Supporting Practice in the Arts, Research, and Curricula (SPARC), 2012-2015 [United States] (ICPSR 36823)

Published: May 31, 2017

Principal Investigator(s):
Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities; Arts Engine, University of Michigan

Version V1


With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the goal of the Supporting Practice in the Arts, Research, and Curricula (SPARC) research project is to highlight the role of the arts in research universities and to support new modes of practice across the arts, research, curricula.

Using open-ended interviewee responses as the primary data source, combined with other sources of evidence and secondary research, the project explores the models, obstacles, implementation strategies, costs, and impact of arts-integrative practices on research, teaching, and promotion.

From 2012-2015, the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) conducted a baseline data collection effort and study of 46 universities and including over 900 interviews. The goal was to discover the models, obstacles, implementation strategies, costs, and impact of arts integrative practices on research, teaching, and learning in higher education.

Following from the Phase I data collection, Phase II of SPARC Project (2015-2018) seeks to synthesize and disseminate the research findings.

Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities, and Arts Engine, University of Michigan. Supporting Practice in the Arts, Research, and Curricula (SPARC), 2012-2015 [United States]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-05-31.

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Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

college or university

Users of the data must agree to the Terms of Use presented on the NADAC Website and available through the link in each codebook.

2012 -- 2015

2012 -- 2015

These data were minimally processed. Should the data collection be updated at a later date, these data will undergo additional curation steps.

For Boston University and Ohio State University, IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) data is not available currently. This may be updated at a later date. For more information about IPEDS, see the IPEDS website.

This data collection is comprised of data on 402 interview participants and 7269 responses. Initially, there were almost 600 interviews transcribed for further analysis; however, some interview participants have opted to remove their interview from public access.

There is a CASEID variable which uniquely identifies each case and should be used when merging. The UID variable is the respondent ID, and the QID variable identifies the question asked. As a result, multiple rows of data correspond to each respondent. For analysis purposes, duplicate information at the respondent and institution level is labeled -9 (BLANK).

Due to long string responses in the variables, values for INTERVIEW_QUESTION_VARIANT and INTERVIEW_RESPONSE_BODY are included in a separate Excel spreadsheet named qda36823-0001_longstrings.xlsx. This file can be merged onto the quantitative file using CASEID and UID.

Interview text files which correspond with the coded quantitative data are also available via public download in a zipped package named Interview filenames contain the 4-digit UID which matches the UID variable found in the quantitative data. Files are organized by institution. Interviewer text is marked by "I" and respondent text by "R".

A website displaying data visualization and other results for this data collection will be available at a later date.

Prior to the interviews at each site, participating institutions received a letter of introduction and copies of the interview scripts. Each institution was asked to seek the support of a designated contact person to forward these materials to prospective interview participants.

Interviews provide the majority of project data, and researchers recorded the interviews using the digital audiovisual equipment. Participants vocalized their consent to the recording at the beginning of an interview session. In total, 965 individuals from across the spectrum of higher education participated in the interviews, including: 30 university presidents or vice presidents; 42 provosts, vice provosts, or associate provosts; 189 deans, associate deans, or assistant deans; 129 directors, chairs, or department heads; 386 faculty members; 189 students or fellows. Of these 965 interviews, 881 were digitally recorded, resulting in a collection of over 1,100 hours of video.

The SPARC project has IRB Not Regulated status (HUM00080799 and HUM00112280). Altogether, 598 video interviews were transcribed for further analysis, and interviewee names were removed from the transcripts to preserve confidentiality and direct identification. Interviewees were then contacted by email, provided with the details of how their interview transcripts would be used, the opportunity to review their transcripts, and the option to remove their interview from any public access.


Individuals from 46 higher education institutions in the United States.



college or university


survey data

face-to-face interview

mixed mode

The data for this study cover a range of topics ranging from definitions of arts research to leadership advice, program descriptions, and student success.



2017-05-31 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.

No weights were provided for this study.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

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This study is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Data on Arts & Culture (NADAC). NADAC is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.