Posting Date: December 9, 2009
QEP project focuses on Korean theatre and performance
Learning community students benefit from global focus
By Jarmea L. Boone
Students learn a traditional Korean dance from Min Kim (right)
Students perform their own five-minute plays
Jim Davis and Margaret Baldwin
Photos by Linda Tincher
Theatre and Performance Studies Lecturer Margaret Baldwin and Assistant Professor Jim Davis received a QEP grant for 2009-2010 for research and presentational materials for their project centered on Korean theater and performance traditions. The goals of the project reflect the purpose and ambition of KSU’s “Get Global” strategic plan of diversity appreciation.
To enhance the cultural components of their TPS 1101 and 1107 first-year learning community courses, Baldwin and Davis focused on fusing Korean studies and performance with the students’ final project requirements, in addition to writing and producing a public performance of a Korean folktale. Assistant Professor of Dance Min Kim also taught the students a traditional Korean dance.
“With KSU’s global focus, we wanted to tie the student projects to the current country of study,” says Baldwin. Davis adds, “Our goals were to use theater to access information about Korea. We wanted the students to know that theater is an academic pursuit. A lot of research and learning goes into it.”
As a part of the final projects, the 1101 and 1107 students were instructed to form groups of 10-12 and write, direct and perform their own five-minute plays. Baldwin says, “We wanted students to be inspired and get excited about their projects,” she says. “Putting on their own performances can be intimidating. They tend to not know where to start.”
As another segment of their QEP project, and to assist their students with the assignments, Baldwin and Davis oversaw the composition and performance of “The Hare’s Liver,” a Korean folktale, as part of “Year of Korea” Day. The students from TPS 1101 and 1107 attended. “We tried to keep the play as low-tech as humanly possible because we wanted to show that theater does not always have to be about spectacle,” says Davis. “The performance was inspiration for the students. They got to see that this project, as well as their own plays, could be done.”
Baldwin and Davis wanted to present different avenues of exploration for their students. “It has paid off,” says Baldwin. “This year, we’ve seen our students take more risks in their projects and delve deeper into the material.”
First-year student Minoo Bassery says, "Having the chance to rehearse outside of class and learn one another's strengths and capabilities was an eye opener, and it allowed me to appreciate my peers more than before. Thanks to the learning community, I now feel at home here at KSU."
The professors plan to continue to keep the country focus of their students’ final plays through next year. “There are two learning communities next fall and a course on global theater,” says Davis. “We want to reconfigure the courses, depending on the country of study, and put on another production.”