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GPI - Sarah Cole, Professor of Communication, Media, and Performance

A woman wearing a purple shirt and green cardigan standing in front of grass
Courtesy of Framingham State

By Sophia Oppedisano

Editorial Staff

What is your academic and professional background?

I went to school at the University of Maine at Orono for two years and then I transferred to Kansas State University. I went there for technical theater and I was one of the few women to do that, so they offered me a scholarship. I got my master’s there as well and I got my Ph.D. at the Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio - it was a low-residency program - and I have been working here for over 20 years. 

What is your favorite artistic medium?

Theater! I really do love the storytelling and I love the new stuff that’s coming out. … There are some really great musicals coming out and also the technical theater of it - the projections and stuff like that - the technical theater is bursting wide open in terms of what we can do and the magic we can create.

What are your hobbies?

I do pottery! I just bought a kiln, actually. I do painting and I care for my silly dogs and my bird.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Probably when my first play was selected to be read at the Women's Playwrights Theatre Festival in Stockholm, Sweden. It was called “Aftermath.” I got some really good responses from that show and it never quite made it where it needs to be, but, you know, I got several readings in New York and I went through the whole process with it.

What are your goals as a communication arts professor?

I would love for students to be comfortable with their voices. I think that being able to express how you feel and why you feel the way you feel is super important. There's more than one way to get to something and nothing is a straight line. At least in my life, it hasn't been, so, you know, just own your voice. Be kind. … I realized that I think the biggest thing I see with students when they come in, is they're so worried about being right and you don’t have to do that. You're going to be right if you just practice the critical thought. If you practice your critical thought and your lateral thoughts, then anything you do, you're going to have a good reason for doing it, and it's going to get you where you want to be.

What is the importance of creativity for students?

Let me see. You’ve got a whole semester? It's one of the classes that I teach and I actually got my Ph.D. partly in the creative process. But what's the importance of creativity? I mean, isn't that what living is about? Isn't it being able to express ourselves and being able to be curious and try new things even if we fail? … And then learning from that - that's the important thing. Creative thinking can offer you multiple perspectives to approach an issue from. How wonderful is it to be able to arrive at an answer in many different ways? It gives you more flexibility and room to explore your passions.

What advice would you give your students?

Follow your heart. Seriously.



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