Category: Huskies Forever Weekend

jennifer dineen speaks at clas experience 2016

CLAS Professor Reveals the Science of Political Surveys

jennifer dineen speaks at clas experience 2016
Public policy professor Jennifer Dineen speaks at the CLAS College Experience on October 21, 2016. (Bri Diaz/UConn Photo)

You might remember from a long-ago history class that in 1948, a young pollster named George Gallup found that Gov. Thomas Dewey won the presidential election—a prediction featured dramatically on the Chicago Tribune’s front page. Harry Truman, as we know, actually won.Read Full Story

Current Students Review Two Storrs Center Restaurants

If you haven’t checked out Storrs Center at UConn, you’re missing out on some seriously delicious meals. This Saturday during Huskies Forever Weekend, we invite you to explore UConn’s newest culinary hotspot during the Storrs Center Stroll.
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Reclaiming Creativity: A Conversation with Neag Professor Ron Beghetto

Creativity in education has become a global priority. How can we help students explore their creative art_NeagCreativityside—and empower them to solve global challenges—in an era of strict curricula, packed after-school schedules, and decreasing amounts of playtime in schools?

Dr. Ronald Beghetto, a professor at UConn’s Neag School of Education, held a conversation during Huskies Forever Weekend on the nature of creativity—and how to foster it in students.

By its very nature, creativity can’t be mandated—instead, we have to reclaim it. Here’s how.

So what is creativity, anyway?

Beghetto defines it as originality expressed within task constraints in context. As Miles Davis said, “There are no wrong notes in jazz, only notes in the wrong places.” So an original expression could be seen in classwork, as you see here:

art_NeagCreativity2

But because the student didn’t complete the task, it’s not creative. “We have to help students know when and how to be creative—to think creatively within the box,” said Beghetto.

Beghetto and his colleague developed the “4-C developmental model,” where people can progress from mini-c—the germ of an idea, maybe, or a fourth-grader’s science project—to little-c, in which a person receives feedback and begins putting the idea into practice. Add 10,000 hours of practice, more or less, and you become a Pro-C (a UConn graduate researcher, maybe, or a professional chef). Time, prestige, and game-changing discoveries can elevate a very few into legendary Big-C status. Creativity thus becomes a journey, a part of everyday life for anyone.

“Context matters,” said Benghetto. “You have to mind the message. Well-intended practices can kill ideas softly. Sometimes we get in the way of creativity, even if we don’t mean to.”

You might see this in a math class, when a teacher encourages a student to solve a math problem a certain way—even if the student arrives at the correct answer. “Creativity needs difference and diversity to survive,” he said. “What if, instead, a teacher gave her class a problem and asked how many different ways they could solve it? Imagine how much more you’d understand if you saw a problem solved 15 different ways.”

How to combat the tyranny of the lesson plan

The structure of the lesson plan—or of the endless parental schedule of lessons, games, and other extracurriculars—can also get in the way of creative thinking. When we’re focused on the curriculum, or the meeting, teachable moments disappear. How can we reclaim creativity when given so many constraints?

Be present. Help kids draw out questions, whether you’re in the car or in the classroom. There are, of course, still lessons to be learned and meetings that need to be attended—the key is balance.

Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity. This might mean having a core concept on your lesson plan, but having examples and content created by students. It might mean being late to your son’s game in order to pursue a question he asked. It might be admitting you’re wrong, being transparent about it, and asking your child or student for help.

Ask, “What if?” Instead of the more controlling “You should,” asking “What if?” turns a command into a possibility—and helps the child go from what is, to what could be.

How UConn is helping reclaim creativity

To help future educators, Beghetto and fellow UConn faculty have created the interdisciplinary minor in Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. The Neag School of Education has partnered with the School of Business, School of Engineering, and the School of Fine Arts to create the minor, which started its first classes this past semester.

Neag has also created an index to help schools look at opportunities for kids to generate ideas, putting them to work on their ideas, and eventually making an impact on the greater world, assessing what schools are doing and can do better.

35 Years of Herstory at UConn

This year marks the 35th anniversary of gender-based violence prevention programs at UConn. The Women’s Center and the Violence Against Women Prevention Program (VAWPP) will be hosting a reunion and celebration for all the alumni and current students who have worked hard to create change.Women's Center

Lauren Donais, who coordinates VAWPP, answered a few questions about the history—and future—of violence prevention programs at UConn.Read Full Story

The Hip Hop Revolution

The African American Alumni Council and the African American Cultural Center are hosting a Huskies Forever Weekend event for alumni and friends featuring Dr. Jeff Ogbar, a professor of history and the director of the Center for the Study of Popular Music at UConn.

Jeffrey Ogbar (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
Jeffrey Ogbar (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Want to know what’s in store? Dr. Ogbar was kind enough to answer a few questions about his award-winning book, Hip-Hop Revolution: The Culture and Politics of Rap.Read Full Story

Bubble Tea and Progressive Desserts with the Cultural Centers

Bubble tea from H.A. Cafe
Bubble tea from H.A. Cafe

What brings people together better than a shared meal—especially when it’s dessert? In the words of Angela Rola, founding and current director of the Asian American Cultural Center, “Food is the wonderful gatherer of people. It’s the one venue and medium that people of all different backgrounds will come together for.”

At Huskies Forever Weekend, the UConn Cultural Centers hope to appeal to the sweet teeth of attendees at the Progressive Desserts Party. At the event, alumni, friends and students will have the opportunity to sample a variety of tasty ethnic desserts, as well as learn about the great work the Cultural Centers are doing both on and off campus.

One unique dessert that will be offered by the Asian American Cultural Center is bubble tea, prepared by the H.A. Café in downtown Storrs. Never heard of bubble tea? We sat down with Ronald Liu ’11 (BUS) and Jessica Chiep ’12 (CAHRN), two owners of the H.A. Café, to get the inside scoop.

“Bubble tea has two facets,” say Ron and Jessica. “The first is the tea itself that comes in different fruit and creamy flavors. The second is the bubbles, or toppings, which can be any little surprises in the drink. The standard bubble is tapioca, a chewy gummy that tastes a little sweet and like caramel.”

Ronald Liu ’11 (BUS) and Jessica Chiep ’12 (CAHRN)
Ronald Liu ’11 (BUS) and Jessica Chiep ’12 (CAHRN)

Can’t wait until the Progressive Desserts Party to try some? Ron and Jessica provide a basic recipe and some pro-tips for making your own bubble tea at home:

  1. Buy a very strong black tea from any grocery store.
  2. Purchase tapioca pearls from your local Asian specialty grocery story.
  3. The pearls will be pre-packaged and can be multicolored, white or black.
    • PRO TIP: Black tapioca pearls are the most ideal.
  4. Head to the kitchen and brew your black tea.
    • PRO TIP: Double-brew your tea, or use four bags for one individual tea. The tea is the base, and most important part, of your drink.
  5. Boil some water and prepare the tapioca pearls according to the package instructions.
    • PRO TIP: For cold bubble tea, put the prepared tea in the freezer or fridge while your tapioca is cooking—you don’t want to dilute your tea.
  6. Once your tea is done, add cream and sugar to your individual taste.
  7. Grab a large cup and mix your tea and tapioca pearls
    • PRO TIP: Add the tapioca pearls before your tea.
  8. Stir, sip and enjoy!

During your Huskies Forever Weekend voyage, make sure to stop by the Progressive Dessert Party to learn more about UConn’s Cultural Centers, as well as sample H.A. Café’s bubble tea, and other delectable ethnic morsels.

Rainbow Center Welcomes Alumni with Open Arms

Rainbow CenterOne of the best parts of Huskies Forever Weekend is that alumni and friends have the chance to share their passion for UConn together. In this spirit of community, the Rainbow Center’s newly formed LGBTQIAA+ group invites those coming to Huskies Forever Weekend to meet and get to know this growing and welcoming part of #UConnNation.Read Full Story