a2ru April 2016 Newsletter
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A Message from Executive Director Laurie Baefsky

As spring arrives (finally!) at our a2ru offices in Ann Arbor, we have a great deal of progress to report and new growth to enjoy!
A warm welcome to our two most recent a2ru partners, Michigan State University and the University of Cincinnati! Our a2ru staff will visit Lansing, MI on April 26 to meet faculty and program directors on the Michigan State Campus. Hosting is good friend and colleague of a2ru, Bruce Mackh and his new Arts and Cultural Management Program. I had the distinct pleasure of also visiting University of Cincinnati last month, and was introduced to no less than a dozen programs. Standouts for the arts and arts integration is their highly ranked College -Conservatory of Music, their Division of Professional Practice & Experiential Learning (ProPEL), and the town-to-gown Livewell Collaborative. I want to especially thank Senior Vice Provost Eileen Strempel and her team for the warm introduction to their beautiful campus and forward-thinking institution!
The Ohio State University was also on the agenda last month, with a whirlwind campus tour on March 30. This included a tour of their flagship downtown Urban Art Space, experiencing their shiny new Barnett Center for Integrated Arts and Enterprise, learning about their 7-year Royal Shakespeare Company partnership with their Shakespeare & Autism Project, and meeting innumerable engaged creative scholars. Thanks to Associate Dean of Arts & Humanities, Valarie Williams for the stunning tour. My biggest take away from these important explorations is seeing the profusion, growth and support of arts practice, research, and collaborations across so many sectors of higher education and feeding directly into the community.  
Sixteen a2ru campuses attended the ASU-hosted SNAAP's  3 Million Stories Conference March 3-5. If you haven’t yet seen the ASU-produced video “Uncle Henry Was Wrong,” I urge you to spend the four minutes! It premiered at the conference, and outlines the compelling SNAAP data of over 132,000 arts alumni: that our arts alumni are successful, contributing, engaged, and basically happy citizens. With over 15,00 hits in less than a month of playtime, it’s going ‘viral’ delivering a vital message our students, administrators and uncles all need to hear!  
Next stop: Madison, Wisconsin, April 28-29 for the Bolz Center for Arts Administration’s 2016 Arts Business Research Symposium on Creative Placemaking in Higher Education. Jamie Bennett, Executive Director of ArtPlace America and his team will be on the ground leading breakout sessions and inspiring us all to invest our creative equity (students, faculty, creative research) into revitalizing our communities. There’s still time to register!
This year’s a2ru Emerging Creatives Student Summit, March 9-11 hosted by the University of Michigan, engaged students around the theme of RISE: Forging Resilient Communities. More than 80 students and faculty from 23 of our partner institutions attended, presenting project prototypes that spanned from Arts for the Homeless (ARO), to “a2ru Arts And…,” a monthly salon bringing together arts, health, entrepreneurs and humanists to team build. Attending students who wish to further develop these projects can still apply for the a2ru Student Challenge Grant. DEADLINE is THIS Friday, April 15.
We are now accepting proposals for our 2016 a2ru National Conference ArtsRx: Creative Venture, Wellbeing and the New Humanities, November 3-5 hosted at the University of Colorado Denver.  Submit at: for submission is Friday, May 20, 2016.
SAVE THE DATE: on November 2, there will also be a Pre-Conference sandbox working session preceding the annual conference, to develop Shared Practice Modules in the emergent areas of Art and Health and Art and Creative Ventures. If you are interested in participating in these working sessions, please let me know.
Other news: On April 6, Edgar Cardenas joined the a2ru team as our new Mellon Research Fellow. Read more HERE. We are excited to have him working with our Research Director Gabriel Harp on the next phase of our Mellon Foundation funded research.
As you may know, a2ru has partnered with the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) to survey our partner institutions around the topic of funding and resources for arts-integrative work.  This is a first of ongoing efforts planned to bring contemporary data to the national discussion on the real value and investment needs associated with this work.  I want to thank those of you who served as the initial online focus group and as phase-two beta testers. This survey will be launched later this spring. Stay tuned.
As we welcome warmer temperatures, it is heartening to see the growth in our network and the impact it is making in the lives of our students, faculty and practitioners. Read on for more news about the upcoming a2ru webinar and some a2ru job opportunities. Wishing you all a very Happy Spring!

Warm regards,




a2ru Welcomes Michigan State University and The University of Cincinnati!


The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) is proud to welcome the University of Cincinnati and Michigan State University as our newest a2ru partners.



The a2ru 2016 National Conference, ArtsRx: Creative Venture, Wellbeing, and the New Humanities will be hosted by the University of Colorado Denver on November 3-5, 2016. The RFP for panels, workshops and presentations is now available here! The deadline for submission in May 20, 2016.

Save the date and keep an eye on the a2ru website events tab for more information on conference and pre-conference events.      


a2ru Circuits Webinars


Audio and text transcripts are
now available for our most recent
webinar in the a2ru Circuits Series,
Creating Faculty-Driven Catalysts
for Sustainable Collaborations

This webinar features a2ru faculty
from  the University of Utah
and was originally broadcast 
Friday, February 26, 2016. 

The next webinar in the series, 
focusing on a variety of models for 
arts integrative living learning
communities is tentatively scheduled for Thursday,
May 19, 2016.

Registration links and the presentation description
will be available later this month, so stay tuned!


a2ru is Seeking Qualified Candidates for the
a2ru Associate Director and
ArtsEngine/a2ru Program Coordinator Positions


a2ru Associate Director 

(5/7 deadline):

This is a multi-faceted opportunity for the right arts administrator
to take the lead forwarding the Alliance for the Arts in Research
Universities' (a2ru's) national agenda. It requires vision, autonomy
and excellent communications skills. Responsibilities include:
forwarding national arts integrative research initiatives, conference
planning with national partner universities, partnership servicing
and cultivation, and leading development efforts. 

ArtsEngine/a2ru Program Coordinator 
(4/28 deadline):

This position calls for someone highly organized to run the
office and execute the details of our annual national conferences,
student summits and multiple on- /off-campus programs
(curricular and co-curricular).

Contact Laurie Baefsky  
a2ru Executive Director


a2ru Network Events


Arts Business Research Symposium 2016: The Future of Creative Placemaking Initiatives in Higher Education at UW-Madison’s Bolz Center for Arts Administration. abrs@Madison 2016 takes place on April 28-29, 2016. Click here for more info.


Research Agenda Update
by Gabriel Harp, Research Director


What is the future of the arts in research universities?

That question is on our mind, and it’s probably on yours if you are reading this. To even pose that question is to suggest some uncertainty. After all, no one can predict the future.

And yet, uncertainty about the future is just that: uncertain. The future can go in so many directions. Alternatives are possible. Change is inevitable.

But so is stability.

And rather than feeling trepidation about the future, embracing the inherent uncertainty is an awesome opportunity. Everything is suddenly possible.

And that’s our task.  [Read more...]

Please Welcome Edgar Cardenas
Mellon Research Fellow


a2ru is very pleased to introduce our new Mellon Research Fellow, Edgar Cardenas.  Edgar received his PhD in Sustainability from Arizona State University. His dissertation, entitled Art-Science for Sustainability focused on coupling sustainability science with the arts with the objective of bolstering more creative problem solving in sustainability. 

In addition to his research and art practice, Edgar has also developed, organized, facilitated, and led several artists-scientists collaborative projects, as well as moderated panels on the topic. Edgar also holds an MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of New Haven with a focus on organizational development and conflict management.

Follow these links to see a more complete biography, or to view the press release announcing Edgar Cardenas as our new Mellon Research Fellow on our website.



a2ru Emerging Creatives Summit Update


The a2ru Emerging Creatives Summit was held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on March 9-11, 2016. More than 80 students, faculty and staff were in attendance from 23 partner institutions.  A complete program of events may be found on our website.

The 2017 a2ru Emerging Creatives Summit will be held at the University of Florida.  Dates and additional information coming soon!


The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) is committed to ensuring the greatest possible institutional support for the full spectrum of arts and arts-integrative research, curricula, programs, and creative practice for the benefit of all students and faculty at research universities and the communities they serve. 
Partnership in a2ru remains open. Information on how to become a partner can be found by clicking here. We invite you to review the a2ru brochure outlining a2ru's key arts forward initiatives and partner benefits.


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