January 2010 – July 2017
Collaboratory at Ringling College of Art and Design
The Collaboratory at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, is a learning environment where businesses, nonprofits, governments, and other entities work with Ringling College students across disciplines. Students are guided by faculty to plan, propose, and design creative solutions for a specific problem or challenge. This environment enhances student learning by providing a variety of real-world scenarios beyond what is possible from the traditional studio experience. Through the Collaboratory, students put their skills to work in a professional setting by providing businesses and brands with creative, innovative, and relevant solutions.
Strengthening the Impact
Why did The Patterson Foundation support this initiative?
What has been the Collaboratory’s impact?
The Collaboratory at Ringling College of Art and Design began operations in the summer of 2013. A few pilot projects were undertaken in the first year — while the organization was being established, staff and initial faculty supporters recruited, and clients informed about what was possible. Since then, the Collaboratory began offering services to clients and bringing students into the work, gradually developing the complex details of contract requirements for clients, how students would be compensated, what work students could display in their portfolios, etc.
In fall 2015, Ringling College President Larry Thompson made the Collaboratory Commitment to all incoming students: Every student of Ringling College will have the opportunity to participate in real-world, real-time client work through the Collaboratory during their four years in college.
How does the Collaboratory affect the Ringling College of Art and Design curriculum?
From the outset, the vision was that the Collaboratory would become an integral part of the Ringling College student experience. Since 2015, with the delivery of the Collaboratory Commitment, all Ringling College students have an opportunity to participate before they graduate. With the incorporation of Collaboratory elective classes in the Business of Art and Design program and the inclusion of Collaboratory projects into several other courses across departments at Ringling College, the process of integration is well underway.
The college further demonstrated its commitment to making the Collaboratory offerings a college-wide learning experience embedded throughout the curriculum by weaving the Collaboratory experience into its Quality Enhancement Plan submitted to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for accreditation evaluation. In addition, the Collaboratory, recognizing that its approach to experiential learning is challenging to some faculty more accustomed to the role of teacher/lecturer than guide/partner, has initiated training for interested faculty in how to conduct experiential learning.