Collaborative Teaching Examples

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DESIRE: Storytellers / Storymakers

In Winter 2019, the students in Caitlin Horrocks’s WRT 430: Advanced Fiction Workshop and WRT 460: Advanced Creative Nonfiction Workshop began the semester by creating essays and stories in response to the prompt “Desire.” Fifteen stories and essays were selected and handed off to the students in Renee Zettle-Sterling’s ART 346: Intermediate Jewelry and Metalsmithing course. The metalsmithing students are interpreting and illustrating the written pieces in a necklace format. The culmination of the collaboration will be an exhibit that investigates the motives of desire. The sculptural necklaces will be hung on the wall of the Stuart B. and Barbara H. Student Art and Design Gallery with text excerpts in vinyl surrounding the pieces. Additional collaborative elements include plans for the writing students to visit the art students at work in the studio.  

Creating an informational campaign to promote the terminology of information literacy

Assistant professor of graphic design Vinicius Lima has collaborated for two years with librarian Gayle Schaub to create an informational campaign to promote the terminology of information literacy that's appealing, and easily accessible to students and faculty. The campaign, designed by ART 410 students in the fall '16 and '17 semesters, illustrates definitions of terms used by both librarians and professors. The bold, colorful designs have shown up on bookmarks, tables, and on the Libraries' website. This year, there's a Buzzfeed-type quiz. Lima and Schaub have presented at the ACRL national conference, the AIGA Design Educators conference, and have shared their materials with libraries nationwide. This fall, ART 410 will design an infographic to explain an information literacy concept, "Scholarship as Conversation."

A group receiving feedback

Stoic Week

In conjunction with Stoic Week (, a global event hosted through the University of Exeter and King's College London, faculty in Classics (Anderson, Crane, Ham) lead a week long exploration of Stoicism. From a curricular focus in CLA 365, Classics leads a collaboration in courses across CLAS and Brooks inviting students to explore the idea of the Happy Life from a Stoic perspective through common readings, adopt a Stoic mindfulness practice as a means to consider the practical implications of Stoic ethics in the modern world, and to explore the foundations of Stoic cognitive resilience. Students in participating courses have common readings. A lecture series is offered during Stoic Week; all events are intended to be co-curricular but also open to the public.

Arthur Campbell

Clarinets and Clinical Doctorates

Description by Arthur Campbell, Music, Theatre, and Dance

Because musicians tend to be under informed about injury avoidance, management and treatment, I invited Dr. Jeanine Beasley of GVSU Occupational Therapy, and Dr. Barbara Baker, of the GVSU Physical Therapy, to give a joint presentation to the GVSU clarinet studio. Two longer-term collaborations resulted:

1. Undergraduate clarinet students served as case studies for graduate OT students.

2. Undergraduate clarinet students served as case studies for Clinical Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) students. I served on the doctoral committee for three DPT students with Professors Barbara Baker, and Gordon Alderink.

In addition to taking us outside of our discipline, this collaboration bridged the gap between undergraduate and graduate students, and between teaching and research.

While the research components of the projects were completely on the shoulders of the OT and PT students, I want to make special note of the benefit the projects had for the undergraduate music students. Exposure to this research took them beyond their daily sphere of thinking.

Major respect, thanks, and kudos, to Jeanine Beasley, Barbara Baker and Gordon Alderink for their enthusiastic response to collaboration.  I initiated contact, but they created these wonderful opportunities for music students. 

Art Inspired by Biotechnology   

For 8 years now, Agnieszka Szarecka of Cell and Molecular Biology and her CMB 150 students have created art inspired by biotechnology and presented their creations during the week of finals.  The students explain their source of inspiration, the message or emotion they wanted to convey, and the meaning behind the artwork’s design or its parts.

Artists form the Visual and Media Arts Department (Jinny Jenkins, Roxanne Samer, Renee Zettle-Sterling, Tim Fisher, Vinicius Lima, and Guin Thompson) came to discuss the art produced by the students and to serve as the jury for 3 of the prizes awarded:

Best Art and Science Integration
Best Creative Concept
Best Design/Craft

Prizes in the scientific category are juried by CMB faculty. Margaret Dietrich works with me every year and other participants have included Sok Kean Khoo, Dawn Hart, Pei Lan Tsou.
Best Idea for Education/Popularization of the Field of Biotechnology
Best Integration of Various Aspects of Biotechnology or Best Illustration of a Scientific Concept
Best Illustration of Biotechnology's Impact on Society and Future

Agnieszka notes that the current format does not involve a great deal of contact time between the art faculty and her students, but that she can imagine they might expand the collaboration to include some sort of contact during the design and execution stage of the artwork production.


Agnieszka Szarecka
Group photo at Italy Through the Sea event

Celebrating Italy through the Sea 

This project focused on different linguistic-cultural aspects of Italian, to celebrate the seventh annual Italian Week in the world in the form of a Fair. It involved GVSU and Catholic Central HS students and highlighted the significance of the Mediterranean Sea within the Italian language & culture. Participants showcased their projects and answered questions. A variety of media (music, technology) was used throughout the event. Beginning Italian students created games and blogs on the sea theme, Intermediate students wrote sea stories and collaborated with music composition students who wrote original scores and played live during the sea event while Italian students read stories. This event took place at the Loosemore auditorium. Both GVSU and larger Grand Rapids community attended.

Page last modified March 11, 2022