91 Lessons in Empathy

Nicholas Sevigney

Spring 2022

My experience with Integrated Clusters started at their foundation as a Cluster Guide. The idea of rethinking our educational model was exciting and offered new paths in pedagogy I wanted to explore. The most productive work I have done in moving towards a cluster experience has been with the CPLC. The community reinforced my pedagogy, was pivotal in teaching successes during Covid, and supplied a resourceful and open group. My empathy for the student experience increased, I understand more than ever that the path and process to student projects are often more important than the project itself, and reinforced that the significance of a trusting community contributes to a productive learning environment.

I want to help students understand the process they experience creating a project is as important as the project results. This is why students reflecting on these outcomes on Eports/Plymouth Create websites has been so helpful. If a student creates the most fantastic project or makes a mistake and the result fails in some way they still reflect on the experience in some way. What went wrong? What would have changed that outcome? Did I need more research or experience to get the result I planned?

There were many discussions about fostering an empathetic community of trust to create positive learning experience in classes and facilities. The CPLC practice of open learning has been a substantial influence on my teaching and facilitating. Students with specific learning needs are always addressed and should include considerations of stressors such as finances, illness, family struggles, and schedule conflicts that students deal with. This is why I have created video tutorials that students can view at home, in class, and repeat them when needed. Videos I create also acknowledge there are other expert video tutorials that students can review and try on their own online. If students want to experiment with a process they discover I can always assist if the facilities exist! Flexibility needs to be built into student experiences as is practiced in all of the CPLC activities.

Here are some samplings of videos from AY 2021-22:

Due to Covid BFA Senior students chose to have their mid-year reviews on Zoom.


This is a greenware tutorial for all students enrolled in ceramics courses. This video is followed up on in class as well as with a brief quiz:


This video is about using a grinding wheel located in the ceramics studio. The information is also accessible through a QR code next to the equipment that links directly to this tutorial:


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