Comments on the Research and Creative Activity Requirement
The following commentary aims to orient faculty who are interested in proposing Research and Creative courses. Before continuing, however, read the description of the Research and Creative Activity requirement in the new general education plan.
The general education plan says that a student taking a course that has been enriched or dedicated for Research and Creative Activity should be engaged in all OR some of the following activities depending upon whether the course is enriched or dedicated:
1. “An inquiry into, and a critical evaluation of, the information, ideas, and creative works and approaches that are central to that discipline.” In other words, the student will ANALYZE information, ideas, and previous scholarship or creative achievement in the discipline.
2. “The study of the particular methods of scholarly research or artistic creation used by faculty in that discipline.” Or, the student will STUDY METHODS involving disciplinary research or artistic creation.
3. “A personal experience of the process of synthesis resulting in the creation of knowledge or examples of artistic expression.” Differently again, the student will SYNTHESIZE the content or materials of study and create knowledge or some form of artistic expression. Note that the Research and Creative Activity component does not require the student to create new knowledge or some original example of artistic expression.
The courses that focus on the analysis of material OR on the methods of research or creative activity are appropriate candidates for enrichment. Dedicated courses in Research and Creative Activity should include all three activities. In this respect, it might be useful to think of the process of analysis and the study of method as prior to and necessary for the process of synthesis.
Students will gain some familiarity with analysis and/or synthesis in Breadth of Knowledge courses, but enriched and dedicated courses in Research and Creative Activity should emphasize a more intensive focus on research and creative skills. In particular, enriched—and especially, dedicated—courses in Research and Creative Activity should feature the development of student “products” (e.g., experiment, paper, performance) which are the result of one or more of the three activities listed above.
We expect to find a wide variety of approaches in Research and Creative Activity courses depending on the discipline. The processes of analysis and synthesis and the study of methodology broadly characterize research and creative activity in all disciplines taught at Ohio University. However, the General Education Council realizes that the activities and methods that constitute research and creative activity vary from discipline to discipline.
A note on independent study courses. Independent study courses may help satisfy the Research and Creativity Activity requirement only if the department guarantees that research or creative activity is a fixed requirement of the independent study. We advise that such courses should be distinguished from other independent study courses as independent study courses in research or creative activity. Such courses should be offered at a minimum of three credits if they are to count as dedicated for Research and Creative Activity.