Psychology Professor Presented on "Performing Peace" Cluster

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dr. Sherri Pataki, Westminster College assistant professor of psychology, presented at the Institute for Academic Feminist Psychologists Jan. 26-27 in San Antonio.

The institute was a professional development workshop for faculty sponsored by the Society for the Psychology of Women, a division of the American Psychological Association.

Pataki's presentation, "Using Theatre to Promote Global Awareness of Violence against Women: The ‘Performing Peace' Cluster Course at Westminster College," outlined the recent cluster course she taught with Dr. Scott Mackenzie, associate professor of theatre.

Students learned about the situation in the Congo in Pataki's "Peace Studies Seminar" class, then, with direction from Mackenzie in the "Theatre and Social Engagement" class, created a short play or collection of scenes, monologues, or movement pieces around a central theme.

"Learning about such horrific violence and suffering is always difficult, but the theatre performance gives students an opportunity to take action and help address these issues in a tangible way," Pataki said.

"Both times we taught this cluster I was delighted with the inventiveness and passion the students bring to the material and the creative process," Mackenzie said.  "Most are not theatre students, but they jumped into theatre-making with tons of energy."

At Westminster, a cluster is two linked courses taught by at least two faculty members from different disciplines to the same group of students, offering opportunities to integrate knowledge and to develop into a community of learners. All students are required to take at least one cluster.

Pataki, who joined the faculty in 2004, earned an undergraduate degree from Allegheny College and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University.

Contact Pataki at (724) 946-7361 or email for additional information.

About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Westminster, a top-tier liberal arts college, ranks third in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster ranked 6th among liberal arts colleges in social mobility, according to the Washington Monthly College Guide, and is one of the most affordable national liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 376 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 42 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.

Dr. Sherri Pataki