About

The ASU School of Arts, Media and Engineering is a leading transdisciplinary program in digital media spanning arts, design, sciences and engineering.

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History

The School of Arts, Media and Engineering, a collaborative initiative between the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, developed out of the Institute for Studies in the Arts. In 1989, Dean of the Herberger College of Fine Arts Seymour Rosen proposed the creation of the Institute for Studies in the Arts to update the way the arts were taught. He proposed a multidisciplinary arts unit to encourage faculty, students, visiting artists, and technicians to create and explore new art forms and to research technologies and training methodologies that would enhance the arts professions. The institute would be responsible for examining critical issues in the arts and for establishing collaborative projects across several arts disciplines. The Arizona legislature approved the creation of the Institute for Studies in the Arts as a unit of the College of Fine Arts at ASU and the program held its inaugural performance in 1990.

In 1991, Richard Loveless took the helm of the Institute. Over the next decade, the Institute for Studies in the Arts supported more than 130 creative research projects and, as one of the leading arts research centers in North America, attracted an impressive number of exceptional visiting artists and scholars.

By 2000, the Institute for Studies in the Arts had made significant achievements in their artistic mission. In response to the program’s 10-year review, Dean Robert Wills decided to explore the addition of research and graduate education to the Institute for Studies in the Arts’ mission. Thanassis Rikakis was hired in 2001 to lead the Institute for Studies in the Arts’ transition to an academic unit. In his 2002 inaugural address, ASU President Michael Crow identified as one of his top priorities the development of the Institute for Studies in the Arts into an interdisciplinary media arts and engineering program.

In 2004, the Arizona Board of Regents approved the transition of the Institute for Studies in the Arts into the Arts, Media and Engineering program. The program was established as a joint initiative of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. The Arts, Media and Engineering program quickly grew into its new mission and within five years established a transdisciplinary PhD in Media Arts and Sciences, jointly offered by the Herberger Institute and the Fulton Schools, and concentrations in 12 graduate degree programs across campus. The Arts, Media and Engineering program also received funding and support from a variety of federal and industry partners, including the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the MacArthur Foundation, and Intel, as well as others.

With the support of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts Dean and Director Kwang-Wu Kim and ASU Provost Elizabeth Phillips, the Arizona Board of Regents approved the creation of the School of Arts, Media and Engineering in 2009 to allow for the expansion of the school’s mission to undergraduate education. Since fall 2010, the school has led the Herberger Institute’s Digital Culture initiative. The curriculum encompasses course offerings in digital media from fifteen units and multiple undergraduate degree offerings in Digital Culture.