The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) is a partnership of over forty-three institutions committed to transforming research universities to ensure the greatest possible institutional support for arts-integrative research, curricula, programs and creative practice between the arts, sciences, and other disciplines. It is committed to supporting the growing body of high-quality scholarly and creative production most attainable when disciplines are free to experiment within and across their boundaries.
Responding to the growing number of arts-integrative collaborations and programs that exist across the landscape of higher education in the U.S., in May 2011 The University of Michigan’s ArtsEngine—a body that drives arts-integrative collaborations among the arts, architecture, and engineering units—convened deans and other academic leaders from top research universities across the country to identify and begin addressing institutional barriers to arts-integrative efforts. From this meeting, the ArtsEngine National Network was formed. As the ArtsEngine National Network deepened, it became clear that the numerous research, curricular, and other extant initiatives were driving a much larger movement—a “creative turn”—in U.S. higher education. In an effort to research, identify, fund, and solidify this movement, this group of leaders realized that a more robust response was required. As a result, a2ru was officially founded in December 2012.
With unparalleled scholarly range and depth, the contemporary research university has the distinct capacity to equip faculty and students to confront challenges with expertise and creative confidence. Research universities that support exploration through mutually beneficial interdisciplinary approaches spur creative resolutions and meaningful innovations. a2ru enables research universities to make more informed decisions and mitigate risks while engaging in innovative arts-integrative scholarship, teaching, and creative practice. a2ru identifies issues and trends in arts-integrative research, curricula, and creative practice and addresses institutional hurdles to implementation. a2ru attends to the critical mass of arts-integrative efforts that have already emerged and addresses the next generation of challenges. Informed by our partner institutions’ collective inquiry and pursuits, a2ru conducts research and calls for specific changes to traditional institutional frameworks.