Based on models of other cross-cutting efforts, the ‘Creativity Initiative’ adopted the hub and cluster as its organizational model. The “hub” consists of a decentralized administrative core connected to five thematic research clusters that will identify an initial set of possible research areas.   Other clusters could be added, in connection with the development of distinctive areas of research.

The Initial Research Clusters:

Creative Processes and Entrepreneurial, Group, and Community Activities

Cluster Co-Directors: Prof. Jeff Grabill (AL,WRAC), Mr. Vincent Delgado (RCAH)

The Creative Processes and Organizations Cluster of the MSU Creativity Initiative focuses on community, organizational, and group creative process. Those interested in how groups can be creative raise questions about how to foster creativity in individuals, groups, organizations, and communities. Recent research in management studies reveals two things: 1) that there is a large market for ideas and strategies for making creative organizations, and 2) that the research required to answer the difficult questions about creativity in organizations is necessarily cross-cutting. It requires expertise in psychology (especially organizational), sociology, labor and industrial relations, management, communication, and, of course, the creative arts. What creativity actually is, how groups can become creative together, and how good ideas can be communicated and made to live in the world are each difficult problems. They are both research problems and problems of practice. The goals of creativity research focused on organizations would be to answer questions such as these and create solutions from those findings.

Creative Processes and Teaching

Cluster Co-Directors: Prof. Punya Mishra (Ed, EdPsych&EdTech), Prof. David Sheridan (RCAH)

The nature of teaching and learning is rapidly changing. There is an emphasis on higher order cognitive processes such as critical thinking and creative problem solving, along with traits such as curiosity, and adaptability. It is also suggested that students engage in technology rich learning contexts where they work collaboratively to solve complex, multi-disciplinary, open-ended problems. The focus of this cluster is to develop trans-disciplinary research and strategies: (a) that help our students be more creative and trans-disciplinary in their thinking; and (b) that help educators develop new and creative approaches to teaching. We would anticipate generating new knowledge that would be relevant to a range of teaching and learning situations, teacher preparation, and cross cutting work on the development and use of information technologies for learning, including gaming. A range of methodologies would necessarily be used depending on the disciplinary context of the work and the nature of the research problem being addressed.

Creativity Processes, Digital Composing, and “At Risk” Students

Cluster Co-Directors: Prof. Mark Sullivan (MUS, RCAH), Prof. Pennie Foster-Fishman (SocSci, Psych)

Poetry and stories, photography, video, and music, drawing and animation – all share concepts and processes of production. All can be created with digital tools. The focus of this cluster is the investigation of creative processes involved in digital composing. It includes investigating the potential of digital composing to catalyze other forms of creativity, knowledge, and skill, as well as the potential to empower “at risk”learners.

Creative Processes and Health

Cluster Co-Directors: Prof. Marsha MacDowell(AL, ArtArtHist), Prof. Laura Apol (Ed, TchEd), Prof. Clare Luz (HumMed, FamMed)

The Creativity Initiative Health cluster will initially focus on connecting faculty in the health fields [e.g. medicine, nursing] with faculty in the arts, humanities, and multiple other disciplines as well as community-based partners, providers and educators who are interested in systematically investigating the impact of art and the humanities on health, health education, and health care, and the implications for health policy and practice. There is growing evidence of the power of art and the humanities to heal and educate everyone in the circle of care including patients, family, caregivers, health providers and advocates. On a societal level, art and the humanities are being used to educate the public, raise funds for research and resources, and to change health related social policies. The cluster will stimulate the formation of new interdisciplinary teams of MSU researchers, drawn from multiple fields such as art and art history, folklife, history, communication arts, rhetoric and writing, social work, education, and medicine.  It will develop a venue, context and structure that can facilitate and support these teams as they formulate projects and pursue external funding. As part of the process of laying the foundation to achieve these goals, the cluster will build on previous work conducted at MSU as well as investigate and network with existing external models, resources, and experts to develop specific strategies for MSU.

Creativity, Social Knowledge Platforms, and Forms of Scholarly Inquiry

Cluster Co-Directors: Prof. Dean Rehberger (SocSci, MATRIX, WRAC), Prof. Ethan Watrall ( SocSci, MATRIX, Anth)

The academy is going through significant changes, and will continue to do so over the coming years. Contributing factors include (but are certainly not limited to) changing patterns of enrolment and student expectations, increasing pressure for interdisciplinary grantsmanship and research, and the rapidly changing nature of scholarly publishing. The result is that many (if not most) scholars have been challenged to adapt to new models of scholarly practice and production in the domains of publishing, research, outreach, and teaching.  To meet these challenges, , scholars must approach their discipline in a far more creative manner, stepping outside traditional pathways of inquiry and practice.

It is within this context that the Creativity, Social Knowledge Platforms, and Forms of Scholarly Inquiry research cluster wishes to address three broad questions: (1) what constitutes scholarly creativity; (2) what are the hallmarks of a creative scholar; and (3) how do you create systems (administrative, professionals, and computational) to encourage and support scholarly creativity (especially within an interdisciplinary context)

This cluster is somewhat unique in that, in addition to addressing these broad questions, it has a specific mandate to prototype Folio (, an online social knowledge networking platform.  Folio is intended not only to stimulate interdisciplinary communication and collaboration between scholars, but to break down traditional knowledge silos, and open new perspectives and facilitate the advancement of knowledge within and across various discipline.