a2ru July 2015 Newsletter   
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A Message from Executive Director Laurie Baefsky

It's a remarkable time for a2ru and I'd like to thank each of our 32 partners for fueling this momentum. Reading through this summer newsletter makes me proud of what our organization supports and promotes, so I encourage you to peruse the newsletter for particulars beyond the encapsulated bullet points below. a2ru is embarking on a new strategic planning phase and I'll be sharing these details with you at our national conference in November. In the meantime you can enjoy a quick glimpse of where we are today: 
All my best,

a2ru Receives $800,000 in Funding for SPARC Project Effective July 2015

The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) has received an $800,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant will fund The SPARC Project: Supporting Practice in Arts, Research and Curricula, a three-year initiative that will allow a2ru to disseminate best practices in the integration of arts practice at research universities. The grant is effective July 1, 2015. Click here to read the press release. 

a2ru Welcomes the University of Houston as an a2ru Partner

The University of Houston is a new member of the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru). Located in one of the most culturally diverse and vibrant communities in the U.S., the University of Houston’s focus on “innovation, creativity and the pursuit of excellence” resulted in the institution’s Tier 1 status in 2011 and the establishment of UH Arts in 2009, an ongoing presidential initiative that focuses on the role of the arts as a catalyst for innovation and excellence. The initiative encompasses music, visual arts, literary arts, dance, theater, and design programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture. a2ru welcomes the University of Houston and looks forward to their participation as an a2ru partner.

a2ru Mellon Best Practices Guide Publishes in September

The Mellon Best Practices Guide is in the final stages of editing. The publication, which is the product of a $500,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is the first comprehensive guide to best practices in the integration of arts practice in U.S. research universities. The Mellon Best Practices Guide is being authored by outgoing Mellon Research Project Director Bruce Mackh, and designed by Doug Barrett, Associate Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (an a2ru partner institution). The Mellon Best Practices Guide will be released electronically on October 1st and will be available in hard copy and e-book form in November 2015.

a2ru Executive Committee Will Convene at the University of Michigan in August 

Members of the a2ru executive committee and other leaders are convening  at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on August 3rd and 4th. The committee will address new five-year goals for a2ru and long-term sustainability, next-phase research, and strategic alliance development. Members of the a2ru executive committee include: Laurie Baefsky, a2ru; Edward Feser, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Luis Rico-Gutierrez, Iowa State University; Leila Kinney, MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology; Barbara Korner, Penn State; Bob Palazzo, University of Alabama at Birmingham; Monica Ponce de Leon, University of Michigan; Robin Romans, University of Southern California; Bill Sherman, University of Virginia; and Winston Tabb, John Hopkins University. 

a2ru 2015 National Conference
November 8-11 
at Virginia Tech

The a2ru 2015 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. 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 is posted on a2ru website. Please visit the dedicated event page on the a2ru website for more details. Online registration for the conference is now available.

a2ru Issues Call For Proposals Deadline August 17, 2015

The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) issues a call for proposals for Third Space Transdisciplinary Exemplars that integrate arts and/or design practices with work and research across other disciplines. These exemplars will be explored during the a2ru 2015 National Conference as part of an ongoing conversation centered on developing and testing new peer review standards. The deadline for submitting proposals is Monday, August 17, 2015. Click here to download the call for proposals and submission instructions. 

a2ru 2016 Emerging Creatives Student Summit Hosted by the University of Michigan            

Mark your calendar! The a2ru 2016 Emerging Creatives Student Summit hosted by the University of Michigan is scheduled for March 9-12, 2016. The conference theme is RISE: Forging Resilient Communities. Programming will take place in Ann Arbor and Detroit, Michigan. A challenge grant will be issued at RISE to encourage students from a2ru partner universities to continue cross-campus work they begin at the summit for the purpose of transforming and revitalizing their communities.

a2ru/ArtsEngine Seeks Research Director and Research Fellow 

a2ru/ArtsEngine seeks a Research Director and Research Fellow to lead our next phase of Mellon-funded research. The SPARC Project: Supporting Practice in Arts, Research and Curricula focuses on the dissemination and application of our recently completed three-year investigation of the role of the arts in research university campuses, and further development of the a2ru research agenda. The positions will remain open until filled. 

a2ru Leaders on the Move

Monica Ponce de Leon, a pioneering educator and award-winning architect, has been selected as the next dean of the Princeton University School of Architecture. Her appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2016. Ponce de Leon will continue to serve as vice-chair of the executive committee for the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru). Ponce de Leon has served as dean of the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor since 2008, where she is also the Eliel Saarinen Collegiate Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning. Before her appointment at the University of Michigan, Ponce de Leon was a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she served on the faculty for 12 years. Click here to read the announcement on the Princeton University website.

Thanassis Rikakis, vice provost for design, arts and technology at Carnegie Mellon University, will become Virginia Tech’s executive vice president and provost, effective August 16th. Rikakis will also become a tenured professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics in the College of Engineering and hold a joint appointment as a music professor in the School of Performing Arts in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Carnegie Mellon University and Virginia Tech are a2ru partner universities. For more details on Dr. Rikakis’ appointment click here.

a2ru Addresses Peer Review Platform for Collaborative Scholarship 

On June 9th members of the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) and other thought leaders convened at Carnegie Mellon University to explore the development of a peer review platform for collaborative scholarship and research involving the arts, sciences, technology, the humanities, and other disciplines.
The collective experience and insight of this group is a testament to the power of partnership among existing leaders in this third-space field. There is a distinct need to support current work while building out a platform that doesn’t conform to what already exists. The way forward will be mapped on day two of the a2ru 2015 National Conference, which takes place November 8-11 at Virginia Tech. (See our call for proposals for Third Space Transdisciplinary Exemplars due August 17th.)
a2ru would like to thank the following participants for their contributions to this timely and worthwhile endeavor:
  • Ivica Ico Bukvic, Virginia Tech/ICAT
  • Daragh Byrne, Carnegie Mellon University/XSEAD
  • Kevin Concannon, Virginia Tech
  • Sarah Bainter Cunningham, Virginia Commonwealth University VCUarts/a2ru
  • Kevin Hamilton, University of Illinois/Scalar
  • Marc Herbert, Leonardo Journal/MIT Press
  • 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
  • Thanassis Rikakis, Carnegie Mellon University/XSEAD
  • Andy Schulz, Penn State
  • David Ayman Shamma, Yahoo! Labs
  • Carol Strohecker, Rhode Island School of Design/SEAD
  • J.D. Talasek, National Academy of Science/LASER-DASER
  • Tamara Underiner, Arizona State University
  • Sha Xin Wei, Arizona State University

Becoming an a2ru Partner

Currently composed of 32 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. Information on how to become a partner, as well as our Phase I activities and partner list, can be found by clicking here.
Copyright © 2015. Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities. All rights reserved.

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