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U-M Arts Initiative Signature

Arts + the Curriculum Grants

The Arts Initiative Arts + the Curriculum Program supports curricular development toward integrating the arts into student learning, new pedagogical research, and pilot programs.

The Initiative seeks proposals for curricular development projects, research that explores the application of the arts in classrooms, or programs that enhance the connection between teaching at the University of Michigan and the arts. Projects should promote integration of arts thinking, methodologies, or practices into student learning, through the curriculum. The proposed projects can be theoretical for wider dissemination or classroom-based for the development of the applicant’s own courses.

Examples of the kinds of activity this program supports:

  • Developing new curricular materials (concept guides, bibliographies, syllabi)
  • Creating modules, or course components, for teaching through the arts in humanities, social sciences, or STEM
  • Facilitating methodologies for collaborative teaching: arts + other disciplines
  • Data collection and analysis to inform impact of the arts on teaching and learning
  • Testing models of arts-based classroom engagements or technologies that increase access to creative making or collaboration
  • Investigating and designing high-impact learning models through the arts (internships, travel learning, civically-engaged learning)
Propose a project
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Selected proposals from individuals will be for $2,500 to $10,000 
Selected proposals for teams will be for $5,000 to $20,000
Teams composed of members from two or more units are encouraged.


Many students who come to U-M as arts practitioners and performers lose their sense of arts identity by the time they graduate due to lack of opportunity to be involved in the arts. A recent survey indicates that 72% of first-year students indicate that they are not as involved in the arts as they would wish to be according to a survey by ArtsEngine with a2ru (Arts Engagement Project, 2019).

The Arts Initiative has conducted a series of workshops and listening sessions with members of the U-M community representing a range of disciplines and positions. One common desire expressed in these sessions is to provide more opportunities for our students to learn through the arts and provide support for faculty, and staff in pedagogically-focused programs, to integrate the arts into teaching. This program supports and encourages wider access to arts-based learning across the U-M community.

The Arts Initiative identified these focus areas to encourage arts-based teaching at U-M.

Applications will indicate how their proposal addresses one of the following focus areas:

  • Collaboration and interdisciplinary teaching and pedagogy project development is often cited as an effective way for faculty from non-arts disciplines to tap into new approaches to framing concepts and alternative forms of learning assessment (beyond papers or presentations), and for arts faculty to demonstrate arts modalities in teaching and learning to peers.
  • Curricular materials and new class modules or course components can activate teaching and learning and serve as templates for adoption of arts pedagogy for others.
  • Research or data analysis about the impact of the arts on teaching and learning will uncover more data-backed evidence of the impact of the arts on teaching and learning, and contribute to case-making.
  • Development of high-impact learning experiences centered on the arts will immerse students in experiences that engage them and convene groups from various backgrounds and perspectives.

The goal of this program is to catalyze new collaborations or new attempts to bring the arts into a class or program, support research in arts pedagogy to promote wider understanding of arts in a research university context, exploration of models of collaboration across disciplines, or models of arts-based engaged learning that can serve a wide range of students.

The Arts Initiative is assembling a resource bank of examples of arts-based teaching and learning. Awarded proposals will provide a report of outcomes that can serve as a resource for others interested in developing arts-focused teaching and learning opportunities.

All awarded proposals will publicly present their findings or outcomes at a symposium held Fall 2023.

Who can apply

  • Faculty, Tenure-Track, Practice-Track, or Lecturers, at the Ann Arbor, Dearborn, or Flint campuses
  • Staff of pedagogically-focused programs
  • Mixed teams of faculty and staff

We seek proposals both from faculty and programs from non-arts units, and from arts-based units:

  • Non-arts units: proposals to encourage arts-related content or creative expression that enhances learning but does not merely instrumentalize the arts
  • Arts-based units: proposals to promote wider reach and understanding of art-based teaching, with arts faculty or program staff to lead interdisciplinary teams, create/co-create course materials as arts experts, or promote arts-based learning by students both majoring in arts and pursuing other majors

Other guidelines

  • Funds can offset the cost of a teaching release, as negotiated by the applicant working with their  department.
  • Cost share is not required, but encouraged.
  • Funds can be used for travel.
  • Funds can be used for a summer-ninth effort.
  • Funds can offset staff salary in proportion to project effort.
  • Funds can be used to pay student workers.
  • Can incorporate methodologies related to arts and K-12 education, but for the benefit of learning in higher education.
  • The Arts + Teaching program is not intended as a supplement to duplicate an existing program, or only buy tickets/ pay honoraria for class guests (see Arts at Michigan’s Course Connections for this kind of support), though payments for honoraria or tickets are allowed if part of a larger plan for new curricular development.


Proposals for the program’s first round of funding are due June 15th, and awards will be announced mid-July.

Projects should be completed by June 30, 2023

A second call for proposals will open in Fall, 2022

Awarded projects are required to provide a written report within two months of completion as a contribution to the Arts Initiative’s resource bank of arts-based teaching and learning examples.