Looks like we are going to need a bigger bandwagon!
In his annual speech to the Academic Council last Thursday, President John Hennessy addressed the role of the arts at Stanford, including the goal of making the arts an integral component of the university's educational mission.
This is not because of some warm and fuzzy support for the arts. Nope… there is a method to this approach. One that focuses on the way the arts spur creativity and lead to innovation. Things one would hope our universities would see as valuable. Skills our business need in this new economy.
"I believe the arts offer an expanded tool set for learning and understanding, which can enhance creative thinking skills," Hennessy said. "But this will also require facilitating more cross-disciplinary collaboration between the arts and other fields."
In his remarks, Hennessy presented a mixed picture of the current state of arts education at Stanford. Although the arts and humanities have been an essential part of the university since its founding, and many outstanding arts programs exist on campus, Hennessy repeated an earlier assertion that the quantity and depth of the university's offerings in the arts "are not up to the level of a great university like Stanford."
The fact that the arts have lagged behind is "not the primary reason for us to seek to build stronger programs," the president said. "The primary reason is what such programs can do to enhance the ability of our students to think creatively and to contribute in novel ways."
For more context, check out my interview with Sir Ken Robinson(PDF File). Looks like the beginning of a trend!
Arts essential to multidisciplinary research, teaching