At the request of the provost, University of Florida (UF) College of the Arts Dean Lucinda Lavelli recently embarked on a week-long research trip in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas to learn about innovative practices from some of California’s leading universities doing work within the intersection of the arts and sciences while also sharing UF information.
During her week in California, Lavelli exchanged ideas in the area of arts research. These meetings included visits with Marissa Clifford, assistant to the director at University of California, Los Angeles’ Art | Sci Center + Lab; Anthony Cascardi, dean of Arts and Humanities Division of the College of Letters & Science at University of California, Berkeley; and Lauren Pearson, Berkeley, as part of a cross-pollination effort to share ideas on developing the arts world. She also met Stephen Hinton and Matthew Tiews from the Stanford Arts Institute, Leticia Cavagnaro from Stanford's d.school, and scientists Paul Alivisatos, Berkeley, and Bill Newsome, Stanford.
“I was pleased to discover the similarities of approach that we share in the pursuit of new knowledge,” said Lavelli.
Lavelli also had the opportunity to attend and participate in one of the AT&T Foundry’s FutureCasts, a series of salon-style discussions at the Palo Alto Foundry that bring together executives, academics, entrepreneurs and other experts to tackle the future of various technologies. Here she raised the concern that standardized K-12 testing has diminished in students the very creativity sought by the innovative economy and, affirmed the essential importance of arts experience for the community at large.
This visit also enlightened Lavelli on the similarities and differences between the AT&T Foundry and UF’s Innovation Hub, which include variances in room layouts and the addition of a community manager, a job specific to incubators that encourage the mental and creative well being of its thinkers.
Aside from exchanging ideas with leading art and science establishments, Lavelli incorporated meetings with UF alumni and donors. These meetings make the College of the Arts what it is and aim to propel the college even further. Additionally, visits with alumni are a great way to build connections for current students in the ways of internships and advice.
“One thing that is so rewarding is when I meet our alumni, and they’re so willing to share their passion with you about their jobs, industries and art,” said Lavelli. “Our alumni are very generous in spirit.”