The seeds of the Arts Across the Curriculum initiative were planted in February 2011, when Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab held a forum to gauge faculty interest in creating a cross-curricula arts program. Many prominent American universities and colleges, including MIT and Whittier College, have similar arts initiatives, and Hunter's location and achievements in the arts positioned it well to launch a similar initiative.
The President's forum attracted an overflow, standing-room only crowd. Many of the College's distinguished professors -- not only in arts disciplines, but also in the fields of philosophy, history, anthropology, Asian studies and the sciences -- attended, expressing excitement about interdisciplinary collaborations through the arts.
In April, Hunter College applied for - and in June received - a $100,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a year-long planning period with the following goals:
- To form a committee comprised of faculty and administrators who would devise a workable plan and budget for an Arts Across the Curriculum initiative
- To set up a few interdisciplinary pilot programs, college-wide events, and courses to test new approaches to infusing the arts at Hunter
- To send members of the faculty committee to meet with their peers at institutions that have already successfully integrated the arts across their curricula
"I am confident that this initiative will flourish at Hunter College, which is not only situated in the arts capital of the world but is also the site of so many world-class arts programs," said Vita C. Rabinowitz, Hunter College's provost and vice president for academic affairs, who is leading the planning effort for the Arts Across the Curriculum initiative.
Also spearheading the initiative is Project Director Dara Meyers-Kingsley, who teaches "The Arts of NYC" seminar in the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter and directs the Muse Scholars program.
"I am delighted to be tasked with increasing the visibility of the arts at Hunter through the Arts Across the Curriculum initiative, a Mellon Foundation-funded initiative begun in 2011," Meyers-Kingsley said. "We are perfectly positioned to expand the school's boundaries at this point in Hunter's history with a President and Provost who have championed and built strong arts programs, distinguished faculty who embrace the arts through so many disciplines, and committed Trustees and donors who support the initiative.
"We recognize how perfectly positioned we are, in the heart of the City's cultural landscape, to enjoy an incredibly rich array of world-class institutions all in the school's immediate radius. Hunter students are fortunate to have an opportunity to experience an academic community that embraces the arts across all disciplines at a time of unparalleled emphasis on the creative impetus behind success in every field."