Navigating pathways: A guide for the creative expression requirement


Illustration by Andrea Nebhut

A large portion of Trinity’s common curriculum system is devoted to something we call Approaches to Creation and Analysis. This section is thoroughly defined on our school’s website:

“In order to master the skills of analysis, research, and creation, students should demonstrate the ability to use the disciplinary approaches characteristic of the humanities, arts and creative disciplines, social and behavioral sciences, natural sciences, and quantitative disciplines.”

I remember exactly how intimidating Pathways felt as a first year, but, as an art major, one of the easiest things for me to check off was the creative expression requirement. It’s just one class, or three credit hours at Trinity, in the arts and creative disciplines. When I walked into my Drawing I class I was surprised to find it populated with upperclassmen. With a little over twenty students in the studio, I only found two other art majors and heaps of bad attitudes from students of different majors who obviously did not want to be taking a traditional art class.

Luckily for all of us, pathways expands our options. You shouldn’t suffer in a curriculum requirement you don’t enjoy, especially when there are so many options. Stretching your boundaries is a creed at the heart of Trinity University but that can and should be balanced with your personal interests and professional endeavors. Pathways states that the art requirement should deal with what sounds like fairly traditional and run of the mill art and music classes:

“Courses that enable students to create aesthetic artifacts or performances.” 

Despite this equally intimidating definition of creative expression, art and music are only two of the eight disciplines offered by Pathways. Let’s cover all of the options.


As a staple of the requirement, there are nearly a dozen intro-level art studio classes to choose from. If learning to draw, paint or sculpt isn’t on your collegiate bucket list, there are some lesser-known options. Bookbinding teaches you how to make your own sketchbooks and notepads by hand, from the paper inside to the binding on the spine. Photography I takes you inside the department’s fully outfitted dark room and teaches you priceless skills in film. The art department also offers an array of print classes ranging from traditional Lithography and Monotype to Screen Printing on posters and t-shirts.


If you’re a sophomore looking to accumulate some upper-division hours, then Greek and Roman Drama may be for you. The class covers tragedy and comedy, and examines the social, theatrical, and political values surrounding the plays. Students also get to try their own hand at adapting, directing, producing, or acting in a performance of a classic drama.


Interactive Multimedia Communication also offers upper division hours. This class deals with the conceptualizing and production of internet content. From web and game design to virtual promotions you can learn about the writing and editing that goes into this field and pick up some resume-boosting skills while you’re at it.


If you prefer to sharpen your writing abilities, the English department has you covered. Introduction to Non-Fiction Writing will drill theory and test your technique. Fiction Writing and Poetry Writing can fill our your personal portfolio with rhymes and short stories.


Busy engineering science majors need not worry about losing time. Engineering Design VII fulfills the creative expressions requirement while helping fill out the upper division hours required for the major. This is a capstone class that involves close advising and collaboration as well realistic design establishment, synthesis and constraint.

Human Communications

Public Speaking is an intro-level class that teaches an important life skill. Here, students can learn to adapt and prepare effective messages. If critical thinking and listening are up your alley, this is a good place to explore.


If you’d rather spend your time singing or playing an instrument, there are several combinations of music classes available to fill your needs. Each class is only one hour, so be sure to keep tally for the three hours required to complete creative expressions. The Trinity Choir, Chamber Singers, Symphony Orchestra, and Ensembles all produce incredible musical performances each year. Who else can say they were in a Handbell Ensemble in college?


Theatre is another staple of the creative expressions requirement, but they actually offer several options aside from acting and improv. Principles of Costume Construction is an introductory course where students learn how to pattern and drape actual costumes, as well as how to dye and paint fabric. If you’ve ever been interested in making scenery, designing lights or rolling up your sleeves to construct an effective stage set up then Introduction to Production Techniques, Principles of Design or Scene Design may be for you.

Don’t let the Creative Expressions requirement fool you. There are plenty of ways to flex your right-brain creativity inside and outside of the art studios at Trinity.