College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Life Research Center

301 Sabin Hall
(319) 273-6449

Gary Gute, Director
Deanne Gute, Program Coordinator
Crystal Chariton, Graduate Assistant
Ashlyn Spies, Graduate Assistant
Elizabeth Collins, Graduate Assistant

CLRC team Core faculty and students of the Creative Life Research Center:

  Back row: Research assistants Elijah Seay (Psychology), Blake Findley (Psychology and Spanish), Dana Potter (Art), Carl Reitz (Biology), and Zach Garlinghouse (Psychology).
 Front row: Graduate assistant Elizabeth Collins (English), program coordinator Deanne Gute, director Gary Gute, and graduate assistants Crystal Chariton (Physical Education) and Ashlyn Spies (School Counseling).

The mission of the Creative Life Research Center (CLRC), established in August of 2013, is building lives of meaning through the processes, places, and products of creativity.  Defining creativity as solving problems in ways that are novel, useful, and appropriate, the center aims to forge interdisciplinary opportunities for inquiry, engagement, and outreach for students, for faculty,and for the community.

Interdisciplinary Advisory Team

Andy Anderson, Assistant Professor of Management

Steve Carignan, Associate Dean Special Programs/Executive Director GBPAC

Jonathon Chenoweth, Associate Professor of Music

Gowri Betrabet Guwaldi, Associate Professor of Interior Design

Benjamin Forsyth, Assistant Professor of Educational Psych and Foundations

Jessica Moon, Director, University Honors Program

Michelle Tichy, Assistant Professor of Educational Psych and Foundations

Christy Twait, Assistant Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs

Barbara Weeg, Associate Professor and Reference Librarian

Jeff Weld, Director, Iowa Math and Science Education Partnership

Affiliate Faculty

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management, Claremont Graduate University

Center Highlights

Core principle:  Central to the CLRC’s operation is that creativity is not exclusive to any one domain, but essential to all.  An embodiment of UNI’s larger mission, the center will focus on inquiry, engagement, and outreach that helps provide transformative learning experiences that inspire students to embrace challenge, engage in critical inquiry and creative thought, and contribute to society.

Vision:  As a center for inquiry, the CLRC aspires to bring the university national recognition as a nerve center for creativity research. The center will create practical laboratories in which students learn skills for increasing engagement and, ultimately, improve their learning. The center will use face-to-face and electronic media outreach to educate state-wide, national, and international audiences about the role and power of creativity in positively shaping people’s lives and the systems within which they live.

Campus goals:

  • Creating new recruiting tools enabling UNI to promote exceptional undergraduate and graduate student opportunities for research; faculty-student collaboration; program evaluation and event planning; and exposure to renowned scholars, educators, inventors, artists, and entrepreneurs via campus conferences, guest lectures, and TEDx events.
  • Helping develop the creative potential of the future professionals in all the domains in which UNI students currently choose their majors.
  • Facilitating interdisciplinary partnerships, research projects, and faculty development opportunities that will serve to energize instruction and scholarship around UNI’s mission.
  • Creating new opportunities to attract public and private donations and grant funding.
  • Testing potentially transformative instructional strategies based on positive psychology precepts including flow, strengths, and creativity.
  • Providing planning and logistics for applying educational research and instructional innovation, for both academic and non-academic audiences, on campus, in the community, and in virtual environments.

Statewide impact:  The CLRC’s progress toward its goals will help demonstrate to UNI’s stakeholders the university’s resolve to innovate and to graduate students with the capacity to innovate. The CLRC is building partnerships with UNI’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning as well as the Center for Educational Transformation.  These relationships have the potential to create powerful alliances dedicated to helping solve the complex problems of PreK-12 education and preparing students to contribute novel, useful, and appropriate problem-solving to the culture and economy.