New School of Design and Creative Technologies launches in the College of Fine Arts


September 7, 2017
SDCT Students listening to Assistant Dean Doreen Lorenzo at an all-school fall kickoff in The Foundry, located in the Fine Arts Library at UT Austin

In a move aimed to support the need for creative professionals in the business, nonprofit and government worlds, The University of Texas at Austin has created the School of Design and Creative Technologies. The city of Austin, aptly dubbed Silicon Hills, has become a bellwether for creative jobs of the future. The new School of Design and Creative Technologies will be uniquely positioned to work with this ecosystem.

The new school will focus on educating students for creative professions in heavy demand across a wide range of industries. Students will study designing for health, designing for artificial intelligence, creative technologies in theater and music, entrepreneurial ventures and cross-disciplinary design thinking methodologies.

The school launches immediately and is expected to become the largest academic unit in the college as it continues to grow undergraduate enrollment in the Arts and Entertainment Technologies and Design programs.

“The School of Design and Creative Technologies moves UT Austin more assertively into emerging creative, commercial disciplines that are driving culture and economies in the 21st century — for the benefit of our students and the relevance of our university,” said Douglas Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “The school is also an unorthodox educational venture for a research university. We’re exploring new models for achieving sustainable excellence in cutting-edge programs worthy of the flagship university of the state of Texas.”

The new school will be led by design industry thought leader Doreen Lorenzo, who is the founding and current director of the Center for Integrated Design. As assistant dean of the School of Design and Creative Technologies, Lorenzo will hold a faculty appointment as clinical professor of design. The new Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies will be led by Bruce Pennycook, a professor of music composition in the Butler School of Music. A search is underway for a chair for the school’s new Department of Design.

The school is the fourth major academic unit in the College of Fine Arts, joining the Department of Art and Art History, the Butler School of Music and the Department of Theatre and Dance.

“Rethinking undergraduate education means providing meaningful experiences that prepare our students for life after graduation. The new School of Design and Creative Technologies reflects this type of educational experience,” said Maurie McInnis, executive vice president and provost of UT Austin. “The school challenges traditional conventions by placing human-centric design methodologies at the core of its curriculum model to enhance the undergraduate experience.”

The school will offer the following degree plans:

  • Master of Fine Arts in Design
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design
  • Bachelor of Arts in Art (Design)
  • Bachelor of Science in Arts and Entertainment Technologies

The following academic centers will move to the new school:

  • Center for Integrated Design
  • Design Institute for Health, a partnership between the college and Dell Medical School
  • The school will offer the Bridging Disciplines Program certificate for undergraduates in Design Strategies and Digital Arts & Media.

Thanks to a partnership with UT Libraries, the new school will be housed on the fourth floor of the Fine Arts Library in a space that has been renovated to create state-of-the-art classrooms with adaptable technologies, a high-tech teaching lab, dedicated design studios, an audio studio, seminar rooms and faculty offices.

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