Andrea Heilman is a Los Angles based educator and Designer (Scenic and Lighting) who has an accomplished freelance career that spans over 15 years. As a designer, she loves working on a wide range of projects, from art directing independent films and web series to designing site-specific theater and more traditional work. TD&T’s Design Issue, Summer 2018, featured Andrea’s set design for Anna in the Tropics at the Jungle Theater. Andrea has sought to engage with trauma-informed practices with student populations for many years, bringing this work into the arts and theater practices specifically. She recently gave the keynote for a series of workshops with the OISTAT Education Commission focusing on Wellbeing in Academia. She has taught at East Carolina University, The American University in Cairo, Susquehanna University, and is now serving as the Head of Design and Production at California Lutheran University.
Abstract title: STUDENT COVID-RELATED TRAUMA
Escalating numbers of students in undergraduate programs who have experienced complex trauma were noted before the pandemic. An international health crisis, the move to the forefront of racism and white supremacy, and the countless additional stressors and insecurities (financial, shelter, food, etc.) all impact on our current and future students in ways that we currently do not understand. This paper synthesizes the existing research regarding trauma-informed practices in undergraduate classrooms with suggestions and applications. Its methods are best suited for theatrical situations and on-going instruction rather than for general populations, short workshops, or intensive experiences. The integration of trauma-informed practices into theater classrooms should not feel as though the professor is learning an entirely new skillset, more that we are refining what they already have access to, using intentional tools, and equipping our students for success. The process of teaching students can seem incredibly daunting in digital or hybrid settings. Trauma-informed practices are applicable in your classroom tomorrow and in your long-term planning for the future.