Did you know that the most commonly listed skill on LinkedIn the past two years has been “Creativity”, and for good reason, too. “The reality is that to survive in a fast-changing world you need to be creative,” says Gerard J. Puccio, chairman of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College. “That is why you are seeing more attention to creativity at universities. The marketplace is demanding it.” In fact, an I.B.M. survey of 1,500 chief executives in over 30 industries listed creativity as the most crucial factor of success. Creativity is the ability to transcend traditional thought and formulate meaningful new ideas. It has long been regarded as an essential skill for achievement, which is why Buffalo State College has had the creative studies program since 1967.
Creativity, once seen as divine inspiration or a quality possessed only by the highly intelligent, is now seen as a skill capable of being taught. Although conventional academic disciplines are still relevant, educators and employers are becoming more and more interested in “process skills”, or strategies to reevaluate challenges and adapting to overcome such.
Creative Studies programs are starting to arise at numerous universities across the United States. Buffalo State University already offers a master’s degree and an undergraduate minor, but they are also planning on implementing a Ph.D. program. Saybrook University in San Francisco has a master’s program and certificate, and the university added a specialization to its psychology Ph.D. in 2011. Other notable programs include Drexel University in Philadelphia, St. Andrew’s University in North Carolina and Eastern Kentucky University.
Jack V. Matson, an environmental engineer and instructor at Pennsylvania State University, teaches a class that he calls “Failure 101” because “the frequency and intensity of failures is an implicit principle of the course. Getting into a creative mind-set involves a lot of trial and error.” All assignments in the class, which include constructing résumés based on what did not work and constructing the tallest structure possible with twenty popsicle sticks, are designed to elicit inventiveness through the process of failing.
If your university offered Creative Studies courses, would you register to take one?