Susan Russell portrait

Susan Russell
Associate Professor of Theatre

Helping students develop better listening, reflecting, and decision-making skills, and helping medical students improve communication techniques with patients — these are two objectives theater professor Susan Russell has for her 2017-18 joint TLT Faculty Fellows and C-PAD (Center for Arts and Design Pedagogy) project.

The intention of this project will be to consistently open dialogues about diversity and inclusion inside and outside of the classroom through personal storytelling, and the stories gathered by the platform have the option of being “stored” at Pattee as part of The Human Library Project. The application of these stories as professional development rubrics in any course curriculum will add to the multi-level, multi-community, and multi-generational approach of the All In Initiative.

For the first part of the project, recognizable Penn State student leaders will be guided through personal and collective inquiry into the thoughts that form cultural connections and inclusions/exclusions, resulting in videos for a Moral Moments program built on the four pillars of Morals, Ethics, Actions, and Faith. Russell would like to see this program included in freshman seminars or new student orientations, and eventually become part of a multi-year focus on building students’ cultural competency.

The companion medical student component of her fellowship would involve using video to help students at Hershey Medical School develop skills for more empathetic interactions with patients. The focus on six techniques — face, body, gesture, sound, movement, and speed — as well as fundamental principles and practices of empathetic engagement, would bring together teaching and learning in a unique and compelling way.

TLT Team:
Crystal Ramsay (lead)
Zach Lonsinger
Dan Getz

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