CRLT Gives Performance on "Faculty Advising Faculty"

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FIU faculty review skit at CRLT performance

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Faculty mentor pair working together

Acting and academics don’t usually go hand in hand. But a recent day of theater performances, sponsored by the School of Integrated Science and Humanity (SISH), and intended to promote understanding and awareness of the subtleties of gender and diversity bias in academia, received rave reviews.

The performances, given by the University of Michigan’s CRLT Players Theatre Program were welcomed as a great way to learn about these issues. Indeed, Florida International University professors and administrators praised the events as “outstanding,” “enlightening,” and “a novel way to stimulate thoughts and ideas.” The innovative performances were part of a National Science Foundation grant and partnership between FIU and UM.

With over 120 people attending, the afternoon skit Faculty Advising Faculty explored the junior/senior faculty mentoring process, and the nuanced dynamics that can promote or prevent effective mentoring relationships. One participant noted “mentoring takes time,” and that “people need to see it as a learned skill for how to give constructive and useful feedback.” Dr. Suzanna Rose, Executive Director of SISH, noted the benefit of faculty being “able to experience a second chance at candidly replaying the conversations and issues portrayed in the skits, which are often difficult situations to discuss in real life.”

The interactive performance emphasized the importance of understanding that faculty attitudes and behaviors can have a profound impact on gender bias and diversity issues, and that the need to create awareness and change is still relevant at universities today.

More on CRLT

Through performances, workshops, seminars, and individual consultations, the CRLT Theatre Program provides educators and administrators with an innovative and dynamic approach to sparking dialogue, promoting inclusivity, and effecting positive change inside and outside the classroom.

Here is a short video explaining what the CRLT players do:

http:/www.youtube.comwatch?v=f6pcK0odTcY

Evidence from the University of Michigan suggests that the climate theatre performances by the CRLT players have been effective at improving university climate and are valued highly by both men and women audience members (LaVaque-Manty, Steiger, & Stewart, 2007). According to post-performance evaluations, participants rated the performances as "very effective" at raising discussions about departmental gender dynamics, making comments such as that "this play made me immediately reflect on the dynamics among faculty in my own department and of course 'my' specific role in all of it." Reports from Michigan have also suggested that faculty members attending these performances altered their practices on the basis of the performance.

For more information on the CRLT Theatre Troupe see:

http:/www.crlt.umich.edutheatre/index.php