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Thursday, May 23
The Indiana Daily Student

Arts and Humanities Council members discuss plans for year

Associate Vice Provost for Research in the Arts and Humanities Edward P. Comentale listens to an audience member asking a question concerning the accessibility of the arts and humanities to students at IU's campus. The meeting took place Tuesday afternoon at the Lilly Library.

As faculty walked into the Lincoln Room of the Lilly Library, they were greeted by Edward Comentale, associate vice provost for arts and humanities, and Jonathan Elmer, director of the College Arts and 
Humanities Institute.

Comentale and Elmer led the discussion Tuesday at the Arts and Humanities Town Hall meeting. Comentale began the meeting by explaining the Arts and Humanities Council and its goals and plans for the year.

The Arts and Humanities Council is a campus-wide council that was worked into the Bicentennial Strategic Plan, approved last December.

The council is devoted to making students passionate about the arts and 
humanities.

“Our goal is really to think big, think big,” Comentale said. “The provost told us that again and again, and we’re trying to figure out how to make arts and humanities experiences ... nourishing arts and humanities experiences ... available to all students.”

Comentale discussed the guiding principles of the council. The principles include making the case for residency, harnessing student passions and interests, facilitating dynamic exchanges, instilling values of arts and humanities, and utilizing complete environmental and regional features.

He said the goals of the council are reshaping and energizing everyday campus life, producing lifelong advocates of arts and humanities and putting IU on the map as a brilliant cultural hub.

Comentale emphasized the need to focus on getting students’ ideas regarding the arts and humanities.

“We’re trying to bring students into the programming process,” Comentale said. “We’re trying to figure out what their interests are. We’re asking for their help in promoting the arts and humanities. And really, honestly, we’re trying to tap their energy, their kind of grassroots student energy in spreading the word.”

Comentale went on to discuss how the arts and humanities can utilize the entire campus.

“We’re devising ways in trying to utilize the whole campus, dissolving boundaries between the inside and outside,” Comentale said. “And also, effectively using outdoor spaces and thinking about the region at large as a kind of laboratory for arts and humanities work and 
experience.”

Comentale also discussed the four areas of focus for the Arts and Humanities Council. These areas include publicity, campus programming, curriculum and faculty research. Within each of these four areas, the council has come up with different initiatives that will build on the areas.

These initiatives include programs such as monthly public broadcasts, interactive campus maps, an Arts and Humanities Fair, an Arts and Humanities Certificate, and faculty research groups.

“The idea of the council is to make communications possible that have proven to be quite difficult over the years,” Elmer said. “The council is designed to be a kind of resonating chamber for these ideas.”

Comentale then opened up the floor for discussion. Attendees discussed topics such as how the research programs fit in with the Grand Challenges and Emerging Areas, how flexible the funding is for research and what the new research laboratory initiatives mean for faculty and the arts and humanities.

Many attendees raised questions about the new research laboratory initiatives.

Comentale said these laboratories are a way to facilitate team-based projects as well as leave room for individual projects.

“It would be a group effort,” Comentale said. “It would be collaborative. And yet, there’s plenty of room for individuals to still do their work.”

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