Effective Aug. 22, ATEC & A&H are merging to create one epicenter for the arts on campus: the School of Arts, Humanities, and Technology (AHT).
The merge means that there are now seven schools on campus, with AHT teaching close to 2,000 of UTD’s students. President Richard Benson said Nils Roemer, the previous dean of A&H and ATEC, will lead the new school because of his existing familiarity with UTD’s arts, humanities, and technology programs and their structure.
“Dr. Nils Roemer stands out as a lead- ing light…” Benson said. “He is well known, well respected, a proven leader, and the perfect individual, in my opinion, to lead the School of Arts, Humanities and Technology.
Benson said there was always synergy between A&H and ATEC, and the merge, which has been in the works for several years, was the natural next step in the University’s efforts to strengthen their overlapping natures.
“I like the idea of having the ‘A,’ ‘H,’ and ‘T’ all reinforced within one school,” Benson said. “Too often, people see technology as a world apart from the arts and humanities. We shouldn’t think that way. The best technological designs are beautiful in their own way and are informed by the needs of society and lessons learned from history.”
Roemer said the merger will not directly impact students’ degree plans. All curriculum changes are at the discretion of faculty members who may choose to alter existing courses or create new ones given the new environment. The main impact the merger creates is opportunity – students will have more and easier access to AHT’s shared resources, facilities, staff, and thus more opportunities to enrich their education.
“In many ways, what I think will be unique about this school is students will have a number of learning environments to engage them in different ways,” Roemer said. “All AHT students will have access to seminars, lectures, studio spaces, labs, maker spaces, theaters, exhibit spaces — the list goes on. That kind of variety is unusual and will open up possibilities. For example, on one side of the school, we have music performances and on the other side, we have an audio and recording program. Music, performance, and recording could be enhanced overall through that conjunction.”
AHT classes will operate across campus, in the ATEC building which will soon be the ‘AHT’ building — the A&H portable structures, and the Jonsson build- ing among other locations. When the University finishes the first phases of the Athenaeum, students will be able to make use of its gallery, exhibit and performance spaces, and professors may choose to host classes in the facility.
“I’m excited to engage the wider campus community beyond our school as well,” Roemer said. “Students rolling into our classes come from the School of Management, from engineering from all over our University. We’re creating possibilities for our own students and them too, and the beautiful thing is that we can’t anticipate all the things that will come from this merger, yet. In lots of ways this is exciting to watch, and we will be happy about all of the collaborative surprises that are to come.”