College of the Arts Launches Its First Faculty Research Symposium on April 6

Students will also participate in the University’s Student Research Symposium on April 16

On April 6, the College of the Arts (CART) will hold its inaugural CART Faculty Research Symposium from 1-2p.m. in University Hall 1070.
Prof. Neil Baldwin, of the Theatre and Dance department, who worked along with Laura Dolp, assistant professor at the John J. Cali School of Music, said the idea to hold such an event has been around for some time.

“I know that this was something [CART] Dean Geoffrey Newman and Associate Dean Ronald Sharps have wanted to launch for a long time,” Baldwin said.

The purpose of the initiative was to call attention to the various research work being conducted specifically in the arts.

“The idea may have its roots in the desire to emphasize the research and scholarly dimensions of the arts, since these aspects are traditionally not as prominently foregrounded as in other disciplines in the University,” Baldwin said.

Dolp said last October, she and Baldwin got their heads together to come up with ideas for the event.

“We used a roster of CART faculty engaged in the University’s Faculty Scholarship Program to get our thoughts moving – who was doing what kinds of research, and in what areas, that might be of interest to a wider audience throughout the college,” Dolp explained.

“In the end, we decided to select two dynamic, creative, forward-thinking faculty members from two different departments juxtaposed into one provocative event,” Baldwin added.

As a case in point, Baldwin cited the inaugural symposium. In that, Profs. Andrew Atkinson, Dept. of Art and Design, will show his photographic work and discuss “Toward a PhD in the Visual Arts: How the Visual Arts Contain Cultural Knowledge,” and Scott Richards, John J. Cali School of Music, will play selections from his work and discuss “Issues that Arise When Straddling the Disparate Worlds of Musical Theatre and Opera.”

As for what’s on tap in future symposia, Baldwin said that’s still to be determined.

“You can say this is a pilot project,” he said. “We want to assess the degree of interest by colleagues in what others are working on, and the best way to do this is to launch the first event and evaluate its effectiveness.”

However, Baldwin quickly added, the inaugural event is already having an “effect.” He said the CART Faculty Research Symposium is part of a broader mission, particularly that of the  Creative Research Center (CRC), the transdisclipinary online community that CART launched last April to spotlight Montclair State University students' creative work, as well as encouraging diverse collaborations across disciplines.

“On a broader scale, the CART Faculty Research Symposium ties into the larger mission of raising the profile of the College of the Arts in the University and beyond, by showing that CART is an incubator in many and various ways,” explained Baldwin, who is also the Center’s founding director. “The Creative Research Center is dedicated to interdisciplinary methodologies of all kinds and, so, that ties back into the two speakers on April 6 who are from dramatically different areas.”

In fact, the Center is a co-sponsor of the inaugural event and is also involved in The Montclair State University Student Research Symposium, to be held April 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., for which Baldwin is keynote speaker. This year marks the fifth for the student symposium, but the first time CART is participating in the event, which is open to all University students.

Baldwin said his goal is to have the inaugural event serve as a springboard for faculty to reach a wider audience, beyond the campus.

“One of our plans going forward, something the CRC is already doing, is to take the papers and talks presented at the CART Faculty Research Symposia and publish them online with links back to the CRC,” he explained. “In this way, we want to validate the credibility and seriousness of Web-based scholarship. The monograph culture in academia is still very much with us, but all signs point to the necessity of finding other ways to present serious scholarship through new media.

“By planting the flag in this strategic fashion, CART is stepping into the forefront of an important issue in American higher education right now – finding more public ways to spotlight interdisciplinarity,” he said.


Invitation to attend -

All are welcome to the inaugural CART Faculty Research Symposium April 6, from 1-2 p.m. in University Hall 1070. Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Laura Dolp, at, or Baldwin at

The Montclair State University’s Fifth Student Research Symposium will be held April 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Also a public event.