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History

Students test VR games at the 2018 AET Showcase event. Photo by Lawrence Peart.

The School of Design and Creative Technologies in the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin was created in 2017. With its founding, the school became the fourth major academic unit in the College of Fine Arts, alongside the Department of Art and Art History, the Butler School of Music and the Department of Theatre and Dance.

The new school combined the Design program with the Arts and Entertainment Technologies program to support the need for creative professionals in the business, nonprofit and government world. Led by design industry leader and founding Executive Director of the Center for Integrated Design Doreen Lorenzo, the school includes the Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies, the Department of Design, the Center for Integrated Design, the Design Institute for Health, and the Bridging Disciplines Programs in Digital Arts & Media and Design Strategies.

The Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies grew out of the Center for Arts and Entertainment Technologies, which launched in 2016 and was the home of the Bachelor of Science in Arts and Entertainment Technologies. The program has four areas of concentration: Game Design, Visualization, Music and Sound and PLAI (projection, lighting and interactivity).

The Department of Design grew out of the Design division, which had previously been housed in the Department of Art and Art History since 1992. The Design program offered a B.F.A. in Design and added an M.F.A in Design in 2001 and a B.A. in Design in 2017.

The Center for Integrated Design was formed in 2016 as a partnership between Design, Engineering, Information, Business, Computer Science and Architecture programs. Through a Bridging Disciplines (BDP) certificate program, the CID brings Design Thinking into the core of the UT curricula on a comprehensive scale with the interdisciplinary Center for Integrated Design (CID) with a multidisciplinary curriculum that allows ALL UT students the opportunity to study design methodology and apply it in creative and entrepreneurial scenarios.

The Design Institute for Health was created in 2015 as a collaboration between the Dell Medical School and the College of Fine Arts to apply a creative design-based approach to the nation’s health care challenges, and to rapidly integrate that perspective into medical education and community health programs.

In 2017, the school hired Jan Ryan in the newly created role of Director of Creative Entrepreneurship and Innovation. A successful entrepreneur and passionate advocate for professional women in Texas, Ryan has joined UT to create a new entrepreneurship program for students in the College of Fine Arts. Ryan is developing new courses and co-curricular programs that prepare students for 21st century creative careers.

In 2018, the school created the Extended Education program, led by Executive Director Julie Schell, to extend world class, design-led education for on-campus units, corporations, nonprofits and K-12 and higher education institutions.