The University Players’ 2016 production of “An Experiment with an Air Pump.”The University Players’ 2016 production of “An Experiment with an Air Pump.” Photo by Doug MacLellan

Course to explore the dramatic side of science

The Faculty of Science and the School of Dramatic Art are partnering to create a new communications course with an aim to help students develop important soft skills.

The second-year level course, “Staging Science,” will be offered for the first time during Intersession 2018.

“This is part of our new commitment to ensuring students have the ability to communicate science, in support of science literacy,” says Chris Houser, dean of science.

“It also represents an emerging collaboration between Science and FAHSS and our recognition of the importance that students take classes in the arts to be a better scientist.”

Students will use plays about science to explore debates around scientific ethics, intervention, and progress. Drama professor Michelle MacArthur, who will teach the course, says students can expect to develop communication skills, build personal confidence, and have an opportunity to tap into their creativity.

“Through lecture, class discussion, and hands-on activities, we will study these plays from various perspectives,” says Dr. MacArthur. “We’ll look at themes, aesthetics, and social context, and we’ll even get on our feet and try staging some scenes from them.”

The small, hands-on class is geared towards science students but there are spots reserved for drama majors as well. She says she hopes to facilitate some meaningful exchanges between the two disciplines, where students can learn from each other.

“You don't have to have any theatre experience to take this course, but I guarantee you, that by the end the students will develop an appreciation for the arts,” she says.

MacArthur co-taught an earlier iteration of this course to University of Toronto engineering students, and says she is excited to work with UWindsor science students.

“It was really rewarding to see non-drama students develop a love of theatre and bring new perspectives to the material,” says MacArthur. “By the end of the course, even the shyest students had come out of their shells and were performing scenes in front of an audience.”

Sara Elliott