Research Brief: Impacts of Arts Integration and Interdisciplinarity in Research Universities

Impacts, Reports and Publications

Read the Research Brief

From 2012-2015 (as part of the Mellon-funded SPARC project), we interviewed upper-level administration, faculty, and students at 38 institutions about the impact of their arts-integration initiatives, including teaching, research, and community projects. We asked about what impact they hoped for and what impact they actually saw, as well as how they measured impact. They talked about a range of experiences—from awards and recognition for innovative research, to strengthened student communities, to sensory gardens for the blind. This research brief synthesizes our findings from this data and incorporates a secondary literature review of exemplary use-cases and scholarly sources. 

While the impacts data is a rich source of information, it is most exciting as a jumping-off point to further exploration. First, the structure of categories and types we created is dynamic and adaptable, and we are actively seeking your input—What alternative organizations might be generative? Where do you see gaps, where important types of impact are absent? Then, while this data is an account of what impacts our member institutions have experienced, it doesn’t attempt an explanation of how these impacts function. What are the mechanics—expressed as use-case examples or demonstrated in existing scholarship—of the various impacts we encounter? We welcome your insights and recommendations. Please direct feedback to Veronica Stanch, a2ru Research Programs Manager, at vstanich@umich.edu.