Osburn is Associate Director of CONNECT at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, which adapts theatrical training techniques to enhance the communication skills of engineering students. Vocal, physical, group, and written expression, content, decision-making, visual presentation, and cross-cultural communication are among the topics and skills addressed. A co-developer of the program, he has built a facilitation team from the performing arts, academia, and corporate training.
Since 2015 he has been Coordinator of Professional Development Workshops and Seminars, of which CONNECT is a core component. He was integral to a redesign of the program that consolidated it as an experience and made connections with the Center for Career Development, the Center for Writing, student organizations, and individual courses.
As Instructor in Drama and Dramatic Literature at New York University, he teaches Realism and Naturalism, Theory of Drama, Dramatic Figures and Archetypes, Theater of Tango, and Shakespeare on Film, about which he was interviewed on the podcast The State of Shakespeare: listen. He taught Drama and the News at The New School’s Eugene Lang College and was Visiting Assistant Professor of Drama at Vassar College, Preceptor in Expository Writing at NYU, and Assistant Director of the Center for Writing and Speaking and Team Teacher in the Program for Language Skills at the Cooper Union.
His classroom is a space of orchestrated performance that promotes dialogue, close reading, and creative interaction. Through panels, presentations, innovative writing exercises, and breakout sessions, he harnesses the strength and potential of individual students, grounding a subject in the essentials while dramatizing a range of perspectives and interpretations.
Osburn’s scholarship on theater and performance in law, journalism, and engineering education has appeared in Theatre Journal, American Journalism, International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, and The Journal of Business Strategy. He has reviewed books for Modern Drama (45:2, 46:1) and Theatre Journal (54.4, 56.1). His doctoral dissertation at NYU dealt with the news as a form of “continual drama.”
He has presented at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, American Society for Engineering Education, Mid-America Theatre Conference, Southwest/Texas and American Popular Culture Association, Theatres of Science: Crossovers and Confluence, Forum on Assessment in Arts Education, American Communication Association, Center for Engineering Education and Practice, Gateway/SUCCEED Project, and Product Development and Management Association.
He was Co-Principal Investigator, in 1999, on a National Science Foundation grant in support of CONNECT and was key to fulfilling the three-year federal grant that established the program in 1997.