“Branches from the Same Tree” Town Halls with the National Academies
From 2018 to 2021, The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities, in partnership with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine hosted a series of town hall gatherings across the country to sustain a national dialogue about arts integration calibrated for each campus and its community. These discussions were based on a detailed, evidence-based report, published in 2018, describing the known impact of integrative approaches to teaching and learning in higher education on students’ academic performance and career readiness.
We wanted to explore and strategize how to transform higher education for an enlightened, better prepared, more competitive workforce and citizenry. These conversations served as an opportunity to convene leaders and practitioners in a variety of fields to continue this discussion and explore the research on best practices for truly integrative work on ways to integrate these into initiatives unique to each region and institution.
In 2015, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine gathered more than 110 scientists, engineers, artists, humanists, educators, policymakers and industry executives to start the process to examine the impact of arts integration on academic performance and workforce development. As a result of that meeting, a committee convened to examine the evidence and produce this report. The goal was to produce a consensus report that examined the evidence behind the assertion that educational programs that mutually integrate learning experiences in the humanities and arts with science, technology engineering, math, and medicine lead to improved educational and career outcomes for undergraduate and graduate students. More information on the study can be found HERE.
In May 2018, a2ru convened 70 leaders in higher education, government, philanthropy, and industry for a two-day symposium at the National Academy of Sciences. The consensus report recommendations and findings are being used to develop next-steps for higher education and other sector partners. In April 2019, 50 leaders in higher education, government, philanthropy, and industry convened at the National Academy of Science (NAS) in Washington, D.C. to plan how to transform higher education for an enlightened, better prepared, and more competitive workforce and citizenry.
Subsequent town halls scheduled across the country served as opportunities to convene leaders and practitioners in a variety of fields to discuss and examine the findings of the NASEM report and collaborate on ways to integrate into initiatives unique to their regions and institutions. Town halls were sponsored by those in the a2ru network and included staff from NASEM and a2ru.
Staff from a2ru and the National Academies remain available to participate in virtual and in-person town halls. If you are interested in hosting a Town Hall for your campus, please contact a2ru Executive Director Maryrose Flanigan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2018-2021 Town Hall Series
- November 3-4, 2018: San Francisco, CA
Held in conjunction with Leonardo’s 50th Anniversary Convening
- November 18, 2018: Madison, WI
Hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Art, School of Business, and Wisconsin Alumni Research; co-sponsored by UW-Madison’s Division of the Arts, the Bolz Center for Arts Administration in the Wisconsin School of Business, and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.
- December 3, 2018: Berkeley, CA
- February 6-7, 2019: Dallas, TX
Hosted by the University of Texas at Dallas
- February 27, 2019: State College, PA
- April 9, 2019: National Virtual Town Hall
Hosted with AAC & U
Watch video (Password: AACU49)
- April 12, 2019: Washington, DC
- April 16, 2019: Fairbanks, AK
Hosted by the University of Alaska, Fairbanks
- April 17, 2019: Anchorage, AK
Hosted by the University of Alaska, Anchorage
- April 18, 2019: Juneau, AK
Hosted by the University of Alaska, Juneau
- May 3, 2019: Fayetteville, AR
Hosted by the University of Arkansas
- May 21, 2019: Orono, Maine
Hosted by the University of Maine
- May 28, 2019: Ann Arbor, MI
Hosted by the University of Michigan Office of the President, University of Michigan Office of the Provost, University of Michigan Office of Research, ArtsEngine, and a2ru
- August, 14, 2019: Denver, CO
- September, 13, 2019: Bloomington, IN
Hosted by Indiana University
- September, 16, 2019: Laramie, WY
Hosted by the University of Wyoming
- September 26-27: Moscow, ID
Hosted by the University of Idaho and Washington State University
- October 25, 2019: Cambridge, MA
- March 6, 2020: Tuscaloosa, AL
Hosted by the University of Alabama
- February 11-12: Hanover, NH (virtual)
- March 2, 2021: Rochester, NY (virtual)
Hosted by Rochester Institute of Technology
Additional Press Coverage
- Science Magazine: “Incorporating humanities, arts, crafts, and design into curricula makes better scientists” (7/2/2018)
- Stamps School of Art & Design: “Dean Nadarajan and Laurie Baefsky on Integration of Humanities and Arts into STEMM Fields” (5/9/2018)
- National Academies: “Report Urges Development and Evaluation of Approaches that Integrate STEMM Fields with Arts and Humanities in Higher Education” (5/7/2018)
- Florida International University: “Improving college curriculum through STEM, humanities integration” (4/1/2018)
NASEM has compiled an Integrative Course Compendium to build on examples surfaced in their report.
The compendium hosts examples where in-course integration occurs when concepts and pedagogies from the arts and humanities are integrated into already established STEMM courses, or vice versa, or when new interdisciplinary courses are developed as part of a larger, unintegrated curriculum. Within-curriculum integration focuses either on adding non-discipline-related courses to a major curriculum or developing an inter- or transdisciplinary major with both arts and humanities and STEMM courses. Co-curricular and extra-curricular integrative opportunities include internships, faculty-run labs and makerspaces, and interdisciplinary research programs.