Viz professor receives honorary degree from visual arts college

For leading a movement to engage art with science in education and research, Carol LaFayette, a visualization professor at Texas A&M University, recently received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree from Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia.

LaFayette, holder of the Harold L. Adams Interdisciplinary Professorship in Visualization, was chosen for the honor by Moore’s honorary degree selection committee, which consists of faculty, students and the school’s academic dean.

“Her work expands the boundaries of art and science in this ever-increasing interdisciplinary world,” said Cecelia Fitzgibbon, Moore president. “She is a role model for students and worthy of this recognition.”

LaFayette was honored May 15, 2016 at the 166th commencement of the school, the oldest women’s visual arts college in the United States.

In 2011, the National Science Foundation chose LaFayette to organize a network of scientiests, engineers, artists, and designers interested in bridging gaps between disciplines. The effort yielded the Network for Sciences, Engineering, Arts and Design, or SEAD Network, an international group that advocates for STEM to STEAM — intersections of art and design with science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Today, STEM to STEAM is a global movement.

Due in part to SEAD Network initiatives, in December 2015 the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine launched a two-year study investigating the value of integrating the arts and humanities with STEM education, the first time the concept has been investigated at such a high level.

In addition to championing STEAM initiatives, LaFayette, serves as director of the Texas A&M Institute for Applied Creativity, which collaborates, coordinates, and advocates for multidisciplinary study through the application of creativity and innovative thinking.

LaFayette also works with scientists to invent unique ways to experience interconnections of flora, fauna and phenomena in her laboratory/studio, a regenerating, former ranch in Texas.

She was honored in 2010 with the Texas A&M College of Architecture’s J. Thomas Regan Interdisciplinary Faculty prize and she received a Distinguished Teaching Award in 2003.

posted June 6, 2016