Michigan’s World Class: The Creative Process

The objective of Creative Process is to de-mystify creativity for students in all U-M units and years: to teach students that creativity is not a character trait or an event, but a process — one that will challenge their sense of competence and mastery, but that they can understand and eventually master, transforming both themselves and their work.

 The course design uses several strategies to achieve this objective.

  • Intensive studio time gives students direct experience in creative work.
  • An environment that recognizes “failure” as part of the creative process provides enlightenment and support for risk-taking.
  • Highly skilled, accomplished, creative faculty from the four different North Campus units provide models of creative process, and expertise in different modalities for the students to try.
  • Instruction in theories and research about creativity give students a conceptual framework for contextualizing their experience.
  • Journals and a series of creative projects give students direct experience and the opportunity to consolidate their learning through reflection.

U-M’s student paper, The Michigan Daily, called Creative Process “one of the University’s most intriguing courses.”  

What do students say about UARTS 250?

“Creative Process is truly the most inspirational course I have ever taken in my educational career. It was frustrating yet enlightening, confusing yet breathtaking. Creative Process really raised my horizon in multiple ways. 

—Danny Hsiao, Chemical Engineering

“I’m paired with so many different majors from all over the university that it’s exciting because we’re all on the same level, yet we all have something to add and I learn things from other people that may help enlighten my work….”

—Lindsey Balfour, Art & Design

“Using the concept of sixteenth notes and eighth notes, I created a piece inspired by everyone in the class with my partner…. When we played it for the class, it was amazing. Having no skill or experience in music composition, it was a good feeling….”

—Premal Amin, Business Administration with Math minor

“My partner and I had a moment of genius when we decided to bend in one side of the plate rather than cut it off. I think this is an interesting part of the creative process. In this instance, a good solution was starting us right in the face, but we couldn’t recognize it until we played around with our ideas.”

—Christopher Mikulski, Computer Engineering

“I learned a great deal. Finding my own ‘creative space’ might help generate ideas. But it’s also important to get organized. The profs said that having a plan before entering your creative space is key.”

—Steven Clark, Screen Arts & Cultures

“…Coming from a family of engineers, I would have never imagined in my wildest dreams that ENGINEERING and CREATIVITY could even belong in the same sentence. … Creativity is perhaps reevaluating the assumptions and limitations we have placed on ourselves…”

—Katherine Naszradi, Psychology with Spanish minor

“I can already see this course helping with my other classes. In one of my engineering classes I had to come up with ideas for uses of a music synthesizer by going to a toy store. I was able to see good ideas in other toys when I caught myself thinking ‘wow,’ and then mix those together in a way that would set my ideas apart from normal toys.”

—Joshua Winters, Computer Science

“I believe that the spirit of creativity ultimately lies in the absence of inhibitions and constraints. Although there may exist some parameters which one must work around or within, the creative mind must be uninhibited and willing to ‘twist and turn’ the parameters until it finds the angle or perspective of the perfect fit.”

—Jae Hoon Chung, Political Science with Econ minor

“I didn’t expect to be so ‘touched/moved’ in taking this course. … I am surprised by the connections, the many related connections that I am making between the projects and lessons for living.”

—Linda Easley, Art & Design

Learn more about the development this course, click HERE!  

To review the full Course Description and Syllabus, click HERE.