A new approach to final exams Students give theater performances, read poetry, create displays

By Amy Huber, Editor –

Brandon Bouwkamp and Kendra Irvine were
two of the students in TH 202 Acting who
participated in Studio on Stage.

When thinking of final exams, people generally conjure up images of students sitting in a

room for two hours, number two pencil in hand, staring at the first question in horror while

everything leaned that semester slowly slips from their minds.

However, for some courses, the final consists of a presentation or performance.

For example, the students in Mary Tyler’s English 223 Poetry Writing Seminar do a

public poetry reading as their final exam.

The assignment was to present a three- to five-minute reading of poetry and talk about the

writing process.

“It doubled as a celebration of our poetry,” said Emily Bluffton, a student in the class, “so

we invited the public to come if they wanted to.”

Another student said he valued the experience.

“I specifically learned the importance of setting aside time for the creative process,” said

Michael Dietz. “I found a huge chunk of my voice…I really did.”

Students in Sheila Wahamaki’s Theater 202 Acting II and Tom Harryman’s Theater 204

Improvisation for the Actor class presented Studio on Stage, a series of short performances, some

of which were student-written.

Michael Deitz read his own poetry and discussed it for his final exam in ENG 223 Poetry Writing. – Photo by Amy Huber.

The event was billed as “where classroom meets stage,” according to Wahamaki.

She added that the performance is “a way of shining the light on students at the end of the


Another alternative final exam consists of displays created by students in Andy Wible’s

PHL 102 business ethics class and currently set up in the Overbrook Lobby.


Featured Image: Students in TH 204 Improvisation for the Actor, played the role of Mr. Know-It-All, providing on-the-spot answers to audience questions. They named their troupe Lowered Expectations. – Photo by Amy Huber.

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