Visiting Instructor in Theatre Arts
From the Princeton Review:
Susan Daniels, who teaches theatre arts at her alma mater Mount Holyoke College, wants to encourage curiosity, inspire courage, and empower students to use their bodies, minds, and spirits when connecting with others.
The nature of her job requires flexibility in her teaching; this means being “open to what the students need, and sometimes it means pushing your planned agenda to the side and just ‘showing up’ for your students.” Her passion for her teaching and her compassion for her students is obvious, and students can tell that she is invested in their success. “I enjoy helping students reach a new level of understanding when they are onstage, backstage, or part of an audience.”
She currently teaches two classes at Mount Holyoke: Acting I and Public Speaking: Leadership Presence. Both draw on her professional theatre background and expertise (she has been an Actors Equity Association member for twenty-five years, and has also directed). The first class introduces the students to performance through a variety of improvisational exercises designed for developing basic acting techniques (and includes two performance projects); the second uses the same techniques that professional actors use to relax, focus their message, and connect with their audience, in order to explore the art and craft of public speaking. “My Public Speaking class is especially rewarding, as I teach women from all over the world how to powerfully and persuasively connect with their audience,” she says. One student says “her acting class should be the first one you should consider...no matter what your major.”
Her approach to teaching is “dynamic, supportive, and inclusive.” After she introduces a topic in class, students are encouraged to experience what they’ve learned and practice it, and are required to participate actively in each class and learn to give constructive feedback and effectively evaluate others. “We had so much fun in class while learning so much about acting and about ourselves. We juggled with different tactics, analyzed, observed other actors, and had a FANTASTIC TIME,” says a student.