In anticipation of and in conjunction with the University Arts & Culture strategy process, we have sought to integrate the arts into the heart of the MSU research mission. Our efforts are inspired by a passage from the 2008 Harvard Task Force on the Arts report, which recognized that a 21st century research university should:
“… make the arts an integral part of the cognitive life of the university: for along with the sciences and the humanities, the arts—as they are both experienced and practiced—are irreplaceable instruments of knowledge.”
To this end, we have undertaken an open and exciting re-visioning and restructuring process in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design (AAHD) and have developed in the Department of Theatre signature initiatives in entrepreneurship and in the creation of innovative sensory-friendly performances for neurodiverse audiences. These efforts have been aligned with the three core values of equity, openness, and community as indicated, for example, by our Critical Race Studies Artist Residency program in AAHD, and in Theatre, by our ĭmáGen program that develops new musicals alongside Broadway artists in partnership with the Wharton Center.
The MFA program in AAHD has been restructured to empower students of diverse backgrounds to identify individualized pathways that focus on themes like Arts, Science, and Technology or Design, Culture, and Identity. The new curriculum will take more intentional advantage of the Department’s place at a major research university and prepare MFA students to become artist-scholars who adeptly connect their individual practices of art and design to contemporary contexts and their histories.