary major, our vibrant community of catalysts, signature projects such as our Creative Practice Bootcamp and StoryBooth project, and our effort to embed creative practice throughout the entire student experience—from first-year orientation to graduation—distinguish Vanderbilt’s Creative Campus Initiative from all other campus-based programs.

What Do We Mean By Creativity?

Not just art. While many people jump to the conclusion that “creative” is a synonym for the arts, we focus on the common creative process that threads through art, design, media, the physical and biological sciences, engineering and computer science, the performing and dramatic arts,  entrepreneurship and technology development.  Developing the capacity for creative problem solving and implementation of innovative solutions is the focus of our initiative.

Creativity involves more than the generation of ideas. We focus on four creative capacities essential to the creative problem solving and innovation process:

1) the ability to invent and imagine;

2) the expressive agility to pitch and communicate an innovation’s advantages using an array of media,

3) the dexterity to lead collective creativity–the ability to harness multi-disciplinary expertise and integrate multiple ideas, interests, and perspectives, and

4) the capacity to negotiate and implement innovations and solutions to problems.

Creativity cannot be developed in a single class. Rather, we believe that creativity must be developed as a practice—an everyday habit of creative seeing, thinking, making, and doing. To that end, we seek to embed engagement of creative capacities across the entire student experience—from orientation to graduation, across campus and in our classroom—and in the campus experience of faculty and staff.

Why is creativity important in 21st century higher education?

We develop students who can ably engage the creative process—just at a time when these capacities are needed by employers and society. To do so, we focus on building students’…Resilience. Willingness to experiment and take risks. Empathic listening and inquiry skills. Capacity to manage ambiguity. Dexterity with design thinking and prototyping. Ability to tell their stories, pitch ideas, and reflect on their emerging narrative. Implement their ideas.  Fluency in negotiating and co-creating across disciplines, organizations, and cultures. Imagine and realize creative projects…in a way that is engaging, rigorous, and fun.