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Communicaton, Collaboration, and Connection Across Differences

This participatory course is taught by Patricia (Patty) Raun, Director of the Center for Communicating Science at Virginia Tech, and Professor of Theatre, and Carolyn (Carrie) J. Kroehler, Associate Director of the Center for Communicating Science, instructor, biologist, and writer. Their work focuses on the use of the tools of the arts to develop communication skills, particularly in science and technology professionals, helping them discover ways to be more direct, personal, spontaneous, and responsive.

The course is intended to train students to communicate more effectively about their work in a variety of contexts. Areas of emphasis will include imagination, relaxation, observation, and concentration through improvisation. Written exercises will help students identify barriers to understanding, learn to see the work of others from new perspectives, and simplify their language without “dumbing down” their ideas. A greater awareness of the everyday tools of human interaction (tone of voice, body language, written and spoken word) will be gained through handouts, discussions, exercises, and improvisation. The students will develop their communicative abilities through careful observation, active class contribution, and committed participation.