Mellon Grant

Working closely with a2ru, ArtsEngine at the University of Michigan was awarded a $500,000, three-and-a-half year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2012 for the purpose of creating the first comprehensive guide to best practices in the integration of arts practice in U.S. research universities.

Surveying The Landscape: Arts Integration at Research Universities, which was published in November 2015, identifies models, obstacles, implementation strategies, costs, and impact on students and faculty as well as on research, practice, and teaching in other knowledge areas. With this award, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has enabled a2ru to make major progress toward its mission of integrating arts practice into the research university.

A second grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, in the amount of  $800,000, was awarded to a2ru in July 2015 in support of this arts forward work. The grant, which spans a three-year term, funds the SPARC Project: Supporting Practice in Arts, Research and Curricula, a three-year initiative that will allow a2ru to disseminate best practices in the integration of arts practice at research universities. This research phase will be lead by Gabriel Harp, who will begin his role as Research Project Director in January 2016. A two-year research fellow position in support of the a2ru SPARC Project is currently open.


Mellon Round One (2012-2015)

Research Project Principal Investigator 
Laurie Baefsky, D.M.A.

Research Project Director 
Bruce M. Mackh, PhD

Research Team 
Lauren Fretz Thompson
David Hiemstra
Malcolm MacLachlan


Research Reports 

Surveying The Landscape: Arts Integration at Research Universities is a review of best practices and challenges for arts integration in higher education. This final report is the result of a comprehensive three-year study funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is authored by Dr. Bruce M. Mackh. The publication was designed by Doug Barrett, Associate Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (an a2ru partner institution). A downloadable copy of Surveying The Landscape: Arts Integration at Research Universities is available as a free download at the HathiTrust Digital Library. A print copy is available via Amazon for $25.00.

ArtsEngine Mellon Research Project Round I Interim Reports:

ArtsEngine Mellon Research Project Round II Interim Reports:


Research Plan 

With the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and ArtsEngine we arrived at the conclusion of a three-year study of cutting edge research and curricula in which the arts are integrated with other disciplines at U.S. research universities. Through this study we are beginning to see how this transformation is manifesting across the country.

Dr. Bruce M. Mackh conducted site visits at leading research universities, videotaping classes, exhibitions, demonstrations, performances, lectures, and interviews with colleagues—from provosts to assistant professors—across a wide range of disciplines who are working to integrate arts and design practice into their universities. In the process, Dr. Mackh developed a wealth of information and documentary evidence, which has been shared with our colleagues across the country. The interim reports are part of the a2ru Knowledge Base.

The Mellon Interim Reports include: examples of these transformative research and integrative curricular efforts; the models that explicate such instances and examples; the challenges they face in the contemporary research university; how they circumvent these challenges; and emerging themes for future research.


Research Interviews Were Conducted at the Following Universities:

  • Arizona State University
  • Boston University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK
  • Harvard University
  • Indiana University
  • Iowa State University
  • James Madison University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • King’s College, London, UK
  • Louisiana State University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • New York University
  • Northwestern University
  • The Ohio State University
  • Otis College of Art and Design
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Stanford University
  • Syracuse University
  • Texas Tech University
  • Transart Institute
  • Tufts University
  • The University of Alabama [Tuscaloosa]
  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Colorado at Boulder
  • University of Florida
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Nebraska
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Utah
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Virginia Tech
  • Washington University, St. Louis

Interested in becoming an a2ru Partner? We encourage you to review the a2ru Partnership Brochure to see what a2ru partners have to say about the organization. Contact Laurie Baefsky, Executive Director, for more information.