New Curriculum Nurtures Undergrads’ Creative Side

Jefferson prepares students to navigate a rapidly evolving work environment. The Story of the Blues. Beekeeping 101. Zen and the Art of Chocolate. Plan Your Dream Trip to Italy. The Mane Talk: A Walkthrough on Black/African American Hair. Through an eclectic mix of workshops like these, all Jefferson freshmen had their first taste of Jefferson’s Creativity Core Curriculum this past semester. The new curriculum aims to cultivate a confident and flexible student mindset, says Maribeth Kradel-Weitzel, assistant provost for academic affairs. Working with a transdisciplinary University team, she spent two years planning and developing the curriculum, which will guide students through the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the rapidly evolving future of work. “Jefferson is an incredibly forward-thinking institution that’s considering what a student’s career will be like, not in 2022, but in 2040 or 2050,” says Kradel-Weitzel, also director of the new MS in health communication design program. “We’re thinking about the longevity of a student’s career and how we can best prepare them to be adaptable leaders.” In one drawing workshop, students made Zentangles, which can enhance mindfulness and decrease stress. Featuring three main components, the curriculum is based on the University’s long-standing commitment to its award-winning Nexus Learning approach and its Hallmarks Core that have resulted in... Read more »

Jefferson Architecture and Industrial Design Students Help Israel Medical Center Look Toward Its Future

In a unique effort that bolstered the University’s footprint in Israel, a team of architecture and industrial design students and faculty spent the spring semester working in an international design studio to envision concepts for Sheba Medical Center’s “City of Health” initiative. Under the leadership of the Jefferson Institute for Smart and Healthy Cities, the project was launched at the start of the spring semester and was supposed to culminate with Jefferson students traveling to Israel and then a final design presentation with Israeli students and faculty at Jefferson in May. The COVID-19 pandemic nixed those latter plans, due to safety concerns. However, the work proceeded apace, and ideas were presented virtually. They received rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. “The results were amazing,” says Tal Einhorn, Sheba’s head architect, who led a studio class to address real-life challenges faced at the esteemed Israeli institute. “We’re really grateful. It went beyond our expectations and we see it as quite an achievement. “It was a thrilling experience and collaboration,” Einhorn continues. “Despite the challenges, we worked as a team, and the Jefferson students really grabbed the essence of what Sheba is all about.” The effort—which also involved Bezalel Academy of... Read more »

Art in Times of Crisis

Hands, dipping into a deep bin filled with multi-colored beads. The smooth and shiny colors, the gentle clinking sound, and pliable wire, all available for threading, gluing, bending. All providing a pleasant problem to resolve: which colors to choose, what to form? Rachel Brandoff, PhD, who practices and teaches art therapy at Jefferson, uses art materials like beads and wire to entice clients to work through manageable problems, like deciding which beads to choose, as a bridge to more difficult problems. “Art therapy is a space for problem-solving which is a skill that takes practice,” says Dr. Brandoff, “and that can be generalized to other parts of life.” During these times of near-constant stress, art can be a salve and an outlet. “Art is a practice of inward reflection–an exploration of thoughts and emotions–followed by bursts of outward expression,” says Dr. Brandoff. “Art therapy gives emotions a place to land that isn’t verbal, and that can be very helpful.” Dr. Brandoff talks about what art therapy is and isn’t and discusses how she uses art to help people create room for processing emotions. Her recent book for art therapists, “Quick and Creative Art Projects for Creative Therapists with (Very) Limited Budgets,” was published just... Read more »

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