Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of Theatre
Michele Root-Bernstein
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Michele Root-Bernstein HeadshotAssistant Professor
Creative Imagination

Michele Root-Bernstein studies creative imagination across the arts and sciences, with particular attention to the thinking skills common to all disciplines. She is co-author with Robert Root-Bernstein of Sparks of Genius, The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World's Most Creative People (Houghton Mifflin, 1999). Together, Bob and Michele lecture and consult widely on thinking tools, creative process, polymathy, and arts as the 4th “R” in education.

Dance and body thinking provide Michele an important focus for her process-oriented approach to trans-disciplinary learning and creating. Over the past decade she has worked with dance educator Diane Newman and her advanced composition class at the Happendance School in Okemos, Michigan and with Lynnette Overby, Professor of Dance at Michigan State University, on various workshops and related projects. As Kennedy Center Teaching Artists, Michele and Lynnette co-present the workshop, “Thinking Tools and the Multi-Disciplinary Imagination: Exploring Abstraction in Haiku and Dance,” as part of the Kennedy Center’s Partner’s in Education Program. To book, write Michele at rootber3@msu.edu)

Michele is currently a member of an interdisciplinary research group at Michigan State University interested in cultural creativity. As part of that team she received a Faculty Incentive Grant in 2008 for the research project, Art Class and the High-Tech Entrepreneur: Is There a Connection?Other current research and writing focuses on the invention of imaginary worlds in childhood and adulthood.

In addition, Michele has written about the history of popular theater in eighteenth-century France. As part of her own trans-disciplinary learning and creating, she also publishes personal essays and haiku. Michele received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1975 and, as a Danforth scholar, a Ph.D. in history from Princeton University in 1981.