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A Message from Executive Director Laurie Baefsky

Congratulations to a2ru partners and friends on completing a robust academic year! I’m pleased to share our a2ru 2014-2015 Annual Report, which includes highlights from two conferences, grant updates, research news, governance and more. a2ru is poised to lead key work as we look towards a new phase of research and organizational development. The a2ru Executive Committee will convene a strategic planning meeting at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor later this summer to map out the next five years. We have more than "arrived" as an organization and it's an exciting place to be.
The first round of Mellon research wraps up this summer with the late August release of the Mellon Best Practices Guide. This will successfully complete our research director's three year term. Dr. Bruce Mackh be leaving a2ru on July 1, 2015 and taking on the role of Director of Arts and Culture Management at Michigan State University. We look forward to future collaborations with Dr. Mackh who will share best practices and applications of the Mellon research findings at the 2015 a2ru National Conference hosted by Virginia Tech November 8-11. 
Looking ahead a2ru hits the road this summer with stops being planned for: Washington, D.C., Virginia, California, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Utah. I'm looking forward to connecting with a2ru partners during these trips. Read on for more a2ru news. Arts forward! 
All the best,

a2ru Launches Webinar Series

The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) launched the first in a series of webinars on Thursday, April 23, 2015. The webinar was recorded as an mp3 and is available as an audio track via the a2ru Soundcloud page. The topic explored was "The Expanding Role of the Arts in Research Universities: Curricular and Co-Curricular Trends (Part I)." Seventy attendees attended the webinar.

The  panel of six concluded that the study and research of arts integration by a2ru in the past 2.5 years confirms the problem of siloed education. An arts-integrated interdisciplinary approach in higher education addresses this problem as it is focused on the development of the "whole" student via engaged learning that is inclusive of making and doing. The future is arts forward. 

Speakers at the premiere a2ru webinar included: Eric Beatty, Director of the Homewood Arts Program at Johns Hopkins University; Carmon Colangelo, Dean of the Sam Fox School of Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis; Lauren Lake, Chair of the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Alabama-Birmingham; Mark Law, Ph.D., Director of the Honors Program and Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Florida; Bruce Mackh, Ph.D., Mellon Research Project Director; and Deb Mexicotte, Program Director of Arts at Michigan. 
A second webinar in the a2ru Circuits series will take place in the fall. Stay tuned for date, time and registration information.

a2ru Mellon Best Practices Guide Now Underway

Current efforts mapping the role of the arts on research university campuses will be completed this summer, resulting in the publication of the Mellon Best Practices GuideMellon Research Project Director Dr. Bruce Mackh has completed 22 months of travel and interviews with 46 institutions. He is now writing the Mellon Best Practices Guide. This was supported by a three-year grant from The Andrew J. Mellon Foundation. This first round of Mellon funding expires on June 30, 2015. We have applied for a second round of funding to support the application and dissemination of identified best practices, along with support for new and established research, curricula, and practice in the arts on our campuses. 

2015 a2ru National Conference
November 8-11 
at Virginia Tech

The 2015 a2ru National Conference hosted by Virginia Tech will convene partners and allies to share, exchange and produce best practices in arts interdisciplinary teaching, learning and infrastructure; and will leverage partnership energy towards a cultural policy agenda. Information regarding conference registration will be available on the a2ru website in late June. The title of this year's a2ru National Conference is Groundworks: Improving and Supporting Practice in the Third Space. Information regarding this year's "working" conference will be posted on a2ru website. Check the dedicated event page on the a2ru website for more details in June.

Call for Participation in a2ru Committees:

In June, a2ru committees will be marking the end of their two-year terms of service. Partner commitment has been outstanding and a2ru would like to thank everyone who’s served. We appreciate your contribution to our national network and to the field. While most a2ru committee members are renewing for a second term, we anticipate a few openings. If you are interested in joining research or curricular/co-curricular committees, please contact Executive Director Laurie Baefsky.

a2ru Joins National Academy of Sciences Steering Group

The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities has been invited to join a National Academy of Sciences steering group exploring the integration of education in the humanities with science, engineering and medicine at the undergraduate and graduate levels. a2ru Executive Director Dr. Laurie Baefsky has accepted on behalf of a2ru’s 31 partner universities. The NAS steering group will meet twice in Washington, D.C. during the next six months to determine whether or not to pursue this study further.

a2ru Explores Peer Review Platform for Collaborative Scholarship

On June 9th the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) will convene key thought leaders from across the country to explore the possibility of developing a peer review platform for collaborative scholarship and research involving the arts, sciences, technology, the humanities, and other disciplines. The intersection of a variety of disciplines, which historically has had no stage upon to champion this work, is the impetus for this effort. This platform is intended to showcase arts-integrated interdisciplinary work and unify exemplars. This will allow academics to communicate the value and meaning of the work to a broad audience in a peer-reviewed space. The following attendees are confirmed: 
  • Laurie Baefsky, a2ru
  • Ivica Ico Bukvic, Virginia Tech/ICAT
  • Daragh Byrne, Carnegie Mellon University/XSEAD
  • Kevin Concannon, Virginia Tech
  • Sarah Bainter Cunningham, Virginia Commonwealth University VCUarts/a2ru
  • Lauren Fretz Thompson, a2ru
  • Kevin Hamilton, University of Illinois/SCALAR
  • Marc Herbert, Leonardo Journal /MITPress
  • Ben Knapp, Virginia Tech/ICAT/XSEAD
  • Anthony J. Kolenic, University of Florida
  • Carol LaFayette, Texas A&M/ SEAD/NSEAD
  • Chaz Lilly, University of Texas at Dallas/LEAF
  • Thanassis Rakakis, Carnegie Mellon University/XSEAD
  • David Ayman Shamma, Yahoo! Labs
  • Carol Strohecker, Rhode Island School of Design/SEAD
  • J.D. Talasek, National Academy of Science/LASER-DASER
  • Sha Xin Wei, Arizona State University

Becoming an a2ru Partner

Currently composed of 31 top-tier institutions, The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) is committed to transforming research universities in order to ensure the greatest possible institutional support for interdisciplinary research, curricula, programs and creative practice between the arts and other disciplines.

Partnership in a2ru remains open. For information on how to become a partner, as well as our Phase I actives and partner list, can be found by clicking here.
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