Theatre and Performance Studies News

Margaret Baldwin Wins Teaching Award

Margaret Baldwin, senior lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, wins the Felton Jenkins Jr. Hall of Fame 2016 Regents’ Teaching Excellence Award for Regional and State Universities.  The University System of Georgia Board of Regents review committee was impressed with Baldwin’s innovative approach to teaching, and wrote, “You stood out to the committee because you use theater to promote global learning and multicultural teaching, you grasp and apply the concept of assessing learning outcomes to promote success of students, and you serve as a mentor to both faculty and students at Kennesaw State University.” She was unanimously chosen as the award winner by the committee. We talked with Margaret about her award:

Q. What does this award mean to you?
A. I am honored and thrilled to receive this award and to see this testament to the power of theatre, and the arts in general, as vehicles for engaged learning. In the arts, we teach skills essential to prepare all students for successful work and civic life beyond college. We employ teaching practices seen as essential to prepare students for successful work and civic life beyond college: hands-on learning, collaboration, critical thinking, communication, global perspectives and community engagement.

Q. What advice would you give to educators?
A. Students learn by doing, so the big question is “how do you make the classroom a site for engaged learning?” The basic tools of theatre are really great for teaching and learning. We can take a written text––something hard for students to access––and by doing exercises that get the students up on their feet and into their bodies, they can learn those plays and and embody those concepts in ways that help them learn more deeply.  It’s a basic tenant of performance studies that I didn’t know about until I came to KSU; it is embodied learning.

Q. Would you like to recognize any mentors?
A. When I was at graduate school at University of Iowa, Erik Ehn, Anne Bogart, and Naomi Iizuka definitely inspired and influenced me. Karen Robinson has been a great mentor and collaborator at KSU. We work together to discover the connection between theatre and global learning, and those intersections where the theatre becomes the seed for conversation, dialogue, and mutual exchange that’s meaningful and cross-cultural. That investigation is something that we’ve done together over the last ten years, and it’s changed and expanded my vision of what theatre can and should do. We always ask, “How do you take it beyond the theatre? How do you take it into the world?” 

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