Foundation Award for Service

Carol Maples

Dr. Carol Maples

Theatre and Deance
College of Arts and Letters

I. Philosophy of Service

Service in its purest form is helping others for the greater good. Advocacy, an integral component of service, has also been a strong passion of mine. As an educator, the pillars of teaching, research, and service are essential areas that ultimately help others. Service became a significant area of contribution for me at Missouri State University. I believe the three pillars of our public affairs are all manifestations of service, permeating my work in both teaching and research. The values of ethical leadership and the building of relationships through cultural competence are the impetus for contributing learned knowledge and experience through community engagement. One of the highest forms of service is teaching. Inspiring students through the lens of our public affairs mission leads them into a lifetime of service for the greater good. Research informs both teaching and service by seeking to understand and find solutions that will help others. Service is a core component interwoven throughout my teaching and research, supporting every facet of my work at MSU. I believe one must serve and give to others in order to be a true leader.

II. Examples of service including service to University, discipline and community

My professional service is multifaceted throughout each level of the university and beyond. I believe a truly impactful and high profile service for MSU has been the work of Giving Voice. As an interactive theatre troupe that addresses issues of oppression, Giving Voice tackles challenging issues such as diversity and sexual assault. Giving Voice embodies the essence of the Missouri State University Public Affairs Mission as it promotes ethical leadership, cultural competence, and community engagement. In the fall of 2009, I was approached to help address diversity issues in response to the findings of a Harvard study called Voices of Diversity conducted at MSU. This study found, like in most predominately white institutions, that we needed to do better for our diverse students, many of whom feel marginalized. The pilot project culminated in Giving Voice, a presentation for the Academic Administrators Assembly in May 2010.

Theatre is a powerful tool to help people understand those who are different from them. The latest studies have shown that participants in diversity training need the opportunity to practice what has been learned. Most participants are reluctant to use what has been learned in training for fear of failure, making a situation worse, or possiblerepercussions. Giving Voice provides a chance to practice an intervention before a challenging situation actually happens in a classroom or elsewhere. Giving Voice developed diversity training with the crucial component of practice. Interactive theatre training is the basis for MSU’s Giving Voice, a troupe of university students employing a unique and engaging approach to confront oppression and address challenging interpersonal situations. Emphasizing the power of storytelling through various theatre exercises, Giving Voice was developed to confront prejudice and stereotypes. The engaging approach opens the often-difficult dialogue needed to improve the classroom or work environment for everyone. Giving Voice refers to this as courageous conversations. 

Giving Voice brings diversity training to a new level, improving cultural competence, and directly address issues of oppression, including micro-aggressions. Continued research and work with the Giving Voice Troupe has led to the development of six scenarios used for various diversity forums. As we develop new scenarios, we continually revise original scripts to meet current event challenges. This began in earnest with a revision we titled American History-Ferguson. Giving Voice recently expanded to the area of Title IX at the request of the associate provost. Research started in fall of 2014 and continued well into 2015. This particular topic did not lend itself to the usual singular scenario, so we developed several for a variety of forums and audiences. Each scenario addresses all too common occurrences of sexual harassment and assault and resulted in four new scenarios. The focus was on sexual assault and harassment with an emphasis on intervention, empowering audience members to be upstanders rather than bystanders. Since its launch in 2010, Giving Voice has presented at national conferences from San Diego to Washington, DC and has reached over 7,000 participants … so far.

My multifaceted service also includes department committees, such as personnel and searches, and coordinating events for high schools that raise the profiles of the Departments of Theatre and Dance and Communication, College of Arts and Letters, and Missouri State University. I have continuously served on numerous university committees, including as chair, that impact future educators. My service in this capacity extends well beyond the university, including state and national organizations. I am an active member and have served on the Board of Governors of the Speech and Theatre Association of Missouri (STAM), one of the largest organizations of its kind in the United States. After being elected as Vice President Elect, serving as Vice President, I then served as President, followed by serving on the Board as Past President. The President serves and is elected by speech and theatre educators representing middle and high schools, community colleges, and universities across the state. During my tenure as President, I worked closely with Missouri Thespians and the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education on two major issues affecting teacher certification and the support for fine arts in Missouri schools.

III. Future Commitment to Service

I will continue to serve on a variety of committees in my department, college, and the university. As the sole Coordinator for the BSE Speech and Theatre program, I represent the departments of Communication and Theatre and Dance on university level committees as a member of the Educator Preparation Provider Council (EPPC) and the BSED Secondary Oversight Committee. EPPC is the representative body to the Faculty Senate that defines professional education policies and procedures that ensure quality professional education programs at MSU.

Additionally, I will serve on the department’s Personnel, GPA Appeals, Curriculum, Production Selection, and Recruitment committees. I will also continue as a member and past president of STAM. Giving Voice will continue to hold forums for a variety of audiences at MSU and beyond, while refining two newly developed scenarios. Although my work with the troupe gives me hope for the future, there will always be a need for Giving Voice.

IV. Topics related to service for which you are available for presentations and/or consultations

  • Diversity issues: from subtle to overt, oppression is happening regularly in our classrooms and beyond…sometimes by us
  • Title IX issues: appropriate interaction, prevention, and how to support survivors
  • Teaching wonderfully diverse students
  • Building ensembles