School of Information Joins ArtsEngine as Fifth Academic Unit of Governance

University of Michigan’s ArtsEngine program, a national model for integrated curricular and co-curricular programming, welcomes the U-M School of Information (UMSI) as its fifth supporting academic unit. Created in 2006, ArtsEngine is an interdisciplinary arts integration initiative founded by the four U-M North Campus schools and colleges—the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and the College of Engineering.

The Michigan School of Information’s (UMSI’s) programs are broadly interdisciplinary, making ArtsEngine an ideal collaborative partner. The faculty come from many fields—from computer science to history to psychology to business. Their diverse student body likewise represents well over 100 majors. With the mission of building a better world through technology and information, UMSI’s faculty, staff, and students reflect the intellectual diversity of the broad range of social and technological sciences that make up the unique UMSI approach to solving information problems.

Dr. Laurie Baefsky, Executive Director of ArtsEngine and the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru), sees this partnership with UMSI as the next logical step for ArtsEngine at Michigan. “Our students are digital natives. They arrive hungry to apply technologies, information, and social practice to their own majors and career interests. ArtsEngine strives to provide a gateway for this exploration, through collaborative opportunities spanning multiple disciplines. UMSI also does this, by design!” Baefsky continues, “Bringing UMSI into ArtsEngine connects our students, faculty and program administrators on the North and Central campuses through direct programs and greatly expanded tools and resources.”

Thomas A. Finholt, Dean of the School of Information, agrees. “We expect our partnership with ArtsEngine to enhance our already strong ties to the North Campus schools and colleges and present us with new opportunities for partnerships with them. As we look forward to relocating to the North Campus in the next five years, we see this as a natural step in exploring ways in which we can collaborate with our future neighbors.” UMSI Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Yakel concurs, “UMSI faculty are already engaged with ArtsEngine and this official step will solidify and extend that involvement. We also look forward to more student interaction in courses and co-curricular activities among students from the four schools.”

ArtsEngine’s mission is to inspire, foster, and strengthen intellectual collisions and durable collaborative practices driven by the arts, to fully maximize the potential of each student and faculty member on North Campus and at the University of Michigan.