Kwantlen’s Interdisciplinary Expressive Arts courses offer a unique approach to teaching and learning

Mon, Dec 3, 2012

 Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) is offering four unique courses in Interdisciplinary Expressive Arts (IDEA) in January, 2013. Focusing on the integration of personal and professional development, the courses use creative and innovative learning strategies to explore all domains of knowledge.

“In IDEA courses, students from all disciplines talk about and work on the things that matter,” says Tierney Wisniewski, winner of the 2012 Dean's Medal, faculty of arts, KPU. “We grow as people, we get to know each other at a level that is unusual in the university experience, and our ties extend past the posting of final grades. IDEA courses attract the kind of students who are prone to being engaged and involved citizens.”

IDEA courses ask foundational questions and pursue meaningful answers through the integration of three core values: self-awareness, empathy, and character development. Ross Laird, the developer of IDEA, describes self-awareness as what we know — about ourselves, our interests, our capacities. Empathy, in turn, is what we feel — toward others, toward the state of our world, toward nature. Character is what we do with our self-awareness and our empathy. Or, to put it another way: being, feeling, doing. These represent the core of IDEA: the whole enterprise of teaching and learning rendered down to the alchemy between three foundational parts of ourselves. Through learner-designed projects, individualized curriculum, purposeful play, and many other innovative approaches, IDEA courses create collaborative learning environments in which learners discover their own paths and purposes. Instructors build communities of real inquiry, creative engagement, and personal development within and beyond the classroom. IDEA courses promote university experiences that are reflective, individualized, and joyful.

The IDEA initiative arises from the recognition that beneath traditional academic cultures lies the authentic search for knowledge, purpose, and personal connection. IDEA courses support that search and encourage learners to follow it — wherever it may lead.

For more information on IDEA courses visit

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region for 30 years, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts and science, design, health, trades and technology, apprenticeships, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 18,000 students annually have a choice from over 200 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates and citations. Please visit:


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