Arts Initiative seeks proposals for Arts + the Curriculum program

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The U-M Arts Initiative is accepting proposals from faculty and staff for projects that promote the integration of arts thinking, methodologies and practices into student learning via the curriculum.

Through its Arts + the Curriculum program, the initiative seeks to support curriculum development and research that explores and encourages wider access to the arts across the U-M community.

The initiative will make grants available of up to $10,000 for individual projects from U-M faculty and staff, and up to $20,000 for teams. They encourage applications from teams composed of members from two or more university units.

Proposals for the program’s first round of funding are due June 15, and awards will be announced in mid-July. A second round of proposals will open in the fall.

Formed in October 2019 under direction of a working group of leaders from the U-M community, the Arts Initiative aims to make the arts central to the university’s identity and mission.

The initiative is nearing the end of its three-year startup phase, during which it conducted a series of workshops and listening sessions with stakeholders representing a wide range of disciplines and positions at the university.

“We heard a common desire to provide more opportunities for all of our students to engage with the arts through an interdisciplinary approach. One way of achieving that goal is to support faculty and staff both in the development of new ideas and in research about the extraordinary benefits the arts have on learning,” said Christopher Audain, the initiative’s managing diretor.

Applications for the Arts + the Curriculum program should indicate how the proposed project will address one of four focus areas:

  • Collaboration and interdisciplinary teaching and pedagogy project development.
  • Curricular materials and new class modules or course components.
  • Research or data analysis about the impact of the arts on teaching and learning.
  • Development of high-impact learning experiences centered on the arts.

“The arts can activate new, generative ways of thinking and discovery across all fields,” said Jonathan Massey, co-chair of the working group and dean of the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

“The goal of this program is to empower faculty and staff to develop and test new approaches to teaching and learning by activating the power of the arts to spur imagination, promote empathy and mutual understanding, and open up new perspectives on challenging topics.”

All awarded proposals will publicly present their findings at a symposium to take place in the fall of 2023. Reports on project outcomes also will serve as a resource for others interested in developing arts-focused teaching and learning opportunities.

“The Arts + the Curriculum program speaks to the Initiative’s commitment to creating opportunities for innovation in service of our academic mission. It provides support for new models of engaged, arts-based learning that will benefit students across disciplines and programs,” said Sara Blair, working group member and vice provost for academic and faculty affairs.

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