It appears that even US universities are feeling the squeeze in higher education. Writing in the Huffington Post recently, John Eger, Professor of Creativity and Innovation at San Diego State University said: "Higher education is at a crossroads. Colleges and universities are facing a litany of problems - severe budget deficits, fluctuating enrolment demands, spiralling educational costs, reductions in financial aid, declining student and faculty morale and an erosion of public trust and confidence in the academic enterprise."
For Professor Eger, the integration of arts into other disciplines provides a natural response to the current challenges. This view is strongly endorsed by the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (A2RU) an alliance of over 30 institutions, based at the University of Michigan.
As Australian universities determine their responses to similar issues here ,the A2RU report "Surveying the Landscape: Arts Integration at Research Universities - A review of best practices and challenges for Arts Integration in Higher Education' , may make for useful reading over Christmas.
The report, funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation, and the result of a comprehensive three year study of US universities, is available at this link (pdf).