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Creativity Alumni, Experts Converge on Campus

Creativity Alumni, Experts Converge on Campus

Posted: June 3, 2013

Faculty from the International Center for Studies in Creativity (ICSC) shared their research during the 12th annual Creativity Expert Exchange (CEE) held May 20–22 on the Buffalo State campus.

Cyndi Burnett, assistant professor of creative studies, discussed several of her projects including a book on enhancing creative problem-solving in young children and an upcoming study on brainstorming—the largest thus far for the center to undertake. Called the "Bus Study," the research focuses on creativity in groups and will compare people trained in creativity with untrained individuals in their approach to solving a real-life challenge.

Meanwhile, Gerard Puccio, professor and chair of creative studies, shared his sabbatical study of human evolution.

“We’re not the fastest. We’re not the strongest, and we don’t even have the largest brains,” he said. “How have we survived and evolved over millions of years?”

What humans do have, Puccio pointed out, is the ability to conform and at the same time, creatively problem-solve, which resulted in the creation of a number of tools, from the first flake tool that opened nuts and fruits.

“Without novelty, there is no evolution and there is no growth,” he said. “Creativity is essential to survival.”

Associate professors Susan Keller-Mathers and John Cabra and lecturers Jo Yudess and J. Michael Fox discussed ongoing research ranging from instilling creativity in school curriculum to the positive effect of undergraduate creativity courses on graduation rates.

The CEE conference also included several presentations and master classes led by creativity consultants, artists, musicians, authors, and educators from across the country. Approximately 80 participants attended the conference, including ICSC alumni, students, and a range of professionals.

One attendee was Mhrai MacInnes, an educator living in Vienna who discovered the CEE through an Internet search. She recently accepted a new position as the director of creativity for a secondary school in Hong Kong, and wanted to bone up on recent trends in creativity.

“I’ve done a lot of workshops on creativity, and they are building something real here at the ICSC,” said MacInnes. From the first night of the conference, MacInnes said she was impressed with the expertise of the presenters as well as the warmth of her fellow participants.  

For many alumni of the esteemed graduate program, the first of its kind in the world, the CEE provides an opportunity to reconnect.

“It really is like a homecoming,” Puccio said. “At the same time, this conference is open to anyone who sees him or herself as a creativity expert and wants a high level of dialogue with similar professionals.”

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