You Belong Here
So much is in store for you at Lesley University! Now that you’ve been accepted, RSVP for our exclusive celebration for new undergraduate and Threshold students for Saturday, April 27.
NewsNov 4, 2016

Professor Martha McKenna wins Fulbright to Korea

During her Fulbright, Dr. McKenna shared Lesley’s successes in arts education with Seoul community

As director of our Creativity Commons, University Professor Martha Barry McKenna knows the importance of integrating the arts in teaching and learning every day.

Martha McKenna
Professor Martha McKenna meets with leaders from the Seongbuk
Cultural Foundation.

She recently expanded her reach, as a Fulbright Specialist Scholar, traveling to Kookmin University in the Seongbuk district of Seoul, South Korea, to share information with graduate students, faculty and the arts community around using arts for community development and learning.

“I discovered that colleagues who live worlds apart geographically have much in common,” reflected Dr. McKenna, who has taught at Lesley for 30 years, “as we pursue our work in infusing creativity in teaching and learning.”

Whether she is talking about using museums and cultural institutions to teach graduate students, or creating patterns painted on sidewalks to help children build math and number sense, McKenna was able to draw on her experiences as a teacher and researcher to share what might be successful in Seongbuk. 

“I discovered Kookmin University’s significant work in using the arts for community development,” she said. “However, the university does not have a program to train artists in this work, so a program similar to Lesley’s Community Arts in Education could provide a model for training Korean community arts educators.”

Martha McKenna
Dr. McKenna (center) gathers with graduate students in art education
following the talk she gave on integrating creativity and the arts across
the curriculum.

Over the course of her fellowship, McKenna met with her Korean counterparts and presented a series of five lectures followed by workshops focused on integrating creativity and the arts into teaching and learning at the university, in K-12 schools and in the Seongbuk community. 

She also presented to graduate students in education on integrating creativity across disciplines, and shared ways to promote arts integration in classrooms through student engagement in the arts in their community. 

“Since the graduate students came from a variety of disciplines, I focused on how they might integrate the rich resources of Seoul’s museums – whether artistic, historical or scientific – into their curriculum and teaching,” she said.

Her Korean colleagues were particularly interested in strategies for integrating creativity into their work, and learning about Lesley’s Creativity Commons in University Hall, which is a shared space for scholars and students to explore of the role of innovation in teaching and learning.

In that vein, she presented to administrators and faculty at Kookmin’s Center for Teaching and Learning on designing a physical space to promote creativity and innovation across the community.

Martha McKenna
Kookmin University faculty participate in Dr. McKenna’s workshop on
“Creativity and Visual Literacy Across the University.”

“A unique aspect of the Creativity Commons is our studio/lab space,” noted McKenna, “where we imagine and explore together, design and construct, engage in critique, and exhibit, perform and publish our work.”

At the outset of the fellowship, McKenna met with area cultural leaders from the Seongbuk community to discuss engagement and development in the creative arts. She also gave a talk and workshop on community arts education for the Seongbuk Cultural Foundation, narrowing in on the importance of community arts internships.

The Fulbright Specialist Program sends U.S. faculty and professionals to serve as expert consultants on curriculum, faculty development, institutional planning, and related subjects at academic institutions in over 140 countries worldwide. For Dr. McKenna, the Fulbright experience was inspirational and rewarding. She continues to collaborate and share ideas with the administrators of Kookmin’s College of Arts.

“I feel extremely fortunate to have had this experience,” she said. “The kindness and shared sense of purpose of my colleagues at Kookmin University resulted in our accomplishing much during our two short weeks together in Korea.”