Guaranteeing Grades Before Exams? Professor Priya Kannan Discusses Teaching Creativity to Our MBA's Using the City of Rome

Wednesday, August 1, 2018TOPICS: International

USD Professor Priya Kannan-Narasimhan and her MBA class in a classic theater in Rome
begin quoteMy endeavor was to change the way we teach students so that we can give students an opportunity to tap into their creative potential and address real-world problems with sustainable and creative solutions.

During spring break earlier this year, Professor Priya Kannan-Narasimhan taught a course in Rome titled 'Creative Thinking: Designing Sustainable Innovations,' where students used principles of Leonardo da Vinci to understand the creative process. To push students' creative efforts even further, she guaranteed their grades on the final exam. This novel course encouraged students to think outside of the box and produce some of the best work of their academic careers. Professor Priya shared the inspiration for this course and its subsequent student outcomes in an article with Inside Higher Ed. 

Article published by Inside Higher Ed:

A guided meditation on the word “empathy.” An ambidextrous drawing where a student used both hands to illustrate and write about the word “renaissance.” A video on the word “ingenuity” where the student spoke the entire final paper into Siri without typing. A violin background score with birds flying into the sky to explain the word “unknowable.”

These are examples of student final projects in an M.B.A. class titled Creative Thinking: Designing Sustainable Innovations that I taught in Rome and where we used principles of Leonardo da Vinci to understand the creative process. Many students in this class were specializing in finance, accounting, supply chain and other “hard” disciplines, and some were pursuing joint J.D. degrees. Thus, this was probably the first time in their careers that they had worked on a nontraditional final project.

As an educator in a business school, one of my deep concerns is that, despite an increasing emphasis on creativity and innovation in the business world, we do not emphasize this enough in our M.B.A. programs. In fact, to the contrary, our programs as whole tend to kill creativity as a result of the way we recruit students, structure classrooms and teach classes, and grade. My endeavor was to change the way we teach students so that we can give students an opportunity to tap into their creative potential and address real-world problems with sustainable and creative solutions.

Contact:

Renata Ramirez
renataramirez@sandiego.edu
(619) 260-4658