November 27, 2005

Choosing Arts Administration Teaching Texts

I learned late last week that the Arts Administration course I am teaching at University of Houston Downtown, is scheduled for Spring 2006. Previously the university told me it was scheduled for Fall 2006 – nearly a year away. I am thrilled to start teaching sooner than later.

Choosing a teaching text has turned into an interesting task. The previous instructor, Sara Kellner, Executive Director of DiverseWorks used Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig assigned reading I had for an undergraduate photography course. Clearly the professor was going through a midlife crisis. He proved it by riding his motorcycle to class one day and giving female students rides on the back.

Or, I could go somewhat esoteric and choose something by Malcolm Gladwell such as The Tipping Point or Blink – contemporary, interesting, useful beyond the course. Another possibility is using these as secondary texts and going with Sara’s as the primary texts. Ultimately my goal is to write my own text and have it published, now jumpstarted with the course date change.

Additionally, I’m considering having my students participate in a blog focused on our coursework and sharing their research and reporting. The one online grad school course I took, accounting, encouraged us to partake in online discussions. I just couldn’t get into it. This was nearly 10 years ago, when the Internet was still a mystery. Maybe I’m thinking too much from a student perspective and need to just take charge and go with what works for me, with the sensitivity to modify a bit as we go along.

Portrait of Malcolm Gladwell. I can get my hair to do that!