Forum Theatre Presentation
Incorporating inter-active theatre techniques pioneered by Augusto Boal, current research on the barriers to women in STEM disciplines and interviews conducted across campus with female faculty and STEM administrators, a pilot scenario was written, rehearsed and presented at Auburn University’s Advance Auburn Best Practices for “Small Wins” Workshop. The scenario focused on issues related to mentoring, highlighting the challenges faced by both department chairs and female faculty with respect to the communication of clear expectations for tenure and promotion. Imbedded in the script were problems with the practices and behaviors of both individuals, intensified and underscored by the performances of the actors.
Forum Theatre is organized around the principles of Theatre of the Oppressed, which advocates for dialogue as a teaching and learning tool. Our goals in writing and presenting the scenario were to promote reflection and discussion, and to inspire possible solutions to the problems faced by the characters, including effective mentoring techniques for the chair and self –advocacy tools for the female faculty member.
Upon completion of the scene, workshop participants were divided into groups to discuss questions designed to
- assess instinctive reactions
- generate reflective responses and group discussion
- identify specific challenges and effective solutions to the mentoring process. The scene was re-enacted incorporating the audience’s suggestions. The participants debated a range of “best practices” for mentoring and advocacy and seemed enthusiastic about their potential for institutional transformation.
Last Updated: 11/1/2012