ROCK HILL, S.C. - Part of college life is developing a student’s creative side and providing a supportive environment for the student to unleash the imagination. Learning how to express that trait is the subject of "The Creative Habit" by Twyla Tharp, which was recently selected as the Common Book for incoming Winthrop University freshmen to read this summer.
The university’s 2007-08 Common Book is the fourth installment of the Common Book Project sponsored by University College. Serving on the book selection committee were faculty, staff, students and a representative from the York County Public Library.
Committee members believe the book will strike a chord with each reader, and that it offers unlimited possibilities for academic programming across each discipline and college. Jennifer Solomon, assistant dean of University College, believes the selection will help shape the college experiences of incoming freshmen. "The book encourages you to examine yourself and to explore ways to tap into your inner creativity. What a great way to encourage students to explore this important concept at the beginning of their college careers," Solomon said.
Tharp, touted as one of America’s greatest choreographers, began her career in 1965, and has created more than 130 dances for her company as well as for the Joffrey Ballet, The New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, London’s Royal Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. She has received two Emmy awards and a Tony award and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 1993. In addition, she was made an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1997.
In her second book, "The Creative Habit," Tharp discusses the need to make creativity a part of everyone’s life and the willingness to make it a habit. Complete with 32 practical exercises, the book encourages the reader to scratch for ideas, get out of a rut and get into a productive rhythm.
The Common Book Project is one of many programs designed to integrate Winthrop students into the university environment and provide a common academic experience. Incoming freshmen receive information about the book at orientation and read the book during the summer.
University College administrators and members of the Common Book Committee will spend this spring on programming for the book during the fall. Previously, programs have involved a lecture by a book’s subject, public art, and last year’s program that included audience participation and a 20-minute video featuring Winthrop professors, staff and students.
"Fostering creativity is what college is about," Solomon said. "This book and the related programs, presentations, and projects will help turn student spectators into student participants in the creative process."
For more information, contact University College at 803/323-3900.