Virginia Tech Magazine
College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
Taking the Heat


Can creativity be taught? That question, the faculty experts in these pages believe, carries the wrong inflection. Creativity is innate, and rather than taught, it must be animated, practiced, and emboldened.

Creativity takes many forms. At its very essence, one of these experts contends, creativity is problem solving: expressing a fictional character’s emotions, remaking the ancient art of music, following the lead of curiosity, reimagining the world.

Why nurture creativity on campus? Creativity leads to innovation; innovation, properly conceived and guided, leads to a better world. At Virginia Tech, students draw inspiration from the university’s motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). Their inventiveness serves society.

At this university, with its roots in the polytechnic tradition, faculty and students embrace the synergy of art and technology. The arts and humanities spark insights, while technology infuses traditionally creative disciplines with fresh energy and promise.

Crafting their own course of study, many students blend technology-based fields, such as computer science and engineering, with more arts-focused areas, such as music, cinema, theatre, and creative writing. They fuse ideas across disciplines into fresh constructions, inventing new approaches, tools, and even art forms.

For them, creativity is both the path to innovation—and a worthy aspiration in itself. “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” Albert Einstein once said. “Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

Led by Ivica Ico Bukvic (seated), the initial research and performance team of the Linux Laptop Orchestra fashioned speakers out of wooden salad bowls.

Orchestra Without Instruments

Autonomous discovery algorithms may help biologists better understand interactions within bird flocks and, eventually, the ideal swarm behavior for drones.

Reimagining the World

Animating the Past

Creativity on Stage

Running the Story Machine

Minecraft-Inspired Opera