a2ru Leadership Workshops: Foresight and Collaboration & Tenure and Promotion Issues Around Arts, Design, and Interdisciplinary Practice

May 11, 2018

The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) will host a workshop to identify and capitalize on effective collaborations across the arts and interdisciplinary practice.

The Foresight and Collaboration workshop will take place on June 7-8 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.


The shape of research, creative scholarship, and teaching is in flux. In order to thrive, university faculty need both foresight and collaborative know-how.

a2ru invites you to a first-hand experience that engages deeply with the future of the research university and what it means for interdisciplinary collaboration in research and teaching.


Are you faculty or a director at a research university currently involved with or anticipating collaborative practice in research, teaching, service?

 Do you want to:

  • Build co-taught courses across departments, schools, colleges, and disciplines?
  • Create programs that deepen university-community diversity?
  • Seek strategic funding to bring new research and researchers together?
  • Cultivate initiatives to inspire students and scholars from diverse corners of campus?


Working through common patterns, challenges, and scenarios, participants will walk away with a critical eye for the special needs and affordances of effective collaborations across the arts and interdisciplinary practice.

 For more information and registration, visit https://www.a2ru.org/events/foresight-collaboration/

 Designing Tools to Address Tenure and Promotion Policies to Support Interdisciplinary Research, Teaching, and Practice

 The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) hosted a Leadership Workshop on Tenure and Promotion in the Arts, Design, and Interdisciplinary Practice, April 30 to May 1, 2018. Convening a diverse group of academic and faculty leaders from research universities across the country, the workshop addressed some of the thorny issues that complicate the tenure and promotion process for faculty who work outside traditional modes of scholarship.


Most universities are enthusiastic about interdisciplinary research and teaching, understanding that complex problems require a variety of approaches and perspectives. However, many faculty members whose teaching and research integrates the arts and design into science, business, or engineering find that their university’s tenure and promotion policies do not always recognize some of the most innovative aspects of their work.

 Does a digital soundscape “count” the way a scholarly publication does? Will it be evaluated by the standards of Computer Science, or Music? Who are the external reviewers qualified to assess it? These and many other questions like them speak to narrowly defined tenure and promotion assumptions.

 The thirty a2ru Leadership Workshop participants took on the challenge of clarifying broadly inclusive tenure and promotion practices that are aligned with university values. Rather than featuring a series of expert speakers, the hands-on workshop featured a design sprint. With expert facilitation, participants will prototyped a practical toolkits that worked through key issues and questions.

 Workshop participants returned to their institutions with tools that reveal how institutional ecosystems are affected by tenure policies, map the tenure and promotion process, explore modes of scholarship, and help frame tenure and promotion candidacy. a2ru Research Director Gabriel Harp says, “This is an opportunity for academic leadership to take a moment to reflect and get down to the nuts and bolts of policy that incentivizes and supports the broad range of important scholarship going on today.” With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the workshop built on a three-year research initiative to transform insights from more than 600 university faculty, staff, and students into new practices that support research, teaching, and the arts.

The convening represented faculty and administrators from Duke University, Penn State University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Utah, the University of Florida, the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign,  Tufts University, the University of Colorado at Denver, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Louisiana State University, North Dakota State University,  Wesleyan University, he University of Cincinnati, the Rochester Institute of Technology, North Dakota State University, and George Mason University. 


The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities is a partnership of over 40 institutions committed to ensuring the greatest possible institutional support for the full spectrum of arts and arts-integrative research, curricula, programs, and creative practice for the benefit of all students and faculty at research universities and the communities they serve. The Leadership Workshop on Tenure and Promotion is sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in affiliation with ArtsEngine at the University of Michigan.

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