FHASS Launches PACRE Graduate Certificate

In Fall 2023, the School of Humanities and Creativity in Sheridan’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences launched a new graduate certificate—the Program in Applied Creativity and Innovation (PACRE). PACRE is an interdisciplinary credential for mid-career professionals and recent undergraduate degree holders. This program extends the school’s highly successful Board Undergraduate Certificate (BUC) in Creativity and Creative Problem Solving. Whereas the BUC curriculum centres on creative thought, the PACRE curriculum centres on innovation.

Design Credit: Chris Ambedkar

PACRE is comprised of a series of courses initially conceptualized by professors Nathaniel Barr and Michael McNamara in collaboration with then Associate Dean Genevieve Amaral. Former Dean of FHASS Sean McNabney was also involved in the early development of the program. These courses are titled Creativity Studies, Problem-solving Methodologies, Enhancing Creative Performance, The Science of Human Behaviour and Innovation, Advanced Problem Solving, Becoming an Innovator, Strategic Storytelling for Influence and Impact, and Global Innovation in the 21st century.

Over the past year, the creativity team, including professors Barr and McNamara as well as professors Chris Ambedkar, Kasey Dunn, and program co-ordinator Joel Lopata, has worked tirelessly to bring these courses to life in anticipation of program launch. Professors Ambedkar and Dunn have recently reconceptualized one of the initial courses—Advanced Problem Solving—by holistically integrating equity, diversity, and inclusion principles into curriculum on socially responsible human-centred design. This course is renamed Creative Strategies for an Inclusive World.

The creativity team has also taken steps to enhance engagement using inclusive pedagogies more broadly. Anticipating multiple ability levels and varying student learning preferences, the team has prioritized multiple means of curriculum delivery. For example, they have foregrounded originally produced concept explainer and assignment walk-through video lessons as critical delivery methods. Providing accessible curriculum delivery methods like this enhances student engagement and lowers barriers to participation by delivering knowledge in a medium that modern students are used to consuming, in this case short-form explainer videos. Moreover, the creativity team has prioritized experiential learning in PACRE via a three-part practicum wherein students design, prototype, and test an innovation. The practicum itself is constructed for flexibility, with students choosing between intrapreneurial and entrepreneurial streams, and between social-leaning and commercial-leaning innovation types. The aim here is to provide students with options that cater to their unique disciplines and interests.

After several years of development and a great deal of success providing creativity education at the bachelor’s level, the core creativity team is excited to finally bring fresh new Creativity programming to Sheridan’s students via PACRE. This fall, the team welcomed a diverse initial cohort characterized by varying professional disciplines and academic backgrounds. The creativity team looks forward to bringing one of Sheridan’s signature subjects to these students in support of enhancing their creativity and innovation. We can’t wait to see them innovate.