Aug. 1, 2017
NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is proud to announce that Dr. Lisa Donovan, professor of fine and performing arts and arts management, was recognized as the “Best Professor in the Berkshires” by the Berkshire Eagle.
Donovan and the other winners – who were selected by Berkshire Eagle readers – will be recognized in a celebration at a “Best of the Berkshires” hometown block party on Thursday, Aug. 3, 4:30-7:30 p.m., at the Eagle’s headquarters in the Clock Tower Building at 75 S. Church St., in Pittsfield. The gathering is being presented by the newspaper’s presenting sponsor, Berkshire Bank.
“I am completely honored to be included in Best of the Berkshires! I love Berkshire County and am invested in aligning my teaching and work to contribute to the vibrant and creative community here,” Donovan said.
MCLA President James F. Birge said, “We are delighted that the Berkshire Eagle’s readers have recognized Dr. Lisa Donovan with this ‘Best of the Berkshires’ award. The honor is well-deserved. Her work both on and off of campus benefits the lives of many, with projects that extend across the county, the Commonwealth, and beyond, as she seeks to improve the lives of others through her many educational, arts-related endeavors.”
Donovan has been actively involved in doing cross sector work across the region, using the arts as a strategy to effect change. She is part of the Be RiversmART project, which is a finalist in the Artplace America grant competition. Working with arts management and environmental students in collaboration with Housatonic River Valley Association, the project seeks to develop a sense of stewardship for the Housatonic River and increase awareness of storm water runoff management in Pittsfield.

As one of MCLA’s Feigenbaum design fellows, she engages students in design thinking practices.

“Teaching arts management at MCLA has been a unique opportunity to show the powerful potential of the arts in creating change,” Donovan said. “Students learn the power of taking an idea into action and they put it into practice.”

A national expert on arts integration, Donovan is in demand across the county to share her knowledge of the field with other educators and educational organizations. Her work includes a recently released research paper on “Leveraging Change: Increasing Access to Rural Arts Education,” funded by a National Endowment of the Arts “Collective Impact” grant.

She shared the results of her research last fall; first at the Arts Education Partnership in Denver, Colo., and then in Iowa City, Iowa, at the first rural-focused, creative place-making conference in the United States followed by a national webinar posted on the NEA site.

In July, Donovan presented as a faculty member of the Higher Order Thinking Schools Institute in Connecticut. She also recently presented a keynote address at the Creativity at the Core Conference in San Jose, Calif. Later this month, she will be featured by the Virginia Arts Partners in Richmond, Va.

Last year Donovan worked with the Maine Department of Education on Creative Assessment—using the arts as a strategy for formative and summative assessments. In addition, she was a featured presenter at the Art Works for Virginia Renaissance, where she conducted two workshops on the role of evaluation in arts programming, and moderated a panel that examined ways policies impact arts education.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.
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