The Westtown School Certificate Program promotes an interdisciplinary lens through which students design and experience their education. The Certificate denotes and honors students who have engaged in an intentional, organized, and well-documented arc of action-based learning and focused scholarship within a specific realm of inquiry.
The Certificate in Multidisciplinary Arts denotes artist-scholars who successfully build and complete a course of study and action that engages the arts to enact a better world. Through coursework, mentorship, collaboration, individualized study, research, performance opportunities, and responsible fieldwork, the arts hone essential human skills of critical thinking, communication, and empathy, and empower students to draw those skills out in other people (i.e., to empower others). Instead of seeing things as they are, the arts construct propositions for things as they ought to be. Students in Westtown’s Arts program use the arts to take radical leaps of faith artistically, academically, and spiritually to innovate solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.
Students pursuing the Certificate in Multidisciplinary Arts will design plans of study for an experience-based education that emphasizes a deliberate approach to artmaking. This Deep Dive requires activating the wisdom of a variety of fields to solve a problem and propose a solution using multidisciplinary artmaking.
Students will use Westtown’s resources to dig deep into their creative and academic curiosity to sharpen their imaginations and develop their practice of lifelong learners and seekers of continuous revelation.
Required Course Work
- A Plan of Study that utilizes Westtown’s academic and co-curricular offerings to support and complement a student’s line of artistic inquiry (more about the Plan of Study below).
- At least 2.5 credits of coursework in Westtown’s Upper School Arts Department with a grade of a B or above including Performing Arts Tutorial for performing artists and Studio Art Forum for visual artists.
- Project 1: Colloquium
- Students will present a preview of their project to a committee of relevant arts and academic faculty members in a Colloquium conversation. In this conversation, students will synthesize their experiences and visions into a dynamic and integrated discussion. Faculty members will provide constructive feedback on the student’s project to help the student prepare for the fall semester of their senior year. Using an individualized rubric, faculty members sitting on the Colloquium conversation will approve the student’s project.
- Project 2: Interview with an Expert
- Students must interview a professional or expert in their disciplinary field and transcribe the interview. Professionals will be identified with the support of the arts program director and deep dive coordinator.
- Project 3: Raw Showcase
- The Raw Showcase will allow the students to receive feedback on their project and will motivate students to assemble necessary materials for college applications, auditions, and/or portfolios.
- Project 4: Symposium
- Students will present or perform their projects as part of a symposium. The scope, audience, and location of the symposium will vary depending on the nature of the student projects.
- Capstone Project: Final Portfolio
- Artifacts, photographs, and interview transcripts will be curated by students into a published portfolio that will be submitted to the Westtown Library, featured in Westtown’s offices, delivered to college recruiters (to develop a reputation of competitiveness for college applicants who participate in this program at Westtown), sent to community partners, published on the school’s website, and supplied to students as a testament to their process.
Students will either participate in an arts-based trip to occur over spring break coordinated by faculty, or a community engagement experience of their own design. This trip will be designed to engage multidisciplinary Deep Dive students with the world around them. Students will experience arts and service institutions outside of West Chester in the interest of building ethical relationships and activating community resources to inform students’ artmaking. The school-sponsored off-campus immersion trips will rotate between Philadelphia/New York City in the first year, and Baltimore/Washington, D.C. in the second year. On these trips, students will attend performances, visit exhibits, and have meal-time lectures with local artists in each city.
Over a student’s junior and senior years, they will develop a culminating project in consultation with their arts program director and the Deep Dive coordinator. Culminating projects can include but are not limited to: a body of artwork, an installation, a film, an exhibit, a play script, a one-person show, a performance art happening, an original composition, a recital, a collection of performed poetry, etc. Culminating projects should synthesize insights from the required coursework and the off-campus immersion component.
Approval to Participate
In order for students to participate in this program, they must be endorsed by their advisor and class dean. Then, they must be interviewed by their artistic program director and the Multidisciplinary Arts Deep Dive coordinator. Students will be considered based on their academic record as assessed by the advisor and class dean, and their artistic vision and potential for proactivity, as assessed by the arts faculty.