The Authentic Self: Becoming an Instrument of Change

Fall 2021
Winter 2022
Spring 2022
Junior - Senior
Class Size: 43
8 12 Credits per quarter
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Taught by

This program is now meeting fully in-person instead of hybrid. Contact the faculty with any questions.

You are the most powerful and versatile tool you have. Do you know who are you and what you stand for?  Is that who you want to be? How can you use your presence as an instrument of change? How do you know what you evoke/provoke in others?  How do you move in the world with awareness of your authentic self? The ability to communicate and influence is crucial to our effectiveness as we move through many systems.  This program is designed for students who want to develop skills of self-knowledge and “use of self” as an instrument of social change.

Fall Quarter
We will use acting to assist us to observe carefully the nature of human feeling and interaction, and to use our observations to create insight in our audiences and ourselves; singing to make art out of breathing, to literally tune ourselves to the subtlest vibrations our bodies are capable of; songwriting to imagine words, rhythm, and melody together and to put forth our imaginations into public space; and human development theory to give us a frame for understanding self in context.

Fall quarter class sessions will be held entirely online using Zoom and Canvas. Students need a computer and reliable internet access to participate fully using Zoom. Canvas and Individual Assignments are Asynchronous/ Group work and Class meetings are Synchronous. Our substantial in person work will begin in winter and continue into spring; any in person work in fall will be minimal, optional, and depend on the state of the pandemic.

Winter Quarter

We will focus on how we present our authentic selves to the outside world. We will use theatrical mask-making, performance work, and presentation skills to explore exterior expressions of our interior selves. A major focus of this quarter will be to explore how we use ourselves to influence change.

Spring Quarter

We will focus on two person and dyadic systems as we asses ourselves in intimate communities. How do we form and sustain primary relationships? How do we take care of each other? How do we connect to in friendships, relationships and colleagueship? At the interpersonal level of system, boundaries are drawn between pairs: individual/individual, individual/subgroup, and individual/group. The goal of work at this level is to clarify the nature of the boundary, to understand the boundary between self and other, to define how often and with whom interaction takes place, and how exchanges of influence, information, occur across that boundary.

12 credits Spring quarter students taking the program for will engage in an additional 4 credit project related to working with dyadic systems. The project will include a research paper and a creative project using performing, media, and/or visual arts.

Students will be asked to develop goals for using their learning in their own work or life settings and to examine how we internalize our theories of influence into our stance as agents of change. There will be opportunities to show our individual presence and to experience the impact of that presence on others. Together these art forms facilitate both self-knowledge and social change. By combining theory and practice, students in will develop powerful skills in communications, empathy, and group dynamics. Credits will be awarded in arts and culture and psychology.


Fall 2021 Registration

upper division students only

Course Reference Numbers

Jr - Sr (8): 10194
Winter 2022 Registration

upper division students only

Course Reference Numbers

Jr - Sr (8): 20096
Spring 2022 Registration

Signature Required

students in spring must have been enrolled in the program for one previous quarter, either fall or winter.

Course Reference Numbers

Jr - Sr (12): 30090
Jr - Sr (8): 30091

Academic details

Preparatory For

psychology, performing arts

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$14 fall quarter per student for a theatre ticket to the play Until the Flood at Harlequin Productions in Olympia

$20 winter quarter to cover workshops in visual art and mask making;

$30 spring quarter for the cost of a theater field trip.


In Person or Remote
In Person (F)
In Person (W)
In Person (S)
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SEM 2 B2107 - Seminar