Buzzworthy Changes in Fall EMAC Course Options

network-782707_960_720If you’ve already looked at the summer and fall schedules in Coursebook, you probably noticed that we have quite a few changes. We have many new courses in the 2016 catalog. Starting this fall, we have Networked Identities (EMAC 4350), Emerging Media and Identity (EMAC 6350), and Social Science Perspectives of Emerging Media and Communication (EMAC 6375).

We also have some courses that look new but aren’t: EMAC 2321, EMAC 2322, EMAC 3326, and EMAC 4326 have new prefixes. They automatically replace the old ATEC prefixes, so don’t panic if you don’t see the ATEC prefixed courses that appear on your degree plan. Also, some COMM-prefixed courses now have EMAC prefixes, such as EMAC 3300 and EMAC 4314.

Undergraduate students on existing degree plans may substitute the following courses for prescribed electives: Storytelling for New Media I (ATEC 3346) , Design II (ATEC 3384), Strategic Design (ATEC 4357), Interaction Design II (ATEC 4363), Time-Based Art (ARTS 3376),  Photography: New Media (ARTS 3379), Child Development (PSY 3310), Psychology of Gender (PSY 3324),  Social and Personality Development (PSY 3332), and Psychology of Prejudice (PSY 4324).

The fall schedule also includes quite a few special topics courses. The following course descriptions may help you chose which sections best fit your interests:

  • EMAC 4372 Privacy in the Age of the Internet (Banner and Cardenas): Internet of Things (IoT) devices are collecting data about our personal lives – where we travel; what we buy; how much we move; what our bodies consume – at unprecedented volume. This class considers these developments in relation to inequality; gender, race, class, and disability; constructions of normative health; information ownership; and state, corporate, and workplace surveillance. We will also explore the technical dimensions of the IoT and the challenges it poses for existing law and policy. Coursework will include weekly readings and responses, and in-class exercises will include examining IoT objects, for example fitness trackers and other wearables; smart home devices; baby monitors; the Bellabeat; the iWatch; and others. Cross-listed with Computer Science, the course culminates in a collaborative project between EMAC and CS majors. Pre-reqs: EMAC 2321 and EMAC 2322 or permission of instructor.

  • EMAC 4372 Social Media Campaigns (Johnson): Social Media Campaigns will explore the influence social media has during the 2016 presidential election. The class will explore past and present presidential campaigns, comparing and contrasting how media influence public opinion.

  • EMAC 4372 Communication, Media, Information, and Technology (Lee): This course will challenge the way you think about your relationship with those around you and the world. Specifically, you will come away from the course with knowledge of how communication, mass media, and emerging media shape your perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors.

  • EMAC 4372 Ethics in Emerging Media (Lester): Emerging media require critical thinking and ethical behavior among professionals responsible for messages in all areas of mass communications. After an introduction to the history and practice of ethical behavior, this course will consider ethical examples and analyses of visual messages found in such fields as news, documentary, design and editing, informational graphics, cartoons, advertising and public relations, movies, television, computers, augmented reality, gaming, social media, global perspectives, and activism.

Finally, undergraduate students planning to graduate in Fall 2016 need to submit their capstone proposals for registration in EMAC 4380 by March 30. Graduate students planning to graduate in Fall 2016 need to submit their capstone proposals for registration in EMAC 6390 by April 15.


ATEC Lecture Series Resumes on March 22 with Aviation Pioneer

The United States’ first African-American female combat pilot will be the featured speaker as the third season of the ATEC Distinguished Lecture Series resumes at The University of Texas at Dallas on Tuesday, March 22.

Known as “Flygirl,” Vernice Armour is a motivational speaker and veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who used her experience serving as a police officer and completing two tours in Iraq to create a seven-step process called the Zero to Breakthrough™ Success Plan.

Armour’s talk, “Driving Diversity Deep into the DNA of Your Organization,” reveals how to foster and manage diversity — a challenge she has faced as a former diversity officer for Headquarters Marine Corps and as a liaison to the Pentagon.

The lecture, which will be in the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building, will begin at 7:30 p.m. The lecture series is presented by The Dallas Morning News.

Armour went from serving as a police officer to becoming a combat pilot for the U.S. Marines in three years. Within months of earning her wings in 2001, she was flying over Iraqi deserts in a missile-equipped attack helicopter while supporting her fellow soldiers on the ground. She made the Naval Air Station’s prestigious Commodore’s List, received the Academic Achievement Award and was her class’ top graduate.

After returning home and developing her success plan, Armour also launched VAI Consulting and Training LLC.

She has appeared on a variety of media outlets including The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, The Tavis Smiley Show and NPR. Armour also was the first African-American woman on the Nashville Police Department’s motorcycle squad, and has received two honorary doctorates and other awards recognizing her as an aviation pioneer.

Tickets and ParkArts and Technology Lecture Series logoing

For tickets, prices vary between $10 and $20 for lower-level seats in the Edith O’Donnell ATEC Building’s lecture hall. Staff and faculty members can purchase up to four tickets that will be discounted by $5. Emails with a discount code were sent to staff and faculty.

Students with a valid Comet Card can get free balcony tickets at Ticketing Assistance, ATC 1.201, beginning one hour before the lecture. One ticket per student. First come, first served.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

For directions and parking, see this map.

Coming in April

Keith Jenkins

On Thursday, April 28, the series’ third season will conclude with Keith Jenkins, general manager of digital and social media for the National Geographic Society. Jenkins, who oversees the organization’s digital experience, products and staff, will discuss photography and multimedia.

Before joining National Geographic, he was the supervising senior producer for multimedia at, a photographer and editor atThe Washington Post, and the first photography director at and AOL. Jenkins, who also has held posts atThe Boston Globe and graphic designer Dietmar R. Winkler, has won numerous prizes, including an Emmy Award and honors from the Society of Publication Designers, the Edward R. Murrow Awards and the Peabody Awards. Purchase tickets.


Speed-Driven Journalism, Social Media Not Slowing Industry Struggles

Angela Lee

With the rise of speed-driven journalism, reporters face an industrywide expectation to use social media to engage readers. But new research from UT Dallas finds actual practices are falling short of that goal.

In her most recent study, Dr. Angela Lee, assistant professor ofEmerging Media and Communication, examined how journalists use social media in their pursuit for speedy news, and how they perceive their audiences are affected by tweets and posts.

Using in-depth interviews with 11 journalists from different national, metropolitan and local newspapers, Lee’s findings offer several reasons why social media may be unable to save news organizations from financial woes.

Published by The International Journal on Media Management, the study finds that despite an organizational expectation to use social media to engage audiences, journalists primarily use Twitter to communicate with other journalists.

“This study contributes to a larger body of work looking at the disconnect between journalists and news consumers,” Lee said. “Despite prevalent organizational expectations that journalists engage with audiences on social media, most interviewees have very little experience with, or knowledge of, their audiences.”

Although Lee did not conduct a content analysis of social media accounts, she said that interviewees use it to share their work and interests, as well as a form of keeping in touch.

The Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media report suggests that, even as print news remains the core product for most news organizations, the medium is in decline, with both revenue and circulation falling annually.

Despite prevalent organizational expectations that journalists engage with audiences on social media, most interviewees have very little experience with, or knowledge of, their audiences.

Dr. Angela Lee,
assistant professor of Emerging Media and Communication

According to the report, online operations are growing but at a snail’s pace. Digital advertising only accounts for a sliver of total ad revenue — 17 percent in 2014.

Despite these observations, journalists are not receiving institutional support or resources for audience engagement on social media, which could explain a lack of implementation, she said.

Platforms like Twitter do offer more opportunities for transparency in the newsgathering and delivery processes, but Lee argued that the economic value of such platforms is also crucial to most commercial news organizations in the U.S.

She suggested that the prospect of social media saving the newspaper industry from its financial woes is grim.

“When asked to assess the economic viability of Twitter as a news platform, most interviewees believed that while Twitter may encourage news use by serving as teasers, it is unlikely to encourage audiences’ willingness to pay,” she said. “So the question is, how do you save the news industry with a product that is unlikely to generate profit?”

Emerging Media Expert to Discuss Interactive Projects on Feb. 18

Dr. Anne Balsamo

Dr. Anne Balsamo

‘Designing Culture: Reading Walls, World Expos, and Digital Memorials’

When: Thursday, Feb. 18, 4 p.m.
Where: Lecture Hall, Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building

Open to the public; no ticket purchase required.

Parking: From Floyd Road, guests will enter campus at Lookout Drive (see map). Parking in Lot B is free for lecture attendees, and a shuttle will transport them to the lecture hall.


A leading expert in the field of media studies will present a talk on public interactives — an emergent media form that serves to drive social engagement in communal spaces such as urban streets, museums and transportation hubs.

Dr. Anne Balsamo, dean of the School of Media Studies at The New School in New York City, will give a lecture at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, in the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building’s lecture hall. Her talk, “Designing Culture: Reading Walls, World Expos, and Digital Memorials,” is free and open to the public.

Balsamo will share details from projects in her design-research portfolio that illustrate the concept of public interactives.

Projects from her Public Interactives Research Team include the “AIDS Quilt Touch,” a mobile Web app where visitors can search for a name or leave a memorial in a digital book.

“When technological innovation and creative expression are combined to communicate with wider audiences, public interactives activate some of the best affordances of emerging media: using the power of culture to communicate and explicitly including the viewer in processes of knowledge production,” said Dr. Kim Knight, professor of emerging media and communication in the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication.

Previous to her post at The New School, Balsamo had concurrent appointments at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the Interactive Media & Games Division of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.

Balsamo has written two books — “Technologies of the Gendered Body: Reading Cyborg Women” and “Designing Culture: The Technological Imagination at Work.” She was also a member of the distinguished Palo Alto Research Center in 1999, where she collaborated in the design of media for reading, exhibition, public art and cultural projects.

She has a PhD in communications research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Media Artist Explores Digital Labor, Teaches Humanity


For centuries, artists have utilized varying resources to create, educate, and inspire.  Developments in technology have enabled concepts in artistry to evolve from basic photographic innovations into developments branching into hyper-connected web communities utilizing a multitude of digital platforms.  For artists specializing in media, this ability to collaborate and engage globally allows for deeper humanitarian interpretations.

For media artist, author, and UT Dallas Associate Professor xtine Burrough, art-making is altruistic and multidimensional.  Her eye for deconstructing and reconstructing media to generate new perceptions of form and function are blended with classroom experience and corporate knowledge as a former Web Designer.  xtine’s conceptional, instructional, and technical skills from these experiences combine to a bring a greater meaning to her art, as well as fuel her desire to teach.

“I knew right away, this is where I want to be,” xtine shared while students gathered in the courtyard outside her office window.  “I want to be in the classroom.  I really like working with the students.”

xtine’s goal to invite participants, including students, into her work is part of a larger agenda to generate awareness.

Xtine-4394A previous collaboration with the Mechanical Turks, a digital workforce also known as Turkers, led to the creation of xtine’s most recent exhibit, Mediations on Digital Labor.

The exhibit aims to express concerns regarding interface and culture; predominately  worker’s rights.  While digital laborers have a variety of reasons for working on projects, pay is not comparable to the traditional workforce.  For this reason, professor Burrough hired the Turkers to do nothing.

That’s right – nothing.  Workers were hired to rest and report what it was like to do so for one to three minutes.

With this data, xtine visualized a gallery space.  Requiring fifty hours of creation, xtine drew the typography of her findings in chalk on the gallery’s black tiled floor, allowing patrons to experience her artwork by walking through the space.  As art-goers passed through the exhibit, the chalk interpretations of each worker was altered by footprints, signifying a loss of information.  Her message is a play on unencrypted data, as well as the faceless and nameless online workforce of the digital age.

With a range of interests in appropriation, culture jamming, montage, and translation, xtine’s expertise lends itself to broadening the observer’s experience by providing a fusion of said knowledge to explore.  Her knowledge of coding, for example, offers a unique behind-the-scenes perspective to technical-minded audiences.  Blending xtine’s use of visual concepts creates an arena where she hopes people will view her work as social projects that involve technology to “reach a certain level of humanity.”


xtine frequently updates her website missconceptionswhere she posts information on her projects such as On the Web and Walk on Wire, as well as information about her speaking engagements, publications, and other previous exhibits, such as Mechanical/Olympic Games, which placed as an Honoree in the 2009 Webby “Weird Category”.

This story was originally produced by   for the Office of Research at UT Dallas

EMAC Graduate Caps Stellar Career in Basketball, Academics

Madi Hess
Madison Hess

When Madison “Madi” Hess crosses the stage at UT Dallas commencement ceremonies this week, she will be participating with magna cum laude honors in theemerging media and communication (EMAC) program.

But she also leaves a legacy as a standout student-athlete. At an institution more known for academics than athletics, Hess has excelled in both — and she has the championship ring to prove it.

As team captain and point guard, Hess led the women’s basketball team last season to its winningest season ever (26-5), the American Southwest Conference (ASC) title and its first appearance in the Sweet 16 round of theNCAA Division III National Tournament.

After transferring here her junior year from Concordia University in Austin, Hess racked up numerous accolades. Last season, she was the conference tournament MVP, and named to the All-ASC first team and the All-South Region second team. Hess also was UT Dallas’ first nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year.

During her senior year, she led the Comets with an average of 12.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, and led the ASC with 5.1 assists per game. She ranked third in NCAA D-III from the three-point range, shooting 45.9 percent from beyond the arc.

And all the while, despite a heavy practice and game schedule, and frequent travel during the basketball season, she maintained an excellent academic record, carrying a 3.8-plus GPA and making the ASC’s All-Academic honor roll.

“She raised the level of intensity for us,” head coach Polly Thomason said. “Madi was committed to being the hardest worker both on and off the court, and she brought a competitive fire for both academics and athletics. She took us to the next level and brought some national exposure for the University.”


Madi was committed to being the hardest worker both on and off the court, and she brought a competitive fire for both academics and athletics. She took us to the next level and brought some national exposure for the University.

UT Dallas women’s basketball head coach Polly Thomason

Basketball fans took notice. During her two seasons with the team, Hess saw a surge in campus support for athletic events as she helped ignite Comet fever among students, staff and faculty.

“I remember playing here at UT Dallas during my sophomore year at Concordia, and it was just really empty. It was mostly parents, not the student body,” Hess said. “By my senior year, people were filling the stands and waving ‘fat heads’ (poster-sized images of players’ faces).”

Fans started to set attendance records two seasons ago, when the men’s team nabbed its conference championship and made it to the Sweet 16. The women’s team did the same last year.

Hess put her EMAC talents to work by helping to design the silver conference championship ring for the team, which features an orange gemstone and the team’s hashtag slogan #allin. Then she helped raise money so her teammates wouldn’t have to pay for their rings.

“One donor ended up paying for all the seniors’ rings,” Hess said.

Team members have kept a close bond off the court. For her senior capstone project, Hess developed a documentary about the journey of teammate Amber Brown, who is the first in her family to graduate from college.

Hess hopes to work in a sports-related industry someday. Her dream would be to emulate the career of Fox Sports broadcaster Erin Andrews, but she’s also interested in designing logos for sports companies.

She’s already had a few “cool internships,” editing reports on the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers for CBS Radio, and interviewing coaches for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine.

With her winning combination of athletic and academic accomplishments, Hess said coming to UT Dallas is one of the top decisions she has ever made.

“I’m not a small-town person,” she said. “Having more opportunities for academics was really important for me. I saw everything the [Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology] Building had to offer, and it was awesome. Everyone was so welcoming. It just felt right.”

She has one more basketball-related goal. Hess hopes to travel with her parents and Thomason to Knoxville, Tennessee, to see her All-American jersey, while it’s still hanging in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. It will come down in June.

Though Hess admits she sometimes finds it antagonizing to sit in the stands now rather than play on the court, she will always take great pride in what the Comets accomplished during her time here.

“We did so well. I’m just glad for what we did. It’s such a great notch in our belts,” Hess said.


Fall 2015 Capstone Celebration

EMAC Capstone Blog Post

Please join us on Thursday, December 3 at 7:00 pm in the ATC Lobby for our Fall 2015 Capstone Celebration! We are always excited about this event, but it carries particular significance this semester. These are the first EMAC graduates from the new School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication, and this is the first time that we have been able to host the event in our ATC home.

At the event, students will share their semester long projects. Graduate students and select undergraduate students will make formal presentations of their projects, then we will have a showcase where all students will show their work more informally. During the showcase, the audience will have the opportunity to visit with the capstone students and interact with their projects.

You may preview the projects using the following links, but we hope to see you at the Capstone Celebration to let our students impress you with their projects.


Undergraduate Projects


Sara Ahmad – Storytelling through Video ( (Honors project, Outstanding Capstone nominee)

Danielle Boer – The Daily Inquiry (

Nancy Bouton – Little Readers Room (

Candace Brand – Love.Connect.Blog. (

Nicole Brown – APPSCAM (

Dylan Carroll – Dallas Off-Road Bike Association (DORBA) Redesign (

Jennyrayne Colangan – The Kendo Documentary (

Crystal Ezeoke – #LovefysinAsia: Funding Documentary Production (

Misha Fazeli – Social Presence Study ( (Outstanding Capstone nominee)

Paul Ford – Wearable Sentiment Analysis ( (Outstanding Capstone nominee)

Laura Garsea – Utilizing New Media to Further Community Building (

Valerie Garza – Just Passing Through Missions ( (Outstanding Capstone nominee)

Yajaira Gonzalez – Wingstop CSR Research and Development ( (Honors project)

Katherine Harp – Screen Time Before Bed and Sleep Patterns in Adolescents

Madi Hess – A Legacy Never Forgotten (

Carion Jackson – Hold On, I’ve Got a Meme for This

Stephen Jones – The Food Community Blog ( (Outstanding Capstone nominee)

Twinkle Lam – Feedbag (

Eric Martinez – The Value of an Unsettling Image

Yuyun Liu – My Best Friend (

Mithun Mathew – The Richardson Breakroom

Karyn Narramore – Twitter and Donald Trump: A Love Story

Patrick O’Connor – Redeemer Designs (

Natalie Peña Mares – Intercultural Love (

Matthew McCann – Eventzee Redesign

Angelica Presti – Girls Girls Girls Volume 1 (

Matthew T Rader – Viral Vloggers (

Anum Tahir – Up, Up and Away, Super A! ( (Outstanding Capstone nominee)

Cristelle Tejes – ManeGait Extended

Alyson Tong – Chasu

Katie Truesdale – Who Really Won the Debate (

Jordan Watts – PetroFund (



Graduate Projects

Benaiah Ely – Shoeveillance (

Carlos Harleaux – My Indie Block (

Spring 2016 EMAC Courses


3284555653_203ddf91c8_z (1)We hope you’ve cleared any holds you may have in Galaxy because it’s time to register for Spring 2016 courses. As always, you can find course listings in Coursebook (, and you can access your registration appointment time in Galaxy. The following course descriptions may help you choose among courses emphasizing specific topics this spring:

  • COMM 3342.001 CHILDREN AND MEDIA (Drogos): This course will examine the role of media in the lives of children. Special attention is given to developmental differences in how children process and respond to the media. Major areas of consideration include children’s responses to media violence, educational media, and play with media. Each topic is examined in terms of major issues, research findings, and theoretical explanations of the findings.
  • COMM 3342.002 and COMM 3342.003 PHOTOJOURNALISM (Lester): This course explores through lectures, guest appearances, and field experiences the creation of words and images to tell stories for publication in print and screen media. The history, theories, ethical considerations, practices, and production techniques for analog and digital displays of journalism-based visual storytelling presentations are the main elements covered by this class. You will not only learn how to tell your own stories but also how to critically analyze work produced by others. Prerequisite: Junior status.
  • EMAC 3328.001 DIGITAL SOCIETY – Health, Disability, and Media (Banner): This course examines how emerging media and cultural representations shape the meaning of health, illness, and disability. We will consider how medical and psychiatric concepts are represented in film, television, the news, social networks, and digital knowledge publics such as Wikipedia, and we will examine how people use the affordances of digital media to define health, illness, and norms for bodies and minds in ways that challenge mainstream concepts. Our primary texts will include films, YouTube videos, social-networking sites, online news publications, cell phone apps, digital media health campaigns, and online memoirs. Throughout the semester we will be storming Wikipedia by joining Wikipedia’s Disability Project and improving Wikipedia’s representations of health and disability.
  • EMAC 6342.501 DIGITAL CULTURE (Lee): Drawing on a journalism ethics perspective, this course will examine a range of emerging media practices and dilemmas that make salient the benefits and confines of digital technology. Topics may include institutional norms and business models on online news, audience behaviors, media effects, and data journalism.
  • EMAC 6374 DIGITAL TEXTUALITY (Knight): One of the definitions of text is “something, such as a literary work or other cultural product, regarded as an object of critical analysis.” ( If we drill down far enough into any form of digital “text,” we arrive at the level of binary code: 1s and 0s. This includes other objects of critical analysis, such as digital images, sound files, animations, videos, etc. This material commonality draws our attention to the fact that any digital object has multiple layers – from the surface representation to the source code, down to those 1s and 0s. In addition to this kind of fundamental multi-mediality, it is very rare to encounter a digital text that is composed on the surface of only one type of media object. In other words, in digital textuality, words almost always co-exist with images, links, sound, and video, all built atop a foundation of code. This course takes these types of multi-mediality as its starting point and asks students to reconceive “digital textuality” as a more broad form of cultural product that can occur in multiple media formats and that explores the unique affordances of different kinds of text objects. Through this production-intensive course, students will explore the theoretical and material connections between analog and digital textuality, centered on text, image, sound, and moving image. Students will apply their theoretical understanding of digital textuality to the production of a portfolio, composed of four separate digital media objects and a short paper, each of which foregrounds certain modes of making meaning. The goal is to examine the shifts in writing and representation in digital environments.  The course situates “writing” within a networked, digital environment and, as such, will focus on the production of “texts” in different media forms.
  • EMAC 6381.001 PERSUASION (Guadagno): The course is a graduate-level, selected survey of theory and research on the social influence and persuasion process. As such, we will concentrate on the interpersonal factors that affect change–for without change we cannot lay claim to influence–in two principal domains: attitudes/beliefs and actions/behavior. In keeping with this division, the course will cover the psychological and communication literatures on persuasion and on compliance resulting from one’s exposure to some form of interpersonal pressure for change. Coverage is broken down further into a number of topics and connected readings. The role of technology-mediated interactions on social influence and persuasion will also be covered in this course. In addition, a serious effort will be made to consider how the material of the class may be applied to the construction of effective information campaigns of various sorts. Accordingly, time will be allotted toward the end of most class periods for students to collaborate in small groups on the development of a pair of information campaigns on topics of their choosing.


Also, undergraduates may use COMM 3352 Media and Culture as a prescribed elective.


Finally, undergraduate students planning to enroll in EMAC 4380 Capstone Project should check their UTD email for the application, which is due November 10. Undergraduates interested in pursuing major honors should consult with their academic advisors to determine their eligibility. Graduate students planning to register for the Advanced Project should contact Ellen Curtis.


Image: From Flickr @rcade

John Maeda Champions the Role of Design at STEAM Lecture

John Maeda
John Maeda, who is a design partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, made a case for how STEM subjects can benefit from taking design into consideration — a movement known as STEAM.
UT Dallas faculty from different disciplines met with John Maeda on campus before his lecture on Oct. 15.

Graphic designer and computer scientist John Maeda kicked off the third season of the Arts and Technology Distinguished Lecture Series on Oct. 15 with a discussion about the role of design in science, technology, engineering and math.

Maeda, who is a design partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, made a case for how STEM subjects can benefit from taking design into consideration — a movement known as STEAM, and the “A” representing art.

Before his lecture, John Maeda attended meetings with students and faculty to discuss the STEAM movement and the growing role of design.

“Design in many cases is all about meaning and the conveyance of meaning,” Maeda said. “Designers tend to be good at taking you from something that doesn’t make sense to something that makes more sense, which is valuable.”

During his lecture, Maeda detailed his journey — from a student at MIT, where he studied software engineering, to his role as president of the Rhode Island School of Design.

He recounted meetings with influential graphic designers such as Ikko Tanaka and Paul Rand, who sparked his shift from engineering to design.

He said his first meeting with Rand in the late 1990s helped shape his thoughts on the value of creative pursuits.

“Creativity is a funny thing,” he said. “Creativity is about the surprise, while safety is no surprise. In the real world, you don’t want to mess things up, but in the creative world, you get to do that. It’s important to code what kind of situations enable creativity and when to just shut it down.”

Maeda also described design’s role in creating new technologies as paramount. He said that to make quality products, companies must prioritize design at the front end, rather than treating it as an afterthought.

He cited successful companies with designers as co-founders, such as Airbnb and Instagram.


“Creativity is about the surprise, while safety is no surprise. In the real world, you don’t want to mess things up, but in the creative world, you get to do that. It’s important to code what kind of situations enable creativity and when to just shut it down,” John Maeda told the audience.

“This an industry of creating businesses, and a business is not won purely by beauty,” he said. “A lot of my work is showing that design is less about beauty. It’s about how relevant it can be and what its staying power is.”

Before his lecture, Maeda held more intimate meetings with both students and faculty to discuss the STEAM movement and the growing role of design.

“He expanded the possibilities within the Rhode Island School of Design to incorporate new technologies with the more classical methods,” said ATEC professor Cassini Nazir BA’02, BA’03, MFA’11. “I think ATEC is very much at the opposite end of that spectrum. One of the things that I took out of our discussion is we’re looking at what’s new in technology and rooting ourselves in the classical perspective of design.”


Attend the Next ATEC Lecture

P.W. Singer

The next speaker in the lecture series will be P.W. Singer, a strategist and senior fellow at the New America Foundation, who is considered one of the world’s leading experts on 21st-century security issues.

His talk, “Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know,” will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12.

Purchase tickets from a desktop or laptop today.

EMAC Professor Kim Knight to Kick Off ‘Viruses, Vectors and Values’ Lecture Series

Inspired in part by the notable, viral outbreaks of 2014, the Center for Values in Medicine, Science and Technology will explore “Viruses, Vectors and Values” in its upcoming lecture series.

Dr. Matthew Brown, associate professor of philosophy and the director of the Center for Values, said the theme for this year’s series was inspired in part by widely reported epidemics in the United States, namely Ebola and measles.

Dr. Kim Knight
Dr. Kim Knight

“This year’s lecture series will explore the social values and cultural meanings associated with viruses, disease, epidemics, vaccinations and public health,” Brown said. “Our annual lecture series serves to foster recognition of the various, complex ways that ethics, values and culture interact with science, technology and medicine by bringing world-class scholars to UT Dallas to share their research and ideas in these areas with faculty, students and the members of the general public.”

Dr. Kim Knight, assistant professor in the emerging media and communication program, will start the series today with a talk titled “Viral Anxieties in Art and Antiviral Technology.” She’ll explore the connections between the viral in human bodies and computers.

“If we abstract their characteristics, biological and computer viruses share many traits,” she said. “They are largely invisible to the average person, they circulate despite attempts to control them, and they self-replicate. They are also connected in the kinds of anxieties they evoke among people.”

Our annual lecture series serves to foster recognition of the various, complex ways that ethics, values and culture interact with science, technology and medicine by bringing world-class scholars to UT Dallas to share their research and ideas in these areas with faculty, students and the members of the general public.

Dr. Matthew Brown,
associate professor of philosophy and the director of the Center for Values

Knight will give a reading of a 2003 installation piece by Sneha Solanki titled “The Lovers” and will connect the media project to contemporary antiviral technologies.

Influenced by the “ILoveYou” computer virus of 2000, Solanki’s piece consisted of two computers networked with only each other. At the beginning of the installation, one of the computers is infected with a virus, and each monitor begins to display text from love poems.

“The virus itself is quite interesting because it exploits a computer weakness, but it also exploits the human need for connection,” Knight said. “Of the various works in this exhibition, I found Solanki’s installation quite provocative in the way it combines Romantic-era poetry with the virus. Human and machine language work together in ‘The Lovers’ to achieve the work’s impact.”

She said the talk will draw a parallel between the functions of antiviral computer software and crowdsourced health reporting applications and how these technologies premediate anxiety to encourage adoption.

The lecture will take place in the Jonsson Performance Hall at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.