Westview Productions

The Goals of Westview Productions

The philosophy behind this new way of learning is based on the work of students in the years between 1996-99 at Valdosta State University. It has shown to be an effective way of allowing students become hands on in absorbing the material that is presented to them in the classroom.

With this program, the students will almost automatically find a bond with each other and begin the process of obtaining and sharing knowledge in all formats. It gives opportunity for those who feel they have no voice and a chance to create one for themselves. Students that are taught go out into the world without voices may not find it until it is too late.

Westview Productions will lead students into the direction of not only learning the information, but learning to distribute the information to his or her peers. What has been lost in most educational areas is the ability of the students to share in the gathering of material and take part it how they can actively relay it to others.

The students are the teachers of the future, whether they do it in a classroom or in their own homes. They go on to teach the next generation what has happened in our country and give others an understanding of where we're going.

For years we have kept the door closed to students to be a part of the big picture in education. By letting them think they are just students with no rights to know anything is a crime to the institution. A wise man is one who understands that he may not be the wisest and the educators today must give students a key to the door of initiation, knowledge and pride in becoming better human beings in education.

 

A Brief History of Westview

Early Events

In 1997, twelve students and a professor with the courage to let it all happen, created a practice that would later become known as Westview Productions.

Race Matters

Dr. Ari Santas, Professor of Philosophy at Valdosta State University and students in his upper-level PHI-390 class entitled “The Philosophy of Cornel West,” brought a play entitled Race Matters to the stage of Powell Hall.  Written by student Tim Lee and played by students in the class along with the instructor, this event began a new approach to student-teacher interaction and learning.

The play, which spawned from the best selling book Race Matters written by Cornel West, portrayed students in an organization called HOPE, who formed to fight against racism at their college in the deep south. With Cornel West arriving to speak, the seven students found that they themselves would have problems controlling racism within their organization. Cornel West, played by Kendrick Dyer, comes in and saves the day by explaining the fallacies of race in a few lines from his book:

"...we talked about what race matters have meant in the American past and how much race matters in the American present. And I vowed to be more vigilant and virtuous in my efforts to meet the formidable challenges posed by Plato and DuBois. For me, it is an urgent question of power and morality; for others, it is an everyday matter of life and death."

With the help the African American Studies Program, headed by Dr. Shirley Hardin, the production was a success and the matters of race were about to be lifted from under the rocks of institutionalism. From there came other productions that would follow up on the subject of race in all aspects of Western society.

After the success of “Race Matters,” students in Philosophy and African American Studies continued to collaborate with Tim Lee and Dr. Ari Santas to produce a number of other events:

Racism 101

This play brought the setting of a classroom to the stage as students in the class entitled Racism 101: would learn more about the history of race and the attitudes that rise in the mist of fear and hate.

 STOP (Stopping the Oppression of a People)

Centered on the idea of collective thinking, this collaborative effort was the first of the seminars done to bring classes together in creating the unity in learning process. The seminar focused on how racism has implemented itself in mainstream America and examining ways to end the oppression of underprivileged ethnic groups.

 A Table Full of Issues

Once again the theatre comes into to play with the short production, A Table Full of Issues. This small but yet honest play takes students to the table of the fast food restaurant Dairy King. The characters, Willie, Kelsy and Paul sit discussing the different issues that plague their campus dealing with racism to sexism.

 

The Creation of Westview Productions

In Fall of 1999, Dr. Ari Santas brought together three different classes in an effort to prepare an entire week of plays, skits and seminars, starting with The Children of Racism and following up with The Miseducation of Racism and Bringing Racism to the Surface. These three productions would spark the formation of Westview Productions.

Dr. Ari Santas and Tim Lee united in a student- teacher relationship to provide the groundwork for the new way of discussing and distributing different ideas to a broader audience. It has been in our best efforts to create an atmosphere where students will want to communicate with one another and work towards a goal in learning and gaining a voice within the confines of scholarship. From the beginning it has been a labor of love working with students who are bursting to do more in their academics to make it apply to them on a more personal basis.

 

The Student Agenda

It is the student who must take the responsibility in gathering his or her ideas and preparing themselves for the assignments required, chosen and distributed in the class. Students will be delegated to different duties that will help in the efforts of assuring a successful production. It takes an individual and collaborative effort in order to bring the hard work of the class to life. For those students who prefer to work alone or in smaller groups it is important that your project reflect the same efforts as the class so that the goals are primarily the same. The motto "Searching for knowledge, truth and equality" we hope holds strong so that students will be searching deeper even when they leave college.

 Five Points in Progress

 1. Westview Productions is a pulling together of students and their ideas being channeled through different media pertaining to race, gender, religion, social and environmental issues in America.

 2. Through these media are the foundation of getting students involved in higher education on a level in which they become the teachers.

 3. Under Westview Productions, students will be able to be creative and share information from a Western philosophical point of view.

 4. The title is a manifestation of America, under all flags that exist in the social dynamics of our world today. It becomes the basis for a historical and ethical examination of problems that rise in Western culture.

 5. This will be a continuing effort for the classes of philosophy, as they unite and bring together ideas, talents and emotions in order to create answers for our ever-changing society.

 

"Searching for Knowledge, Truth and Equality"

This motto is the spirit of the entire effort in learning. It brings the message of looking deeper than we have already. The knowledge we have obtained may not be all the knowledge we need and the truth has been what others have told us. To find equality would the ultimate find. It is the one thing that has eluded us for centuries. The motto examines the philosophical, social, and historical areas and combines them into one mission. It is this mission that will lift the minds of students and encourage them the dig within themselves and find new meaning for learning.