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College Works to Integrate Arts in Research at Universities Nationwide

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Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities

The College of Arts and Architecture is taking a leading role in integrating arts practices in research universities through its involvement in the newly established Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru). Penn State is one of 28 founding partners of the alliance, which was formed in fall 2012 with a goal of helping students and faculty to address the world’s most pressing, complex and open-ended challenges with creative confidence as well as disciplinary expertise.

Barbara Korner, dean of the College of Arts and Architecture, is co-chair of a2ru’s Planning Committee. “Penn State’s involvement in a2ru builds on the University’s strength in fostering collaboration across disciplinary boundaries as a way to address complex global issues,” she says. The College of Engineering and College of Information Sciences and Technology are also founding members of the new alliance.

a2ru received a $500,000, 3.5-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create the first comprehensive guide to best practices in the integration of arts practice in U.S. research universities. Penn State is one of 11 universities to be featured in the guide, to be published in fall 2015. Mellon Research Project Director Bruce Mackh visited Penn State in mid-March, during which time he met with administrators and attended a2ru’s inaugural symposium, hosted by the University. Other institutions to be featured in the guide include Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Stanford, University of California at Berkeley, University of Colorado, University of Florida, University of Michigan, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and Washington University.  

a2ru grew out of a “Michigan Meeting” held in Ann Arbor, May 4–6, 2011, titled “The Role of Art-Making and the Arts in the Research University.” Sponsored by the University of Michigan’s ArtsEngine initiative, the meeting convened 150 presidents, provosts, deans, directors and other leaders from 43 Research I universities across the United States. Founding partners have committed time, energy and funds to the development of the alliance because they understand the role of the arts and design in making their institutions more vital, dynamic, creative and competitive.

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