Dean, School of Interdisciplinary Arts; Dean, Institutional Diversity and Inclusion; Associate Professor of Theatre
She received a B.S. in biology from Creighton University, a M.F.A. in theatre for youth from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is a trained Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner. She has taught numerous creative drama and theatre workshops in schools, prisons, community centers, and churches throughout the U.S. and in Nigeria and served as artistic director of UJIMA YOUTHEATRE for seven years. Her areas of interest include critical pedagogy and liberatory education, diversity and interculturalism in theatre for young audiences, arts integration, multicultural critical literacy, and African American theatre. In her spare time, Sowell works as a professional storyteller and diversity in education consultant.
This course focuses on strategies and techniques for teaching creative drama and theatre with young people in primary and secondary school settings including afterschool programming. Throughout the semester we will answer questions such as - What tools and skills are required to design and implement theatre curriculum? How is youth theatre implemented in schools? How can reader's theatre and oral interpretation of literature be utilized in classrooms? In addition, students in this course will focus on building their facilitation skills and establishing their teaching philosophy. The intersections of critical pedagogy and creative pedagogy will be central to this component of the course. Community engaged learning experiences will provide practical examples of theatre education in action. Prerequisite: Some coursework in theatre and/or education.
In this course, we will explore various theories and practices that support collective group process, shared learning, and collaborative actions with the aim of creating more just and resilient communities. Through reading, discussion, reflective exercises, and intentional community engagement, we will seek answers to questions such as: How can we co-create a learning community that values each member as a teacher, learner and changemaker? How can facilitation support effective participatory group process? How can we cultivate critical connections, build resilient relationships, and strengthen communities so that we are better equipped to create the changes we envision? How do our positional identities impact our work? Which practices support collective reflection and accountability, and avoid replication of the systems and structures of oppression that we aim to dismantle? How can we develop nuanced and robust understandings and analyses of the challenges we face, so that we can create effective responses? What are our visions, values and ethical commitments, and how can we put these into practice?