New Hires Help Further Arts and Humanities’ Interdisciplinary Aims

Whether by studying the intersections of medicine and technology or by creating art that fuses the digital and analog, new faculty who have joined UT Dallas’ School of Arts and Humanities this fall add to the breadth of expertise housed in the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building.

Seven tenure or tenure-track faculty members are among the new additions to the Arts and Technology (ATEC) and Emerging Media and Communication (EMAC) programs.

“Building an adventurous and groundbreaking academic program like EMAC can be a daunting task. We are fortunate to have attracted three talented and committed scholars, each of whom complements the program in a different way, to UT Dallas. I am confident that EMAC — guided by our returning, new and future faculty members — will become truly a Tier One academic jewel,” said Dr. Dennis M. Kratz, dean of the school and the Ignacy and Celina Rockover Professor of Humanities.

In addition to the growing number of faculty, the ATEC building continues to inspire interdisciplinary collaboration and research. Recent work includes student animations like the short “Sticky,” and Dr. Maximilian Schich’s recent project that brought massive amounts of data to life and became a viral sensation on YouTube, garnering nearly 900,000 views.

The new hires include:

Dr. Olivia Banner

Dr. Olivia Banner, assistant professor of emerging media and communication

Previously: Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, the Humanities Research Center, Rice University

Research Interests: Intersections of medicine, new media, and health and illness, with a specific focus on how race, gender and disability are refracted within these intersections

Quote: “The EMAC program, combined with UT Dallas’ strong pre-med programs, student creativity, and connections to a wider community of medical and technology professionals, is the perfect place to foster new thinking and projects that address our ongoing challenges to human health and well-being.”

Dr. Rosanne Guadagno

Dr. Rosanna Guadagno, associate professor of emerging media and communication; associate professor of psychology

Previously: Program director, Social Psychology, the Science of Learning Centers, and Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC), National Science Foundation

Research Interests: Social influence in mediated contexts, psychological processes in social media, video games and virtual environments; gender roles

Quote: “I was drawn to UT Dallas by the exciting promise of building a new program. EMAC is just a few years old, and with our current growth rate, program faculty all have an opportunity to collaborate on a much larger scale than is typical in academia. Together, my colleagues and I get to build our program. In addition, as a social psychologist who studies media effects — a topic typically addressed by communication scholars — I found the interdisciplinary nature of UT Dallas to be very appealing. That I can study what I am interested in, yet maintain a presence in my primary field, is exactly what I was looking for. I am pleased to have found it at UT Dallas.”

Dr. Angela Lee

Dr. Angela Lee, assistant professor of emerging media and communication

Previously: PhD graduate, The University of Texas at Austin

Research Interests: Audience analysis, news consumption, media effects, behavior prediction, journalism routines, ethics

Quote: “I’m drawn to UT Dallas’ intellectual vibrancy, and believe that EMAC’s youthful energy and ambition is at the forefront of research and teaching in ways that not only encourage asking new questions but also challenge the applicability of old answers in today’s emerging media landscape. I’m very happy to be a part of UTD and wish to make a lasting impact on how my students see, understand and challenge the world through theoretical and empirical lenses.”

Andrew ScottAndrew F. Scott, associate professor of arts and technology

Previously: Professor of sculpture, coordinator of sculpture, Savannah College of Art and Design

Research Interests: His artwork serves as a bridge though which he can reconcile and communicate collective cultural ideals; his artwork and teaching combine digital fabrication processes and traditional fine arts practices.

Quote: “I hope to build on the strong foundations established at ATEC by providing students with an opportunity to explore the relationship between electronic media and contemporary artistic practice. In my own work, I am excited about the influence that working in a major research environment will have on my artistic practice.”

Sean McComberSean McComber, assistant professor of animation in arts and technology

Previously: Master of Fine Arts graduate, UT Dallas; senior cinematics animator, Sucker Punch Productions

Research Interests: Character animation, animation studio

Kyoung Lee Swearingen, assistant professor of arts and technology

Previously: Technical director of lighting at Pixar Animation Studios

Research Interests: Visual storytelling, mood, look development through lighting

Scott Swearingen, assistant professor of arts and technology

Previously: Designer at TKO Software, Gearbox Software, Electronic Arts Inc. and Maxis

Research Interests: Game design, level design, virtual environments, kinetic sculpture and radio