UArts Announces Undergraduate Collaboration with Thomas Jefferson University

July 16, 2020


two art students drawing and two medical students looking at a laptop screen

University of the Arts and Thomas Jefferson University announced on July 16, 2020, that they will be partnering on new course offerings for undergraduate students this fall. Leadership at both institutions came to an agreement, in order to further their creativity-focused curricula, that undergraduate students from either university will be able to take select courses at the other institution at no additional cost.

In a post-pandemic world, I believe that creativity will be the most essential skill our students need for success and that life as we know it will be shaped and defined by it.
-UArts President and CEO David Yager

Throughout its more than 140-year history, UArts has educated generations of groundbreaking artists, performers, designers and creative leaders; in 2018, it became the first university in the U.S. to offer a PhD in Creativity. Just this year, Jefferson announced a creativity core curriculum for undergraduates, teaching the human skills of empathy, creativity, design thinking and compassion.

“In a post-pandemic world, I believe that creativity will be the most essential skill our students need for success and that life as we know it will be shaped and defined by it,” said David Yager, President and CEO of University of the Arts. “Those who employ it will challenge entrenched assumptions and conventions, seek and establish the meaning of chaos, loss and tragedy—of which our times have delivered more than their share—and demonstrate the resilience gained through the trait which makes us human: creativity. We could not be more pleased to expand our partnership with Jefferson in meaningful ways that demonstrate the relevance creativity holds for all disciplines.” 

“In University of the Arts, we have an academic partner aligned with our belief that cultivating creativity in students is vital to impactful 21st century education,” said Mark L. Tykocinski, MD, executive vice president of academic affairs and provost of Thomas Jefferson University. 

This is not the first or only collaboration between the two institutions. Jefferson has agreed to serve as an advisor to UArts on health protocols related to a safe reopening of the Center City Philadelphia campus, in addition to a longstanding partnership with Jefferson’s Department of Family and Community Medicine for primary care services for UArts students.

“This partnership will not only allow for unique curricular experiences for our students, but will accelerate the ways in which our communities are able to share knowledge and ideas for future collaborations,” said Carol Graney, vice president for academic affairs at UArts.

UArts and Jefferson hope that this partnership will also foster a deeper level of collaboration among faculty members. The institutions recently collaborated on a joint research proposal for the use of virtual reality modeling to identify and improve design flaws associated with physician burnout in academic Emergency Department settings, based in Jefferson’s Emergency Medicine department and Health Design Lab, and leveraging UArts’ new Center for Immersive Media.

“I believe that once we take down the walls between our institutions, our students and faculty will find a hundred new ways to collaborate,” said Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, president of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health. “The future of higher education, and indeed of professional work, depends on the freedom to work across traditional disciplines, indeed to redefine what's possible.”

The expansion of these unique collaborations is bringing transdisciplinary study to the forefront in Philadelphia. Exploring the intersections among art, science and the human experience will not only benefit student artists and students of medicine and science, but also the communities which they serve.

uarts hamilton hall and thomas jefferson university building