University of Michigan Ann Arbor to hold town hall on arts integration on campus

Event is free and open to the public

By Meredith Bruckner - Community News Producer

Executive Leadership Think Tank put on by a2ru and NASEM to discuss 2018 report on May 24, 2018 at NAS in Washington, DC. (Credit: Diego Valdez)

ANN ARBOR - The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities, in collaboration with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, will be hosting a town hall meeting on May 28 at 9 a.m. at the Michigan League at the University of Michigan.

The topic: How to better integrate the arts on campus.

The two organizations, known as a2ru and NASEM, have hosted similar gatherings on campuses across the country this year.
 
The town hall comes one year after NASEM published an evidence-based report highlighting the impact integrative approaches have on students' academic performances and career readiness in higher education. The 2018 report was the result of a two-year study conducted by scientists, engineers, humanists, industry leaders and health care professionals. It strongly encourages the arts and humanities to be incorporated in STEM disciplines like science, mathematics, technology, engineering and medicine.

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Two U-M community members -- Guna Nadarajan, dean of the U-M Stamps School of Art & Design, and Laurie Baefsky, former executive director of a2ru and U-M's ArtsEngine -- sat on the committee that compiled the report's findings.

"This meeting is special because a2ru was founded here—and I believe that Michigan has really been a leader in this important conversation," Maryrose Flanigan, executive director of a2ru, said in a statement. "We can now say that interdisciplinary integration leads to positive student outcomes, including improved written and oral communication skills, ethical decision-making and critical thinking. These town hall meetings are focusing on the 'What next?' question."

Flanigan said the town hall meeting will consist of panel discussions to engage U-M faculty members and leaders about the best ways to implement strategies when creating and sustaining courses that connect various disciplines with the arts.

"The goal of this meeting is to position the integration of the arts as something that is more central to U-M's mission," Flanigan said. "Students and faculty should know that they have the opportunity to collaborate—in teaching, research and practice. While U-M already does great work in this area, we want to figure out how we can do a better job of facilitating that work."
 
"We were amazed at the response and the amount of discussion this report has generated," director of NASEM's Board on Higher Education and Workforce, Tom Rudin, said in a statement. "It has struck a chord nationally on the need for better integration of the arts, humanities and STEMM."

Schedule:
 
9 a.m. Opening Remarks/Report Overview

  • Opening remarks by Rebecca Cunningham, U-M associate vice president for research, health sciences
  • Report overview by Tom Rudin, director, Board on Higher Education and Workforce, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

 
10 a.m. Panel: Addressing Academic Silos—Revisiting Modes of Knowledge

  • Earl Lewis (moderator), director and professor, Center for Social Solutions 
  • Rebecca Cunningham, associate vice president for research, health sciences
  • Ron Eglash, professor, Stamps School of Art & Design, School of Information
  • David Gier, dean, School of Music, Theatre & Dance
  • Aileen Huang-Saad, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and engineering education

 
11 a.m. Panel: Arts Integration and the University Community

  • Marvin Parnes (moderator), interim executive director, Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities
  • Christina Olsen, director, U-M Museum of Art
  • Jane Prophet, associate dean for research, creative work, and strategic initiatives, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design
  • Tom Rudin, director, Board on Higher Education and Workforce, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
  • Matthew VanBesien, president, University Musical Society

The town hall is free and open to the public. Attendees are asked to RSVP online.

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