Our Educational Goals | St. Lawrence University Performance and Communication Arts

Our Educational Goals

The department’s curriculum is designed to enhance students’ competency in seven specific areas:

  • Reading texts: (with “texts” broadly defined to include written and oral texts, as well as visual and physical texts). Before graduating, majors must demonstrate the ability to attribute reasonable meanings to texts, as well as an understanding of why they attribute the meanings they do to texts.

  • Creativity: Before graduating, majors must demonstrate the ability to engage in creative problem-solving strategies and a facility in creative expression.

  • The production of knowledge: Before graduating, majors must demonstrate an understanding of what inquiry entails, the ability to initiate and successfully pursue a line of inquiry, and an understanding of knowledge as constructed, embodied in individuals, and embedded within larger structures of power that value different types of knowledge differently.

  • Audience-centered performance/communication: Before graduating, majors must demonstrate the ability to analyze an audience accurately and to adapt messages and performance/communication strategies to meet the exigencies of particular audiences.

  • Solo and collaborative endeavors: Before graduating, majors must demonstrate the ability to conceive and execute a solo project and the ability to collaborate successfully with others.

  • Critique and self-reflexivity: Before graduating, majors must demonstrate the ability to respond critically to others’ work in a manner that is informed, informative, constructive and humane, as well as the ability to engage in sustained and meaningful assessment of their own work and the processes involved in the generation of that work.

  • Communication and performance ethics: Before graduating, majors must demonstrate an understanding of the responsibility communicators/performers have to themselves, their audiences and society; the ability to interrogate the ethics underlying the communication/performance of others’ texts; and the ability to construct/communicate/perform texts in an ethical and responsible manner.

While some departmental courses address all of these competencies, most focus sustained energy on enhancing a few of them. The department assumes that growth is incremental, occurring over the course of the student’s completion of the major or minor.