a2ru December 2016 Newsletter
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A Message from Laurie Baefsky, Executive Director

Hello a2ru Partners and Friends,

December marks the close of a very full academic cycle. As we look toward finals and grading, a2ru thanks and bids farewell to our amazing executive intern, Willie Caldwell, on loan from a2ru partner institution, Virginia Tech. We wish him great success as he completes his MFA in Arts Administration this spring - we miss him already!

This fall has been a packed calendar of conferences and convenings, including our own national conference hosted by Dean Larry Kaptain and many friends at the University of Colorado Denver. Dennis Kratz, Dean of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas, who attended our national conference for the first time, noted, "We found the a2ru conference an environment of collaboration, with colleagues who share our commitment to unite the complementary forces of disciplined imagination and focused investigation at the heart of both artistic and scientific research." Our 2016 a2ru national conference was just that! One of our plenary panelists commented: "a2ru felt like a breath of intellectual fresh air!" Thanks to all 285 participants.

This month's newsletter includes our a2ru 2016 national conference wrap up, new blog from our research team, a short post by Ha Na Shin, a University of Michigan student stringer who attended MIT's recent Hacking Arts Festival on an a2ru student travel grant, a listing of current job postings, and an URGENT reminder to have your students apply immediately for a2ru's WATER student summit, February 8-11, 2017 - deadline is approaching December 9, and more.

As we reflect on the year just past and prepare for the new year ahead, I would like to take a moment to reiterate a2ru's core values.

a2ru values...
  • The arts as core to higher education
  • Deep disciplinary knowledge
  • Applied research in the arts
  • Interdisciplinary creativity
  • Durable collaboration
  • Diverse community
  • The research university as a driver toward a better world!
The staff of a2ru wishes all of you a safe and artful holiday season. Read on...
Warm regards,

Click Here to Apply Now Through December 9!
Calling all a2ru undergraduate and graduate students to participate in an intensive working summit with experts and students of all disciplines to explore and tackle grand challenges on the theme of WATER. Students will work with outstanding University of Florida faculty as well as featured guests including Janet Biggs, extreme videographer, and Rob Davies, Physicist/Climatologist. Open to undergraduate and graduate students of a2ru institutions, there is no fee to attend the summit; student or student’s institution is responsible for travel and board - most meals provided as part of the Summit experience.

No community on this planet is without its water-based challenges. Water-centric challenges are many, ranging from access and social justice issues in local and global contexts, to environmental degradation, to toxicological challenges, to saltwater incursion into freshwater, to sea level rise. Uniquely situated less than two hours from the Gulf Coast and from the Atlantic Ocean in an area known for its numerous freshwater springs, the University of Florida has great strength in local, regional, national, and international research and creative activity when it comes to these and other water-centric issues. [Read More]

Student travel grants (up to $250 each) available on a first-come, first-served basis. Click HERE to apply.

A limited number of faculty/staff spots are available for those interested in serving as advisers circulating throughout student working groups during the summit. Contact a2ru associate director, Maryrose Flanigan or a2ru program coordinator, Amy Tackitt.

2016 a2ru National
Conference Highlights

With over 275 attendees, this year's national conference had the highest attendance in a2ru's short history. A big thanks to our hosts on the ground in Denver as well as the entire a2ru staff, all presenters, and speakers who made this year's event so memorable. For more about the conference including highlights, photos, and demographics, visit the a2ru website and check out the most recent Huffington Post article!

a2ru at Visualizing
English Print Workshop

Gabriel Harp, a2ru's Research Director, will be attending the Visualizing English Print workshop hosted by the Folger Institute in Washington, D.C. December 15-16. The Mellon Foundation-supported workshop brings together researchers, techniques, and strategies for the visual exploration of large bodies of text as well as statistical methods for scalable scholarship. Learn more about the Visualizing English Print project or the Folger Institute scholarly programs

a2ru's Inaugural Executive Intern Bids Farewell

Willie Caldwell
Virginia Tech
I first learned of a2ru in the summer of 2015 when I was working as a graduate assistant at the Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech. As a GA, I was charged with coordinating the national a2ru conference that would be hosted by Virginia Tech later that year. The conference gave me a phenomenal introduction to the realm of interdisciplinary arts integration, and afforded me the opportunity to deeply explore the areas of work being done across multiple institutions of higher education. In all honesty, I finally felt like I had found my people.
[Read more]

a2ru Member Opportunities

Arizona State University: Assistant Professor in Art/Science Nexus
Application review begins December 30, 2016
The University of Utah: Dean, College of Fine Arts
Application deadline: January 2, 2017 
Virginia Commonwealth University: Dean, School of the Arts and Special Assistant to the Provost for the School of the Arts in Qatar
Application deadline: January 15, 2017
The University of Texas at Dallas: PhD Positions, Art/Technology/Emerging Media and Communication
Application deadline: January 15, 2017
University of Florida: Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs 
Application deadline: Open until filled
Penn State University: Arts and Design Research Incubator (ADRI) Communications and Marketing Coordinator
Application Deadline: Open until filled

Call for Papers for Dialectic's Second Issue

The call for papers for Dialectic’s second issue is currently underway (the first issue of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIIGA) Design Educators Community (DEC) and Michigan Publishing’s new scholarly journal will be published in December of this year). Dialectic 02 will be published in late June 2017. 
Dialectic is devoted to critical examination of issues affecting design education, research, and inquiry into their effects on the practice of design. Dialectic 02 seeks submissions crafted to examine issues involveing research by, for, and through design education:
  • visual essays, storytelling, or visually based narratives
  • research papers
  • long-form case study reports/case series reports
  • position papers
  • criticism of designed artifacts, systems, and processes
  • reviews of books, exhibitions, and conferences
  • survey papers
  • theoretical speculations
Each piece must be based on fundamentally sound scholarship and inquiry, written so that is broadly accessible, and on topics relevant to its audiences Click here for information and submission guideline questions.

a2ru Seeks Hosts for
2018 and Beyond

a2ru seeks hosts for future national conferences and student summits in 2018 and beyond. Benefits of hosting in collaboration with a2ru include:
  • Showcase your institution's resources, facilities, initiatives, curriculum, and leading faculty and student projects
  • Campus and national press coverage through newsletters, e-blasts, social media, and a2ru website; elicit powerful student-generated stories published both on their home campuses and a2ru website
  • Opportunities for faculty and staff leadership nationwide 
  • Stronger intra-unit relationships
For more information, contact a2ru associate director, Maryrose Flanigan.

a2ru at IARI Inaugural Colloquium

Edgar Cardenas
Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellow

The Spencer Museum of Art recently finished renovating their space and have been rethinking the role of the museum and arts in the university. As part of this rethinking, the Museum applied for and received a grant from the Mellon Foundation for an Integrated Arts Research Initiative (IARI). The Museum is using this grant to integrate the arts and research culture at the University of Kansas (KU). They are making an effort to integrate ideas and methodologies embodied in the arts with those in other research spaces.  I was invited to participate in and present at their inaugural IARI Colloquium on October 18.  I arrived a day early to get a better understanding around what arts integrative work the Spencer Museum of Art was involved in. What follows is a journaling of my experience from my time there.
[Read more]

Reflections on MIT's 2016 Hacking Arts Conference

Han Na Shin
University of Michigan

I had the opportunity to attend the Hacking Arts Conference at MIT due to the generosity of the a2ru Student Travel Grant. Out of the many hackathons at campuses and universities around the United States, this one stood out to me, because it brought in the intersection between technology and art. Those two words tend to not get along because many people think, "How can something so technical and the other so abstract get along?" I wanted to figure that out and learn from the professionals who are bringing these two concepts together. During my time there, I recognized that the overlap and intersection between art and technology is boundless. 
[Read more]

AFTA Asks Your U.S. Senators to Cosponsor the CREATE Act

Entitled the Comprehensive Resources for Entrepreneurs in the Arts to Transform the Economy (CREATE) Act (S.2648), the bill aims to better support our nation's creative economy and the artist entrepreneur!

AFTA is asking for your help to advance the CREATE Act! The "lame-duck" legislative session has begun and now is a key time to reach your Senators' staff members to ask your Senator to add their name as a cosponsor to the CREATE Act. Take two minutes now to urge your Senator to cosponsor this legislation.

To learn more about the bill and its provisions, check out our CREATE Act website for more information, the complete bill text, and a webinar featuring Sen. Tom Udall's office and Americans for the Arts President & CEO Bob Lynch.

For additional information, check out this great magazine article from Randy Cohen, AFTA Vice President of Research and Policy.

Connect with a2ru

Thanks to everyone who tweeted and posted throughout this year's national conference. If you haven't yet had a chance, make sure to follow a2ru on Twitter at @a2ru_news and at, and tweet us at #a2ru with news from your university on innovations, events - anything interdisciplinary!
The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) advances the full range of arts-integrative research, curricula, programs, and creative practice to acknowledge, articulate, and expand the vital role of higher education in our global society.

Partnership in a2ru remains open. Information on how to become a partner can be found here. We invite you to review the a2ru brochure outlining a2ru's key arts forward initiatives and partner benefits.
Copyright © 2016. Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities. All rights reserved.

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