Executive Committee Nominees

The 2021 elections for the a2ru Executive Committee are now closed. 2022 elections will begin in November. If you are interested in nominating yourself or a colleague for the a2ru Executive Committee, please contact a2ru Executive Director Maryrose Flanigan at flanigam@umich.edu

Below is the nominee slate for the a2ru Executive Committee for three-year terms beginning January 1, 2022.

Mallika Bose, Penn State University

Nominee Biography

Mallika Bose is Professor of Landscape Architecture and Associate Dean of Research, Creative Activity and Graduate Studies in the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State. In this role she supports and promotes arts and design research/creative activity and is an advocate for expanding the role of arts/design research in higher education and society. Graduate education is at the core of the research enterprise in higher education, and she works actively to diversify the student body and the types of research/creative activity undertaken in the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State. Mallika is committed to making visible the role of arts and design in equitable development, human flourishing and the responsible stewardship of our planet.

Mallika is trained as an architect specializing in Environment-Behavior Studies. She is interested in how the built environment impacts human behavior especially for disadvantaged groups. Her research areas include: Built Environment and Active Living/Healthy Eating; Public Scholarship and Community Engaged Design and Planning; Gender and Development; and Design/Planning Pedagogy. Her scholarship has been published in Landscape Journal, Habitat International, International Development and Planning Research, Journal of Planning Education and Research, and Journal of Urban Design among others.  She co-edited a book on community-engaged teaching/scholarship titled – Community Matters: Service-learning in Engaged Design and Planning – which received the 2015 Great Places Book Award from the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA). She served on the board of EDRA for several years and was the Chair of the EDRA Board of Directors in 2012-13. In 2016 Mallika joined the National Advisory Board of Imagining America – Artists and Scholars in Public Life. She co-directs the Collective of Publicly Engaged Designers (CoPED), an initiative of Imagining America.

Nominee Statement

I am honored to be a nominee for the a2ru Executive Committee and have the opportunity to engage in extending the reach of arts and design research in higher education. We live in the Anthropocene, at a time when climate change, global health/welfare and issues of equity and racial justice are not only important but are at the core of the continued existence of planet earth. The solution to these vexing “wicked” problems demands a transdisciplinary lens for developing creative and liberatory solutions. I look forward to collaboratively engaging with a2ru partners in examining how the arts and design can help us understand the problems facing us today and imagining as well as developing equitable, just, and sustainable futures.

Soul Brown, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Nominee Biography

Soul Brown is a research administrator, doctoral candidate, youth worker, writer, creative practitioner, and social justice educator. Presently, she directs the RISD Research office at Rhode Island School of Design, where she promotes faculty and graduate students’ generation of new knowledges and ways of making through the conduct of sponsored, interdisciplinary, transformative research. Soul also is a PhD candidate in an interprofessional educational leadership and healthcare administration program at Pacific University (Oregon). Her research focuses on historical and contemporary experiences of Black student success in the United States through the frameworks of Critical Race Theory and Community Cultural Wealth. She employs qualitative methodologies of Voice Scholarship and Phenomenology to explicate counternarratives of BIPOC schooled experiences. This fall she is co-teaching a course on the Pathology of Race and Racism in Healthcare.

Prior to joining RISD (Riz-dee) in July 2020, Soul directed Grants Development for Massachusetts Bay Community College. She successfully tripled MassBay’s grants income, helping to transform the college’s ability to meet the needs of constituents through implementing new academic programs, providing faculty and students with research opportunities, and spurring investments in facilities and equipment.

Soul has over three decades of experience leading innovative nonprofits and creative projects that focus on BIPOC community and youth development, cultural arts, and social justice. She earned her BA in English from Tufts University and Master in Public Administration from Framingham State University.

Nominee Statement

I am optimistic about my prospective membership in the a2ru Executive Committee and to be representing an art and design school amongst the institutions of higher education. There are some who might question the connection between art and design institutions and comprehensive research universities, but art institutions are also sites for advanced innovation, knowledge generation and the development of astute thinkers and practitioners who aim for profound global impact.

At Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), we unabashedly combine creativity and scholarship. Within our academic programs, laboratories, and partnerships we promote transdisciplinary, sustainable, and equitable approaches in theory and practice, of which there is growing recognition of their essentialness for this century and beyond. Collaborating with peer and research institutions, industry, government, communities, and others, our faculty and students are sought after for generating “out of the box” solutions to issues such as the need for durable and flexible materials and food cultivation in space; regeneration of oceans and soils to mitigate ecological damage; creation of affordable and livable neighborhoods through engaging residents in design thinking processes related to developing net zero homes, alternative transportation systems, or addressing public health issues such as opioid addiction. As RISD’s Research Director, I work to stimulate investment in novel concepts and transformative research activity.

Essential to my own worldview is my background in youth development, Black diasporic culture, social justice organizing, and arts and media. The principal focus of my career has been in foregrounding BIPOC and immigrant communities to both recognize and further the development of their indigenous methods of creativity and innovation, e.g. oral traditions (including hip hop) and community cultural wealth. I am interested in promoting the investigation of often disregarded community-based methodologies, which I do by day as a research director and at other times as a doctoral candidate and engaged community member. These are expertises that I can bring to the conversation at a2ru.

Oṣubi Craig, University of Florida

Nominee Biography

Oṣubi Craig is a multi-talented and accomplished African Diasporic percussionist, administrator, engineer, arts presenter, and arts advocate. Oṣubi brings a great deal of experience and energy to his role as inaugural director of the recently launched Center for Arts, Migration, and Entrepreneurship (CAME) in the College of the Arts at the University of Florida (UF). As the center’s director, he brings together faculty, artists, and community organizers from around the world to more broadly connect, collaborate, and create. In particular, Oṣubi has supported the center’s Maker in Residence Qudus Onikeku in developing his Atunda project. Atunda seeks to use AI technology to build a database of dance movement on blockchains to protect the IP rights of African Diasporan artists and ensure they are paid equitably when their art and works are commodified. Atunda is one example of the exponential possibilities of interconnected networks that CAME endeavors to cultivate and accelerate. A second example is CAME’s work with artists, technologists, and entrepreneurs around equitable AI (AI4Afrika Symposium). As a third-generation percussionist growing up in Brooklyn, NY, Oṣubi was immersed in the emerging African Diasporic cultural arts movement. His passion for science and technology led him to earn a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering while minoring in Jazz Studies at Florida A&M University (FAMU). Oṣubi went on to earn an M.A. in Arts Administration from Florida State University. As an artist, he worked for major performing arts organizations, such as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and National Dance Institute’s Arts in Education programs; as a lead drummer, for Kulu Mele African Dance & Drum Ensemble (Philadelphia, PA); and as a teaching artist, for the Philly Pops (Philadelphia, PA), New Jersey Performing Arts Center (Newark, NJ), Lincoln Center Institute (New York, NY), and Urban Bush Women (Brooklyn, NY). In his 20+ years of experience as an arts administrator, Oṣubi has developed and implemented programming, cultivated relationships, established collaborative partnerships, crafted shared visions and strategic directions, and worked effectively with arts programs and organizations nestled under the umbrella of higher education institutions. Oṣubi’s diverse skill sets have served him in a variety of roles such as: Construction Project Manager and Research Coordinator for the College of Engineering, Sciences, Technology and Agriculture at FAMU; Director of Grants and Sponsored Research/HBCU Title III at Florida Memorial University; and Director of Arts and Cultural Affairs at Polk State College. Oṣubi additionally served at Virginia State University as Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives and Director of Government Relations. Most recently at UF, Oṣubi chaired the working group on Access, Equity, and Inclusion as Functional Catalysts for the College of The Arts Meta Strategy and strategic planning process. Currently he serves as the college representative on several campus-wide working groups: the UF Equitable AI group, the Advanced AI Faculty Learning Community, and the AI and Society workgroup.

Nominee Statement

I am honored by this nomination to serve the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities as a member of the Executive Committee. I appreciate the organization’s forward-thinking vision on arts in higher education and its desire to connect artists and scholars in ways that will shape the future of the arts and their role in the research apparatus of university culture. My role as the Director of the Center for Arts, Migration, and Entrepreneurship (CAME) is focused on exploring new models of community-engaged research that equitably compensate artists–especially those in diasporas–and making these models more central to the university’s research and social agendas. This work sits squarely within the mission space of a2ru. CAME’s research agenda brings a new and vital perspective on arts integration, with projects that are leading conversations about how to integrate arts and AI technology, co-creating community-generated innovations at the unique intersection of the arts, entrepreneurship, and the orange economy. CAME is a center of centers–a hub of aligned organizational partners and communities across the world, all working to invest in capacity building and global networking. As the leader of the center and in the fields of higher education and arts administration, I have connections to artists across the globe, the National Council of Arts Administrators, grant-makers, arts presenters, gallery curators, and higher education administrators at all levels. The knowledge and expertise I bring as an artist, administrator, and engineer could be extremely valuable. My experiences working at R1 universities as well as HBCUs and access institutions allow me to bring multiple perspectives to these conversations. My connections with and experiences working in HBCUs would be of great value as a2ru continues to work to broaden its membership base. A2ru is helping shape the next generation of artists, arts administrators, and scholars. I am excited to have an opportunity to contribute to that work.

Andrew Davis, University of Houston

Nominee Biography

Andrew Davis is Founding Dean of the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts at the University of Houston. His work there has focused on integrating interdisciplinary training into the curriculum and on establishing the arts as a leading force for social engagement and community impact. He is a strong advocate for the value of an arts and a liberal-arts education; the benefits of international study-abroad opportunities for students; and the opportunity for the arts to actively engage and transform universities and their cities. A music theorist by training and a long-time board member of the Texas Society for Music Theory, he has published and lectured widely on opera and instrumental music of the Romantic and late-Romantic periods. He is the author of Il Trittico, Turandot, and Puccini’s Late Style (Indiana University Press, 2010) and Sonata Fragments: Romantic Narratives in Chopin, Schumann, and Brahms (Indiana University Press, 2017).

Davis served previously as Director of the Moores School of Music and as Associate Dean of the Honors College, both at the University of Houston, and he was co-chair of the university-wide committee that brought a chapter of the honor society Phi Beta Kappa to the University of Houston. He was the recipient of a university-wide teaching excellence award in 2010; he is a co-founder and organizer of the Council of Texas Arts Deans; and in Houston he serves on the boards of the Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association of Greater Houston, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, and the Houston Arts Alliance. He is President of the Board for Workshop Houston.

Davis holds the Ph.D. in music theory from Indiana University. He was appointed to the University of Houston faculty in 2003, and he holds the Cullen Foundation Endowed Chair.

Nominee Statement

The role of the arts in research universities is two-fold: (1) as a site of interdisciplinary collaboration, the arts play an integral role in research outcomes as a full partner in the work of disciplines across the institution; just as importantly, (2) the arts are a site of research production and outcomes independently and in their own right, central to the identity of the research university and comparable as such to the STEM disciplines—in terms of completing the mission of the institution if not also in terms of external dollars generated. Speaking from the perspective of the University of Houston, one of the most diverse of the Carnegie R1 institutions, I would like to see, and to contribute to, the a2ru Executive Committee taking a leadership role in articulating the value of the arts and their contribution to the research mission of the university. It is a critical time to do so, as it is a time when the value of the arts and their contribution to our institutions is under increasing pressure and scrutiny. I would welcome the opportunity to serve as a member of the Executive Committee.

Patrick Hammie, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Nominee Biography

Patrick Earl Hammie is a visual artist—painter, sculptor, illustrator—who uses portraits and allegories to examine personal and shared Black experiences and offers stories that expand how we express notions of gender and race today. Hammie studied drawing at Coker University (2004) and received an MFA in painting from University of Connecticut (2008). His works and collaborations have been exhibited in Germany, India, South Africa, and the United States, at venues that span the California African American Museum, The Drawing Center, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Kunstwerk Carlshütte, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Zhou B. Art Center. He was an artist-in-residence at the John Michael Kohler Art Center and the inaugural recipient of the Alice C. Cole ’42 Fellowship from Wellesley College. His works are included in public and private collections including the David C. Driskell Center (Maryland), Kinsey Institute Collections (Indiana), Kohler Company Collection (Wisconsin), JPMorgan Chase Art Collection (New York), and William Benton Museum of Art (Connecticut). He has been supported by fellowships and grants from the Joyce Foundation, Midwestern Voices and Visions, Puffin Foundation, Tanne Foundation, the states of Illinois and Connecticut, and other private foundations. Hammie currently serves as an Associate Professor and Chair of Studio Art at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the School of Art + Design.

Nominee Statement

I am honored to accept the nomination to serve the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities as a member of the Executive Committee. Our current cultural and political moment—a deadly global pandemic, political divisions, and growing socioeconomic inequities—is the exact time for the arts, higher education, and policy makers to build innovative paths that respect, support, and utilize historically marginalized knowledge toward establishing fresh ways of quantifying value and nurturing inclusive systems that critically and materially affect the world.

As Chair of Studio Arts at the University of Illinois’ College of Fine and Applied Arts, I work with unit heads and deans to rethink how creative activity is understood, with a particular focus on how to reform how public engagement is considered. I support interdisciplinary teaching, research, and engagement with partners across creative fields (architecture, visual art and design, theater, music, dance), recently developing relationships within the humanities and sciences to compose new graduate curriculum, and an art/science residency. I am active in restructuring university policies and practices to better support women and underrepresented faculty, and mentoring them through tenure and into leadership positions where their voices and labor may continue inspiring change.

As an artist, I continue to work across disciplines collaborating with writers, dancers, DJs, and curators to expand the spaces that Black Indigenous People of Color occupy and ways that they are understood. These opportunities are rooted in a strong appreciation for distinct disciplinary discourse and knowledge building.

Through all of my professional experiences, it has become clear that entangling the arts and marginalized ideas and peoples with traditionally prioritized technologies, practices, and institutions through mutually beneficial policy reform and new social narratives is a successful way forward.

As a member of the a2ru Executive Committee, I will share insights from the collaborations that have centered the College of Fine and Applied Arts as a leader at Illinois in interdisciplinarity, inclusive initiatives, and arts advocacy, and help a2ru support creative activity and academic advancement and research in higher education as well as advise collaborators in arts integration, policy reform, and branding.

Sonia Hirt, University of Georgia

Nominee Biography

Initially trained as an architect in her hometown of Sofia (the capital of Bulgaria), Sonia Hirt holds a master’s and a doctoral degree in urban and environmental planning from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the University of Georgia, she served as Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at the University of Maryland in College Park; Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, Virginia Tech; and Visiting Associate Professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

Sonia is the author/co-author of 85 scholarly and professional publications with 2,500 citations. Her latest article, on shrinking cities, co-authored with Professor Robert Beauregard of Columbia University, was published in International Planning Studies (2021). Sonia’s book “Iron Curtains: Gates, Suburbs and Privatization of Space,” published by Wiley-Blackwell, received the Honorable Mention for the Book Prize in Political and Social Studies sponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. This award is given to an outstanding monograph in anthropology, political science, sociology, or geography. Her book “Zoned in the USA: The Origins and Implications of American Land Use Regulation,” published by Cornell Press, received several academic honors. These include the Honorable Mention for the 2015 Best Book Award of the Urban Affairs Association; shortlist for the Best Book Award of the International Planning History Society; one of the Ten Best Books in Urban Planning, Design and Development of 2015 by Planetizen; list of Outstanding Academic Titles by Choice Magazine; and the biennial John Friedmann Best Book Award by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. In 2019, Planetizen named the book one of fourteen Top Urban Planning Books of the Decade (2010-2020). In 2020, Book Authority ranked it in the Top Forty Land Use Law Books of All Time.

Sonia is also the editor of “The Urban Wisdom of Jane Jacobs” (with Diane Zahm), published by Routledge, and the author of “Twenty Years of Transition: The Evolution of Urban Planning in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, 1989-2009” (UN HABITAT; with Kiril Stanilov). She is an elected Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners. She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Planning History  (JOPH)—the official peer-reviewed journal of the Society for American City and Regional Planning History (previously, she was Co-Editor-in-Chief of JOPH). Through her career, she is or has been member of the editorial boards of ten scholarly journals, including Planning Perspectives, Planning Research and Practice, and Urban Design International.

Sonia’s scholarly interests focus on the interactions between social and cultural values and the urban built environment. Through her scholarship and teaching, she aims to advance understanding of the relationships between social processes, cultural values, and urban forms, and to create opportunities to make cities more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable. Her research has both a theoretical and an applied perspective. She strives to enhance the quality of urban environments by developing a richer theoretical understanding of the social processes and cultural values that influence their evolution. She also strives to provoke critical debates within the design and planning professions and thus contribute to innovation in practice.

Nominee Statement

I would like to contribute to a2ru because I believe no university can be world-class without work-class arts. I have had the privilege to work at Virginia Tech, the University of Maryland, and now the University of Georgia. All three institutions have wonderful and multi-faceted arts programs, but all face certain challenges—and I think there is a good reason to believe that these challenges are common to many (if not most) US universities.

  1. We need a more expansive and inclusive definition of the arts. On our campuses we are confining our understanding of “arts” to the traditional fine arts units and schools, not including, for example, disciplines such as landscape architecture, historic preservation, or urban planning can be understood as arts. It seems a broader definition would help us all.
  2. We need to focus on how to admit a greater number and a more diverse body of arts students. The domination of traditional metrics like SAT and GPA should be reconsidered. We are going to miss educating the next Frank Lloyd Wright or Zaha Hadid because their GPA was not high enough to help our universities get high rankings. If we don’t advocate for this, who will?
  3. Faculty in the arts (and humanities) programs in R1 universities are facing common challenges in terms of promotion, tenure, and retention. We need the arts faculty to succeed in the arts areas they claim as their own—not where others tell them to be.
  4. What is arts research? Isn’t art research in itself? I would like to advocate to expand the definition of “research” in a way that reflects the complexity and inherent scholarly aspects of the arts.