Program Overview

The Curb Scholars Program in Creative Enterprise & Public Leadership at Vanderbilt prepares students to invent and imagine, to develop and implement innovations, and to critically engage how innovation impacts the public good.

The Curb Scholars program is the first of its kind in the nation. Based on a deep respect for both academic andexperiential learning, our Scholars engage in creative practice workshops and leadership salons led by top faculty, artists, and executives, coupled withinternships and projects that build Scholars creative portfolios.

Modeled after the career of Mike Curb – philanthropist, founder of Curb Records, and former lieutenant governor of California – the program emphasizes fluency across private and public sectors, commitment to service, and a critical approach to decisions affecting the nations creative and cultural life.

Program Components

Our four-year Curb Scholarship program offers opportunities that build Scholars creative dexterity:

Creative Leadership Salons

Through salons, Curb Scholars engage in informal conversations and hands-on workshops with leaders from across the creative ecosystem. Students learn best when leaders animate their conversation with their tools of the trade and when students experience the creative process for themselves. Past guests include the co-creator of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, a Marc Jacobs fashion designer, a chef-entrepreneur, the lead designer of Hatch Showprint, Nashvilles Bike “czar,” Mr. Jalopy (a leader of the Maker Movement), and social entrepreneurs.

Creative Practice Workshops

Through creative practice workshops, Curb Scholars experiment with the creative process–problem solving, brainstorming, improvising, storytelling, asking provocative questions, synthesizing ideas, using humor, recombining materials and ideas, diagnosing problems, prototyping, and pitching their innovations.

Creative Campus Service

Curb Scholars develop a creative portfolio through their unique contributions to Vanderbilt’s creative campus–photographing or filming events on campus; hosting a creative campus radio show; blogging; designing webpages or websites; planning a festival or creative production; designing iPhone apps to solve campus problems; founding new technology-based student organizations, working within the healing arts at Vanderbilts Medical Center, and other activities contributing to Vanderbilts creative campus.

Public Leadership Case Studies

Through case studies, Curb Scholars explore the challenges of navigating the complex system of creative enterprise and expression–a system defined by globalization of cultures, emerging technologies, intellectual property rules, and changing demographics.

One-on-one Interviews with Leaders & Entrepreneurs

Curb Scholars interview top leaders and policy makers working in the arts, entertainment and media industries, technology, social enterprise, and the government to inform their understanding of creative careers and decision-making.

Summer Public Leadership Internship

Between their junior and senior years, Curb Scholars participate in a paid summer internship customized for their unique interests and talents.  The internship offers important on-the-job skill building and networking, and the opportunity to engage the policy context where Scholars will ultimately lead and innovate.

Senior Legacy Project

As seniors, Curb Scholars develop a unique creative project that harnesses their expertise and interests such as an entrepreneurial venture, a documentary, a new composition or production, a new social media platform, or a festival, and which contributes to the vitality of the campus community.

The Qualities of a Curb Scholar

A Curb Scholar…

…exercises a curatorial voice. Scholars organize pieces of reality to create new meaning for others through exhibitions, festivals, digital media, music compilations and written work.

…uses creative expression and enterprise to advance the public good. Scholars employ their unique passion and creative energies to serve others, build community, address public problems, and mobilize others toward common goals.

…is a catalyst and collaborator. Scholars thrive on bringing together diverse skill sets, perspectives, and interests toward producing something novel and useful.

…celebrates the process of discovery. Scholars take risks, embrace messiness, tolerate ambiguity, and delight in surprise.

…has a deep appreciation for workmanship, design, craft, beauty and heritage in addition to valuing novelty and the unconventional.