The courtyard at the Frost School of Music.

U-LINK connects the dots with school-based forums

By Janette Neuwahl Tannen

U-LINK connects the dots with school-based forums

By Janette Neuwahl Tannen
The Frost School of Music will host the inaugural U-LINK event highlighting faculty research on a common theme.

Why don’t American students who enroll in high school music classes reflect the diversity of our nation? How did the Dreamers, the undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as young children, help jazz musician John Daversa win three Grammys for his album about their experiences?

These are just two of the topics that Frost School of Music faculty members will discuss at 1 p.m. on November 18, at ULINK@Frostthe first in a new series spearheaded by the University of Miami’s Laboratory for Integrative Knowledge (U-LINK) within the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Scholarship—to showcase existing research and scholarship addressing race, diversity, and equality. It is the theme for the latest round of rapid U-LINK grants.

Now in its fourth year and under the leadership of Erin Kobetz, who was named vice provost for research and scholarship this summer, U-LINK continues to foster interdisciplinary research aimed at solving important societal problems of local relevance. But U-LINK’s structure is now moving to support projects focused on a common topic that may help attract external grant funding.

“South Florida is arguably the future of the U.S., so the questions we can ask here provide us the opportunity to be at the forefront of discovery and to contribute knowledge, and ultimately, we want the work of our talented faculty teams to attract funding sources outside of the University,” Kobetz said. “But the other goal of U-LINK is to connect faculty across the University who might be working on related topics, or whose expertise aligns in a way that enables them to solve a problem that one discipline alone cannot solve. These new school-based events will help us do that.”

As the nation’s awareness of systemic racism was heightened in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the inaugural U-LINK theme of race, diversity, and equality was an obvious choice. And with an enthusiastic response from faculty members over the summer, U-LINK awarded grants to nine interdisciplinary teams that proposed an array of projects to promote exposure and solutions for racial and ethnic inequalities in American society.

Now, beginning with the Frost School, U-LINK events will highlight existing research and scholarship across the University that focuses on the current theme, enabling faculty members across the University to learn about relevant research that is being conducted. A future event will showcase research on racial disparities in health outcomes at the Miller School of Medicine.

“It’s something we hear a lot from faculty—that, for example, someone working on child trafficking at the nursing school didn’t know about someone working on the same thing at the medical school,” said Ali Mosser, senior manager of research, development, and strategy for the Office of the Vice Provost for Research. “Our hope is by having events like U-LINK@Frost, we’ll break down school and department silos and enable people to make the connections that will advance their and the University’s research. As we always say, the sum is greater than its parts.”

Launched in 2017, U-LINK is a key initiative of the University’s Roadmap to Our Next Century, and is designed to integrate a culture of interdisciplinary research across the University that is essential for tackling major societal challenges, such as climate change, misinformation on social media platforms, and environmental hazards.

To register for U-LINK @ Frost, click here.