Professor Mathes awarded for creative thinking project

By Natalie Urquiza

Kimberly Mathes was awarded the Maricopa Institute for Learning Research Fellowship award on March 24.

Mathes is a professor at Glendale Community College, who teaches English and Creative Writing. She was awarded by the The Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction (MCLI) by the Division of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs for her project, which she has just began working on.

“I found out by email. We were notified by the district offices for all of the Maricopa schools through email. I literally jumped up and down with joy,” Mathes said.

Mathes and Sagarika Dash both representing GCC for the projects they have been currently working on. Mathes’ project is to see how creative thinking and creative-thinking processes can be used to compliment analytical and critical thinking in the composition classroom.

“My main goal is to see if using creative thinking strategies will get students more comfortable and confident with college writing and critical thinking and reading,” Mathes said. “I want to see how creativity complements analysis. Usually, the two types of thinking are separated in the classroom. I want to bring them together.”

With all this work going coming to effect, Mathes feels that her project chose her instead of her choosing the project.

“As a person who is more naturally inclined to creative thinking (instead of analytical thinking), I have been thinking about it for years. I don’t understand why critical thinking is so much more privileged in academia (as it is) when many people are more naturally creative thinkers than critical or analytical thinkers. It seems to me that we want students thinking in all possible ways, including creatively.”

It is pretty cool to get an award such as Mathes have for a project she feels so strongly about.

She really wants to show everyone that creative thinking is okay when some teachers see creative thinking as wrong and only allow students to think in an analytical way.

The Maricopa Institute for Learning Research Fellowship (MILRF) is a fellowship for residential faculty in any discipline who are interested in examining significant issues in their teaching fields and contributing to the scholarship of teaching and learning through classroom research projects.

Its secondary purpose is to create a community of scholars that will engage in conversations about the scholarship of teaching and learning, coming off the Maricopa Community College website.

The way the Mathes won this award is amazing because she truly wants to help students and she wants to see her students and other students think in different ways.

“I am so excited to see what comes of this project,” Mathes said. She should be excited to see where her project might do for others. Mathes excited to see were her project might go but she is just beginning this project. Mathes said that her project will not be done until a year from now. “It is really cool and awesome for her to win this award. I’m glad she got to win it,” Tomas Lamca, a student at GCC, said.

Since she barely started her way to this project, she just had her first meeting about it and looks to progress with her project. When asked if there were any real changes to her development so far she said, “I have to teach ENG 102 in the fall as well as the spring to stay on track with the timing.”

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