Assistant Professor Rachel DeSoto-Jackson of Theater and Dance was awarded the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and Kennedy Center American College
Theater Region 2 Prize for Innovative Teaching on January 19, 2019.
The prize was awarded for DeSoto-Jackson’s interdisciplinary work in applied theater for her work with nursing and non-major students in THTR 361 The Performance of Caring, and theater students in THTR 281 Applied Theater I. The courses intersect in their
use of simulation as an educational model for practice-based learning.
THTR 361 began as an elective course for nursing students and presented basic theatrical skills in embodied verbal and nonverbal communication. As DeSoto-Jackson expanded the course, it included additional units central to applied theater practice, including
intercultural communication and equity/diversity/inclusion practices.
Through the evolution of the course, it became apparent that the skills learned in the course were of benefit to students across disciplines. This prompted revision of the course to include students from all disciplines with additional units on active
listening, confrontation, and empathetic communication. The course gained traction with students in various disciplines and, to-date, has served students from Nursing and Allied Health, Food and Nutrition, Biology/Pre-Med, Speech Language Pathology,
Criminology, Psychology, Anthropology, Sports Administration, and Public Health.