Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) Conference!

Dear Commons Community,

Earlier this month, the “Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities“ (a2ru) conference met in Denver, where representatives from over 30 member universities talked about the need to reinvent the college curriculum. As reported by John M. Eger, Van Deerlin Endowed Chair of Communications and Public Policy at San Diego State University:

“Our students need the new thinking skills for the new economy or they will fail to get a job.

[For example] Design Thinking, made famous by Stanford’s D School and Project-Based Learning are being discussed by educators as teaching methodologies to change the way teachers teach and students learn, but using the arts and arts integration, teaching through the arts, has the most potential to change the basic curriculum.

Taken together, these techniques will engage students; enhance their memory and retention. Importantly, it will give them the skills they need to compete in an economy that values not just knowledge but creativity that leads to innovation.

Yes, there are other ways to generate creativity but as Laurie Baefsky, an executive with skills in the arts, education and conference management, and Executive Director of a2ru put it: “arts integration is the bullet train” to acquiring creativity.

Fortunately, in the wake of basic changes in the world’s economy – revolutionized by the Internet and its progeny – the World Wide Web – many schools and particularly colleges and universities are rethinking the role of the arts and arts integration in the curricula. They hesitate at their peril, however, as never in the history of the world has reinventing education been so urgent and embracing arts integration so vital.

While the arts and arts integration, according to the College Board, have always enhanced and developed critical thinking in students, integrating the arts into the curriculum has taken on a new urgency because of the rapid advance of a global economy, and the worldwide spread of the Internet and digital media.”

This is an important discussion that highlights the importance of art integration in the college and university curricula.


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