Little-known courses provide students with creative outlet

Caring Clowns (courtesy of Ryerson Journalism)

Caring Clowns (courtesy of Ryerson Journalism)

Ryerson offers courses that combine learning with fun: photography, fairytales and fantasies, history of modern propaganda for example. But what about the ones that aren’t like any course you’ve ever taken?

Here are a few uncommon courses and programs offered at Ryerson and Ryerson’s Chang School of Continuing Education:


Caring Clown (CSCC)

No “clowning” around — the program is just as it reads with an emphasis on caring. Its for older adults who want to make a difference into the lives of long-term care residents by bringing them “joy, laughter, and fun.”

“It’s not about doing tricks like people might expect, we do wear red noses with mismatched clothes … but we use our bodies to communicate with the residents,” said Lynda Del Grande, the academic coordinator and an instructor in the program. “It’s about humour and positive interaction, not entertainment.”

According to its website, the caring clown program is for students 50-years-old and up. Classes to choose from include: introduction to clown, strengthen your clown character, and the joy of dance. Once they’re prepared, each student clown must volunteer at least three times at various long-term care facilities in Toronto. There’s no degree when the program is complete, but students receive a certificate of achievement.


Binding and Finishing (CGRA 320)

On a bookshelf in third-year student Shelby Kane’s apartment, you will find a book that she bound and finished herself. You’ll have to look carefully; it’s hard to tell the difference between the professionally bound books on the shelf and hers.

Students who enrol in this course learn how to create a cover-to-cover book from scratch.

“It honestly felt like an arts and crafts class,” said Kane. “Every time I walked into the class, I had to remind myself, ‘Yes, Shelby, this is university,’ it didn’t seem like a typical class because it was weird — or should I say, different — than any class I’d taken before.”


Makeup and Wiggery (CTHP 312)

Through Ryerson’s theatre program, students are able to learn basic techniques of makeup and wig design in the classroom.

According to Peggy Shannon, chair of Ryerson’s theatre school, this hands-on course trains students to work in professional companies, large and small, around the world.

“We gauge our success by the success of our graduates,” Shannon said. “Are they working in an arts-related job? If so, then we have given them the correct knowledge and training to succeed.”


Dance-Master Class (THD 151)

This course is for students who are chosen through an audition process.

Without exams and written assignments, students literally dance their way to a credit. Each student takes about four hours of dance classes throughout the semester learning either ballet, jazz or modern dance.

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