The Arts as Catalysts for Educational Innovation
The AIM Project is a new program in an exploratory phase. The core seminar structure for experiments in arts-academics integration is the combination of classroom or discussion session linked with a related arts performance/presentation, depending upon modality. This structure is modeled after the effective means by which science is taught - a mixture of lectures supplemented by laboratory exercises. Other examples of similar kind to AIM have been ongoing on campus, while AIM focuses on a more rare engagement with professional arts enterprises and venues so as to expand and intensify the overall scope of arts-academics interchange.
The concept benefits considerably through collaboration with the outstanding professional arts institutions in our community that include - GEVA Theater, Memorial Art Gallery (MAG, actually part of the UR), George Eastman Museum (GEH), Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), and Rochester Fringe Festival, all of which offer extraordinary artistic productions and collaborative potential. Further, collaboration with UR’s indigenous arts community under the banner of the Institute for the Performing Arts remains ongoing and includes support for specific on-campus events.
AIM Development and Implementation
Early progress entails formulating relations and collaborations with UR leaders in the performing arts, Humanities, Medical Humanities, and Administration, as well as Rochester’s professional arts institutions. Our initial events proved exciting and rewarding to all participants. New offerings and events are planned each year. Further, seed funds have been provided, including matching funds from the Schmitt Foundation, in support of AIM initiatives.
We envision a process of implementation over several years, and propose the following tentative sequence.
- All Schools of the UR are included, and span all levels of academic education and training.
- AIM began with a set of targeted stand-alone events (performances-discussions). These continue as the core of the Project, and include all modalities of the performing arts, linked with a range of relevant and engaging topics of discussion.
- More extensive symposia are encouraged, which would link arts components with related didactic topics over a more extended time-frame and complexity, as proposed by faculty.
- A related option is to engage faculty-driven initiatives to formulate seminars directly linked to the goals of existing courses and programs, or topics within them.
- Funds are available for interested faculty to propose events/seminars, particularly those linked with topics within courses.