Fondly referred to as “Doc” by his students, Dr. Craig Rosen, Professor of Theater/Coordinator of Academic Theater, has a connection with his students that goes beyond the classroom thanks to an edgy curriculum that opens them up to things they didn’t know existed. For this reason and more, he was selected as the 2017 Professor of the Year.
“I see my role as one that challenges students to remain open-minded when exploring different aspects of theater. Many students would rather not have
their belief system questioned, but art is meant to do just this – challenge the status quo. It’s not my job to change their beliefs but to encourage them to
consider alternative points-of-view,” Dr. Rosen said. “I hope my students incorporate this spirit of tolerance and open-mindedness into their lives as they realize the world is much larger than their own view.”
Dr. Rosen exposes students to theater professionals in several ways. He pushes them to take advantage of the Chicago theater market, where they can experience more worldly places and works. Honors students participate in post-show discussions with company members to gain a greater understanding and appreciation for theater.
He also hires artists from the Chicago theater community and area four-year colleges to work on the Academic Theater shows, which ultimately connects Moraine Valley students with professionals of all types, including scenic designers and costume designers. Students perform for these professionals, which adds quality to their shows and improves their acting. Theater students also are exposed to the professional work ethic expected of them, and they make connections that serve them well if they transfer to a four-year college or get involved in local theater.
As the coordinator of the Academic Theater Program, Dr. Rosen directs many of the productions and is involved in the auditions, which include a monologue. He incorporates creating a solid monologue in his Acting I and II classes, an activity he likens to practicing for an interview so they can step out with confidence when the time comes.
He created or oversaw the development of four new courses in theater and film as well as a practicum option allowing students to earn college credit if they perform in a production. His acting classrooms are high-energy, and his traditional classrooms use lecture and projects to keep students current. Dr. Rosen is trustworthy and easy to talk to, but mostly he is straight with his students. “I think they like that I’m nurturing but also really blunt,” he said. His nominator echoed that sentiment.
“Dr. Rosen isn’t the type of teacher to allow people to retake tests or turn papers in late. Some students think those are signs of bad teachers, but I think they make him great,” said a nominator. “Doc is the instructor I’ve found to be the fairest when grading. Even if he doesn’t agree with what I wrote, I know he’ll give me the grade I deserve. He’s possibly the most enthusiastic teacher on campus. He shows that he cares about all of his students.”
Outside of the classroom, Dr. Rosen can be credited with creating “Shakespeare under the Stars” 13 years ago. This summer production of a Shakespeare play is performed outside and usually draws approximately 750 audience members and 20 student/community actors. He also is the creative force behind the new Shakespeare Garden outside of the Fine and Performing Arts Center.
In addition to his work at Moraine Valley, Dr. Rosen has been an active member of the Illinois Articulation Initiative Theater Panel for the Illinois Community College Board. He is an active participant in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. He also has participated in panel discussions for the Illinois Theater Association.
“It’s a surprise and honor to be selected Professor of the Year by my peers, especially since I teach in such a small department,” he said. “Winning this award is evidence that our achievements and dedication will be recognized by the MVCC community, regardless of our department and profile.”