Professor Features

FPA Professor named ‘Best in the Berkshires’

Above, Dr. Lisa Donovan (right) listens at a meeting for the Berkshire Hill Internship Program. Below, with a teacher who traveled from Japan to attend the Higher Order Thinking Schools Institute in Connecticut, where Donovan was a faculty presenter.

From its artistic and cultural venues to numerous seasonal offerings and educational opportunities, Berkshire County has much to be proud of. This year, MCLA is pleased to announce that our own Dr. Lisa Donovan was named as the “Best Professor in the Berkshires” by the Berkshire Eagle, as part of the newspaper’s annual “Best of the Berkshires” designations.

A professor in our Fine and Performing Arts Department who leads our arts management bachelor’s degree program, Donovan was honored to be included in the reader’s choice awards.

“I love teaching at MCLA and having the opportunity to explore the intersections between classroom and community,” she said. “The arts management program has access to the abundant cultural assets of Berkshire County as a resource, and our students bring much to the community through their fieldwork, course assignments and internships.”

Donovan is actively involved in doing cross sector work across the region, as she uses the arts as a strategy to effect change.

This includes her participation in 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 nearby Pittsfield, Mass.

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.”

She added, “We have so much to be proud of in Berkshire County with arts, culture, historical and environmental assets. We need to ensure that these ‘pillars’ of Berkshire County are mirrored in our schools, and are moving toward the creation of a blueprint for arts education that will align with what makes Berkshire County unique.”

Because she is 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.

Recently, Donovan presented as a faculty member of the Higher Order Thinking Schools Institute in Connecticut. She also gave a keynote address at the “Creativity at the Core Conference” in San Jose, Calif., and was featured by the Virginia Arts Partners in Richmond, Va.

The possibilities for arts and arts management students to immerse themselves in arts of every kind are endless in Berkshire County.

“I’ve taught in a lot of different venues around the country, and nowhere else are there so many renowned arts and culture resources in one place that are so open to collaboration, and to internship and learning opportunities,” Donovan said. “I often feel like a kid in a candy shop.” 

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