A collaborative vision for transforming the art and design student experience

A collaborative vision for transforming the art and design student experience

Posted on July 12, 2013 by Judy Sedgeman

It takes a team to fully realize a vision. The vision for a Collaboratory at the Ringling College of Art and Design may have emerged from the creative thinking of Ringling College President Larry Thompson, but it only began to take form when The Patterson Foundation recognized it as transformative. As partners, Ringling and TPF set about building a team to make the dream come alive.

The idea and the name, Collaboratory, is an expression of developing partnerships among real-world clients and Ringling faculty and students. Those partnerships would create diverse opportunities for students to enter challenging, multidisciplinary experiences with clients looking for creative design thinking and bold ideas.

These experiences will be built into the curriculum, course-by-course, so they actually inspire and inform the for-credit learning. The dream is to involve every Ringling student in the process, so that they all graduate truly prepared for work in the world.

At its winter board meeting, the Ringling College Board of Trustees enthusiastically and unanimously signed off on the partnership with TPF, setting the stage for a national search for an Associate Vice President for Collaborative Enterprises to lead the Collaboratory. Internally, TPF and Ringling leadership started talking in depth with faculty and students, building enthusiasm for the change.

Engaging students with external entities during class projects is not a new concept for Ringling College faculty. There are numerous projects taking place every semester, each one initiated and organized by a faculty member. The work has just never been undertaken on a large scale, strategically designed to transform the entire curriculum, directed by a visionary strategy for the school.

Ringling's board endorsed the idea of a partnership working to create collaborative partnerships -- a journey that will keep TPF and Ringling learning together for the start-up years of this exciting new venture.


  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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