First Facebook, Then Twitter, Now ATEC
One month before Facebook was founded as a private company, at a time when "twitter" had more to do with birds than with the Internet, UT Dallas began an experiment combining science and engineering with the creative arts and humanities.
That experiment in 2004, known as Arts and Technology (ATEC), is now a well-established program of the School of Arts and Humanities that has expanded from 138 students its first year to more than 700 students this past fall. We offer ATEC degrees at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels—the first of their kind in Texas. Our gamble has paid off, big-time.
While students flock to ATEC, those who follow the development of new endeavors at the intersection of the arts and science have taken notice, nationally and internationally. The Princeton Review last year named UT Dallas among its top 10 schools for video game design. The Global Conference on Videogame Cultures at England's Oxford University last summer featured the work of five graduate ATEC students.
This dynamic program has earned the right to an equally vibrant home on campus. Thanks to generous support by The University of Texas System Regents, we recently broke ground for the construction of a 155,000-square-foot facility that will house programs in visual arts, emerging media technology and multimedia communications, as well as a 1,200-seat lecture hall. Designed as a showcase to the visual arts and a highly adaptable technology hub for the ATEC program, the building will include classroom space for game design as well as drawing and painting studios, 3D art studios, and photography and print-making labs, among others.
This $60 million building, slated for completion in 2013, offers 2,150 new classroom seats and will be home to as many as 50 faculty members, among them a very recent appointee, Dr. Roger F. Malina, Distinguished Professor of Arts and Technology and professor of physics in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
Dr. Malina is an example of the kind of interdisciplinary pioneer whom we expect to see leading students' learning experiences in the most innovative programs we offer. A physicist and astronomer by training, he is also president of the Association Leonardo in France, which fosters connections among the arts, sciences and technology. He was principal investigator for NASA's Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer satellite at UC Berkeley. His work is focused on connections among the natural sciences and arts, design and humanities. Speaking at his recent investiture about why he came to campus, he said, "We face problems today that leave no choice but for the sciences and the arts and humanities to work together. UT Dallas is taking the lead in creating innovative connections."
Human creative talent drives innovation, social advancement, and prosperity of nations. Increasingly, this innovation is occurring at the intersection of art and technology. Malina's ideas, and those of his colleagues, should flourish given this new and specifically supportive environment in which to grow. Who knows how many virtual worlds will be born, how many start-up ventures created, how many technological innovations realized? Look for it to happen right here, at UT Dallas, in the new ATEC building.
About This Newsletter
The President’s Viewpoint is a periodic newsletter distributed to a select group of alumni, friends, faculty and staff. It comes from the desk of Dr. David E. Daniel, president of The University of Texas at Dallas, and provides the ultimate insider’s view on the news and concerns of the University.