Executive Committee Nominees

Below is the nominee slate for the a2ru Executive Committee for three-year terms beginning September 1, 2022. You may vote for as many candidates as you like; we have up to six available positions on the Executive Committee this year. Voting closes August 31. 

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If you are interested in nominating yourself or a colleague for the a2ru Executive Committee in a future election cycle, please contact a2ru Executive Director Maryrose Flanigan at flanigam@umich.edu.

Dan Cavanagh, Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Professor of Music, University of Texas at Arlington

Nominee Biography

Dan Cavanagh is Professor of Music and Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Arlington. A composer and pianist who has garnered numerous awards in both areas, he received a 2009 gold medal prize from the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition. In 2017 he was awarded a Special Judges’ Citation in the American Prize for Chamber Music Composition for his work for trumpet ensemble and drum set, Waves. As a composer Cavanagh has written or arranged for Latin Grammy-winning AfroBop Alliance, the legendary Patti LaBelle, and a wide range of classical and jazz performers across North America and Europe. He has released four critically acclaimed jazz CDs as a leader. His new recording with James Miley featuring John Hollenbeck will be released in October 2022 on S/N Alliance (Japan). His music can be heard on many other recordings both classical and jazz and continues to be commissioned and programmed around the world. Cavanagh has also performed extensively in North America and internationally. He has been a finalist in the EuropaFest Jazz Contest in Bucharest, and in the Jacksonville Jazz Festival Piano Competition. Prior to serving as interim Dean, Cavanagh held various academic leadership roles, including program director, music department chair, and associate dean. From 2015-2020, he served as the Co-Chair of Region VI for the Society of Composers. Cavanagh chairs Downtown Arlington’s Cultural Arts District Partners group and serves as Vice Chair for the Board of Trustees for the Dallas Wind Symphony.

Nominee Statement

As a composer and pianist, I have long been interested in, and deeply involved with, the ways that the arts and their associated knowledge systems inform, enhance, and support the wide scope of humanity. Higher Education is, as folks in this group know, at a crossroads with how it relates to society, how it describes its purpose, and how it demonstrates value. I believe, as so many associated with a2ru do, that the arts long have been, and will continue to be, a key component of tackling the big issues facing human beings. From an institutional perspective, I am very keen on a2ru’s interdisciplinary mission to cross-pollinate the research and creative methodologies that drive the arts with all of the other work happening across the knowledge economy and higher education landscape. Having a national group like this to help steer the conversation, provide advocacy support, and clear the way for a better and healthier integration of arts methodologies is so important in our increasingly inter- and trans-disciplinary world. I would be honored to serve on the executive committee.

Lisa DuRussel, Assistant Professor of Practice, University of Michigan School for Environment + Sustainability (SEAS)

Nominee Biography

Lisa DuRussel, RLA, LEED AP, ASLA has a unique background as an educator,  landscape architect, urban ecologist, builder and design activist.

Her 15+ years of experience has resulted in a progressive landscape design portfolio of professional work, creative inquiry into ecology + design, a flexibility in teaching interests and enthusiasm for transdisciplinary collaboration within the academy and the profession. Her desire to teach was born from an interest to create a stronger connection between theory and practice – – – and to expand creative practice by deepening design inquiry through application of research into the built environment. She currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Practice at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS).

Lisa has led the design and implementation of award-winning projects that innovate on ecological design as a project leader at established design firms: West 8 New York, Future Green Studio Brooklyn, MNLA New York, and Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects Chicago.  Her own collaborative practice dubbed Field Catalysts, partners students with nonprofits and communities to use landscape as a lens to amplify thoughtful public engagement with collaborative action and impact.

In addition to teaching graduate level courses on design, design thinking and public engagement at the University of Michigan, Lisa collaborates with firms OSD Outside on design implementation of an Arts Campus in downtown Detroit, with Unknown Studio on green infrastructure and urban afforestation initiatives in Baltimore and with Horizon Geospatial on geodesign-based community engagement workshops around the country.

She is currently the VP of Education for the Michigan Chapter of ASLA and has previously held board positions with the New York City Chapter ASLA and was their chapter’s Public Awareness Representative with National ASLA.

Lisa received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy and her Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Michigan.

Nominee Statement

I, Lisa DuRussel, RLA, LEED AP, ASLA would be honored to serve on the executive board of the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities.

I am excited to contribute my extensive (and ever-growing) knowledge in human-centered design and public engagement for impact with the greater a2ru membership. I not only desire to strengthen the network and its strategic goals, but to also expand the possibilities of arts integration into the real world.

As an Assistant Professor of Practice in Landscape Architecture at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) my scholarship centers around activating engagement in the public realm through participatory research, service learning, tool development,  design strategy and messaging. I seek to bring  public engagement to the forefront of every endeavor, creating and documenting systematic ways of how engagement can be equitably integrated into applied research and creative practice.

I believe in exploring engagement through theory, tools, and action – and I use the classroom as a place to explore, prototype and practice new ideas and to build on successful tools. We are “Field Catalysts” – leveraging University knowledge and resources to support underserved communities and nonprofits.  We elevate engagement to a place where results are not simply community inspired, but community driven and co-created.

Through my involvement with A2RU, I look forward to supporting other universities in their aim to integrate engagement into research and creative practice and to co-create tools and techniques that will support faculty and students working collaboratively in the engagement realm.

José Manuel Izquierdo König, Associate Professor of Music and Director of Research and Postgraduate Studies, Faculty of Arts, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Nominee Biography

José Manuel Izquierdo is associate professor of music, and Director of Research and Postgraduate studies in the Faculty of Arts of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. During the last five years he has been leading the PhD in Arts, a pioneering program in Chile and South America, the first in the region with an interdisciplinary focus on  Practice as Research in performance, visual arts and music. With a PhD from the University of Cambridge (where he was selected as a Gates Cambridge Scholar), his research focuses on music and culture and Latin America, and opera studies, with a focus on mobilities and the circulation of music. He has a particular interest in problems of postcolonial approaches to culture and heritage in Latin America, having led several projects in rethinking the ways in which Western art forms have operated in the region since colonial times. His publications have earned him several awards, including the Otto Mayer Serra prize for musicology, and the Tosc@ award for transnational opera studies.

Nominee Statement

I am honored to accept the nomination for me to serve the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities as a member of the Executive Committee. As the only institutional member from Latin America, the Pontificia Universidad Católica has both learned a lot from A2RU, and contributed in bringing a different perspective to the alliance. I hope I can both continue and expand on that fruitful dynamic. As director of research and postgraduate programmes in a Faculty that comprises the visual arts, music, theater and other forms of performative practices, I am deeply interested in looking for new ways to contribute in the constant reimagining of the arts. In particular, of the ways in which the arts contribute to an interdisciplinary, global and challenging world. For us, in Chile, this is a time of change: we are changing our constitution, changing the ways in which our universities work, what is defined as research in our universities, and all of that is happening in the middle of a tremendous economic, social, political and cultural crisis, expanded by the current pandemic. Being part of the a2ru Executive Committee will allow me, I hope, to bring a different institutional and cultural perspective, outside the geographical and political limits of North American academia, as well as learning new ways to work in those borderlines between the arts and other fields of academic practice.  

Susan Lakin, Professor, School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, and Director, Frameless Labs, Rochester Institute of Technology

Nominee Biography

Susan Lakin is currently a Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in the College of Art and Design and Director of Frameless Labs, an interdisciplinary collective to advance research, innovation, accessibility and artistic creation in the fields of virtual and augmented reality.  She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California and worked as a freelance photographer in Los Angeles, Sweden and Australia. In addition to her commercial photography work, she owned and operated a professional retail photographic supply store in Burbank, CA.

Attracted to RIT’s strong photography and computer science departments, Susan accepted her teaching position shortly after completing an MFA in Art Studio with an emphasis in digital arts at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  She works across disciplines in her academic and art practices, which led to her role as a Fellow in the School of Individualized Study, an RIT academic unit that provides flexible individualized education pathways.

Susan’s artwork has received numerous awards and is part of the permanent collection at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Oakland Museum of California, the Griffin Museum of Photography, and Photography Museum of Lishui, China.  She has produced multiple interactive transmedia projects exploring the intersections of music, art, and technology.  More recently, she is engaged with immersive technology and collaborates on community projects in the nonprofit sector.  She was chair of the 2020&2021 annual Frameless Labs XR Symposium, an event and online journal for the community of VR/AR makers to encourage collaboration, growth of existing ventures and inspiration for new projects and technology.

Nominee Statement

I am excited to be considered for a second term on the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) Executive Committee.  I embrace the opportunity to contribute to the important mission of a2ru especially at this critical period of transformational shifts due to advancing technologies and unforeseen global pandemic that has accelerated academic institutions into virtual learning, setting the stage for an unprecedented juncture in education.

At the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) I actively engage with interdisciplinary collaboration on campus, which led to my appointment as the a2ru liaison in the first year of our membership.  During that year, I attended the annual a2ru conference with three colleagues from varying disciplines, raised funds to send three students to the student summit, and recruited multi-disciplinary participation in a2ru workshops.  At RIT, I established an a2ru network across campus to disseminate news and recruit engagement with a2ru initiatives.  To enlighten my colleagues on how arts can contribute to the field of science, I organized a lecture and panel discussion on culture and climate changes in Greenland with an alumnus/cinematographer and faculty in art, humanities, and sciences.  Vibrant discussions on the panel brought forth varying perspectives that demonstrated ways connecting knowledge can help solve some of today’s most pressing issues.  This type of bridge building assists in breaking down academic silos and helps remove boundaries to inspire innovation.  Other barriers to interdisciplinary collaborative research include the lack of academic publications supporting art inclusive research projects; therefore, I was thrilled to be invited on the inaugural Editorial Board for the a2ru online journal, Groundworks.

These contributions to a2ru and advocacy for arts integration will continue to inform my contribution to the a2ru Executive Committee.  Additionally, I can bring to this appointment my experience in other leadership positions such as Chair of the RIT Advertising Photography Program and member of the Executive Board at Flower City Art Center, a community based not-for-profit that educates, encourages and inspires all people to create and enjoy the arts.  A2ru is a vital advocate for arts integrated curriculum and research, providing tools and resources to connect academic units on our campus, as well as enable university partner collaboration to successfully navigate the next decade.  I would be honored to serve a second term on the a2ru Executive Committee.

Chris Walker, Director, Division of the Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Nominee Biography

Chris Walker is the Director of the Division of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is a Professor in the Dance Department and founding artistic director of the First Wave program in the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives. Walker co-directs #BARS Workshop at The Public Theatre in NYC, a lab series for artists to investigate the intersection between contemporary verse and theater, created by Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs. He is also a senior choreographer with the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, and program director for the New Waves Dance & Performance Institute in Trinidad & Tobago.

Walker creates contemporary dance, theater and performance artwork rooted in the visual and performance cultures of the African Diaspora. He works in the disciplines of dance, theater, film/video. He served as movement director for two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage’s Mlima’s Tale, which ran at the Public’s Martinson Hall and he is the recent choreographer for The Secret Life of Bees, The Musical produced by Atlantic Theatre in NYC. Walker has collaborated with Laura Anderson Barbata to develop Jus Luv/Rolling Calf a Jamaican ‘mas’ for her Intervention: Indigo project, a performance that was presented in the 2015 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Brooklyn, NY.

His concert dance work has been presented in Europe, Asia and throughout the Americas. His collaboration with Kevin Ormsby and KasheDance in Toronto titled FACING Home: Love & Redemption is currently and has been on tour internationally since its premiere in 2015. He has received numerous international and national grants and honors for his creative research work. He recently completed a Romnes Fellowship, which supported his research on homophobia in the African Diaspora and in 2020 he was named one of the School of Education’s Impact 2030 Faculty Fellows.

Nominee Statement

I consider the nomination to serve on the executive committee of the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (A2RU) an honor.  Since the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic in 2020, across the arts, we started to experience the beginning of a renaissance- major shifts in how we make art, how we share art and how we consume art.   I look forward to working with colleagues in Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities to build on ideas, address concerns and share best practices as we work to support the 21st century research, teaching, and outreach missions of our campuses.  The arts in research one Universities play a significant role in the groundbreaking & innovative research as well as the creative ways in which those findings are disseminated to diverse communities.  Interdisciplinary collaborations interrupt the status quo and interdisciplinarity at its core break down barriers and silos, advance intellectual artistic diversity, create a space of belonging, and give opportunities to people who do not fit into the traditional modes of inquiry and practice.  A2RU with representation from across the country has the vocal strength and access to data that will support arts deans and directors in making a stronger case for investment in arts disciplines as well as in interdisciplinary collaborations.

I represent University of Wisconsin-Madison, which occupies ancestral Ho Chunk land with effigy mounds dating back thousands of years.  These architectural earthworks built in different shapes including animals or spirits are visual reminders that the making of art is a fundamental human impulse.   Since the founding of the state and university in 1848, the University of Wisconsin–Madison has been a catalyst for the extraordinary.  The arts, culture and creative possibilities have been central to the Wisconsin Idea, and the university’s vision for the total student experience, which combines learning in and out of the classroom toward students engaging in four areas of intellectual and personal growth: “empathy and humility, relentless curiosity, intellectual confidence, and purposeful action. ”

At UW-Madison the academic art departments are spread across 4 schools and colleges (College of Letters & Sciences, School of Education, School of Human Ecology and School of Business), and reflect the unique histories of the founding of each discipline on our campus.  For example: the art department grew out of a manual arts curriculum in engineering, and the first university degree in dance was offered through kinesiology.  As director of the Division of the Arts, I work closely with 4 academic deans as well as directors of co-curricular arts programs at UW-Madison to bring the arts, design, and creative problem-solving experiences under one umbrella.  Our office reports directly to the provost and we can engage directly with leadership across all areas of the student experience on campus.  We advocate for the support needed in each discipline, while simultaneously investing in the potentials of the Interdisciplinary and cross departmental collaborations.   Since 1999, in partnerships and collaborations with over 60 university departments and community organizations, the Division of the Arts has conducted 40 interdisciplinary artist residencies featuring more than 100 guest artists from 20 different countries.  Interdisciplinary artists/designers/scholars leave indelible impressions on students’ lives, inspire research, and catalyze community-based responses to real world problems.