The University of Texas at Austin inaugurated its new School of Design & Creative Technologies at a ceremony today.
A new unit of UT’s College of Fine arts, the school — which began enrolling students in the current semester — will offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as Bridging Disciplines Program certificate for undergraduates in Design Strategies and Digital Arts & Media.
The new school essentially combines the college’s existing Design program with the Arts and Entertainment Technologies program as well as the Center for Integrated Design, a partnership formed in 2016 that links the university’s Design, Engineering, Information, Business, Computer Science and Architecture programs. Also incorporated into the new school is the Design Institute for Health, a collaboration created in 2015 between UT’s new Dell Medical School and the College of Fine Arts to apply a creative design-based approach to the nation’s health care challenges.
Courses in the new school will include designing for health, designing for artificial intelligence, creative technologies in theater and music, entrepreneurial ventures and cross-disciplinary design thinking methodologies.
Design industry leader Doreen Lorenzo, who is the founding and current director of the UT’s Center for Integrated Design will lead the School of Design and Creative Technologies. The new Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies will be led by Bruce Pennycook, a professor of music composition.
“The school is also an unorthodox educational venture for a research university,” said Douglas Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “We’re exploring new models for achieving sustainable excellence in cutting-edge programs worthy of the flagship university of the state of Texas.”
Dempster said that the new venture “moves UT Austin more assertively into emerging creative, commercial disciplines that are driving culture and economies in the 21st century.”
Dempster and other officials expect the new school to become the largest academic unit in the College of Fine Arts. It is the fourth major academic unit joining the Department of Art and Art History, the Butler School of Music and the Department of Theatre and Dance.
The school is housed on the fourth floor of the Fine Arts Library in renovated space that accommodates classrooms with adaptable technologies, a high-tech teaching lab, dedicated design studios, an audio studio, seminar rooms and faculty offices.
The Foundry, a high tech makerspace in the Fine Arts Library, opened last year to support design exploration for all UT students, staff and faculty.