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Texas A&M Appoints Dean of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts

Texas A&M Appoints Dean of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts

Tim McLaughlin, Dean of the School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts


Laura McKenzie/Texas A&M University Department of Marketing and Communications

Tim McLaughlin was appointed as dean Texas A&M School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Artsand the inaugural holder of the Ray Rothrock ’77 Endowed Dean’s Chair. McLaughlin has served as interim dean since the school’s founding in September 2022.

“The School of Performance, Visualization and the Fine Arts is a critical component of fulfilling Texas A&M’s commitment to be the best land-grant public university in the country,” McLaughlin said. “Being selected as the school’s first dean is both an honor and a challenge.”

Under McLaughlin’s leadership, the school has experienced growth in student enrollment and faculty and staff hiring, along with expansion of academic programs in the visual arts, performing arts, interactive media, visual computing, and humanities. A new undergraduate Theatre degree joining existing majors Science of Dance; Performance and Visual Works; And Visualization During the fall semester. Additional degrees are undergoing an approval process. Eight new little ones added since school started.

“We are elevating and bringing together existing arts programs on campus,” McLaughlin said. “At the same time, we are expanding offerings to all students and developing an interdisciplinary practice across arts, science and technology within the school.”

The emerging Virtual Manufacturing InstitutePart of the School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts, it will be open in the fall both on the main campus in Bryan-College Station and Texas A&M-Fort WorthThe Texas Legislature has appropriated $25 million for faculty, staff and equipment for the institute. The school is also developing extensions of its academic, research and creative studies programs for its Fort Worth campus.

McLaughlin was the founding chair of the Visualization Department from 2007 to 2020, focusing on innovative approaches to blending art, design, computing, and the humanities. He was a principal investigator on grants from the National Science Foundation and the Simons Foundation’s Science Sandbox. McLaughlin’s research includes animation systems, remote collaboration on creative projects, and the growing interest in visual computing.

McLaughlin received a BS in Environmental Design from Texas A&M University in 1990 and a MS in Visualization Sciences in 1994. He then worked in visual effects at Industrial Light & Magic and Lucasfilm Animation until 2007, leading teams of artists and engineers developing computer graphics techniques for digital creatures. His film credits include “Star Wars: Episode I,” “Van Helsing,” “War of the Worlds” and “Mars Attacks!” He also worked on “Project 880,” a virtual production proof-of-concept project for James Cameron’s “Avatar.”