Department of Art and Art History Design

New full-time lecturers appointed in Design and Studio Art

Wed. September 30, 2015

three photos of two women and man
From left to right: Cassandra Cisneros, Bethany Johnson, and James Walker.

The Department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin is pleased to announce three new full-time lecturers in the areas of Design and Studio Art.

Cassandra Cisneros joins the department as a lecturer in Design. Cisneros received an M.F.A. in Graphic Design from the California Institute of the Arts. Before entering graduate school, she worked for the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Blanton Museum of Art as in-house graphic designer. Her thesis at CalArts explored the graphic language of candy packaging and sugar’s historical relevance to immigration.

Bethany Johnson joins the department as a lecturer in Foundations, the department's first-year experience for all majors. Johnson is an artist and designer based in Austin, Texas. Her work revolves around the study of systems, and the visual representation of information. She received an M.F.A. in painting from UT Austin in 2011, and her work is represented by Moody Gallery in Houston, Texas. A number of her most recent pieces are currently on view at 516 Arts in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and her work will also be shared with Austin this winter at The Mom Gallery.

James Walker joins the department as a lecturer in Design. Walker is a graphic designer who aims to make good things for good people. He is the founder of the collaborative studio, Husbandmen, and previously lectured on graphic design at Washington University, Santa Reparata International School of Art and the University of Missouri. Walker received an M.F.A. in Design, Visual Communication from Virginia Commonwealth University. During his studies, he presented his research on community engagement at Design Research Society in Bangkok, Thailand and Richmond’s first TEDx. His award-winning work has been featured in a variety of international design blogs, books and magazines.

Design Course with Kate Catterall responds to campus carry lesgislation

Wed. September 30, 2015

people sitting in auditorium

Campus Carry: A Design Response

Using anticipatory design methods, students in the Design in the Social Environment course, Fall 2015, will explore design-centric approaches to changes that may be precipitated at The University of Texas at Austin after S.B. 11 is implemented in August 2016.

Students will focus on social and physical transformations of the environment as they research the legal and constitutional questions central to SB 11. They will explore the history, design and marketing of weapons; weapons storage; body armor (textiles/other); and other pertinent artifacts.

They will research every aspect of safety, security and defense in relation to the body, mind, in both public space and learning environments—ultimately designing a range of speculative design proposals.

Presentations and research materials will be archived in a course blog.

Guest speakers include:

Caitlin Sulley: a Research Project Director at the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault at the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin. She will speak about the Campus Carry legislation from the Institute's perspective.

Jose Perez: a veteran and recent graduate of the graduate program in Design, M.F.A. 2015. He will present his recent speculative design work the function of which oscillates between therapeutic tool and means of communicating information about difficult mental health issues.

Officer Peiper: an officer in the university police department, will speak about campus security past, present and future.

Raul Comacho: Safety Measures

Representatives from Texas Law Shield

Cody Wilson: Defense Distributed

Makers of the Liberator Pistol

Gloria Lee retires, leaves lasting legacy in Design

Tue. September 1, 2015


woman with shoulder length black hair and black sweater poses for photo

Gloria Lee joined The University of Texas at Austin in 1992 as an assistant professor and became an associate professor in 1997. Lee retired from the university in August having guided over 20 years of students with her wisdom.

"Gloria was one of the architects of our graduate program’s distinctive curriculum, and she served longer than anyone else as graduate adviser,” remarked Carma Gorman, assistant chair for Design. “She has carefully curated each incoming class and has always been an incredibly dedicated steward of the program and advocate for the students enrolled in it.”

Lee had a knack for figuring out whether a prospective student was a good candidate for graduate school, or if she or he just needed to change jobs instead. Gorman observed, “Gloria had a gift for selecting students who were truly motivated to do graduate level work, and as a result, the students who entered the program went on to do amazing things.”

Lee’s commitment to Design extended to the undergraduate curriculum as well.

“In recent years, Gloria taught an undergraduate signature course on sustainability for non-majors, as a means of speaking to a wider audience than only the students enrolled in our B.F.A. program,” said Gorman. “Also, in fall 2014, Gloria humored me by agreeing to teach the first course in the sophomore sequence; I knew she would do a great job of introducing students to the field, and I was really impressed with the work that students did in that course.”

“Gloria was a rock: I am just incredibly grateful to have had her as a colleague during my first two years at UT Austin,” stated Gorman. “I really relied on her experience and insight, and I am going to miss her more than I can say."

Lee received a S.B. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.F.A. in graphic design from the Yale University School of Art. In 1991 she founded the design studio, Buds Design Kitchen, which works in software prototyping and media design. Lee was a founding board member for the Austin chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design, and serves as a board member emeritus.

Lee’s legacy shines through in the words of the students and colleagues who agreed to share memories of the guidance that Lee provided them.


“I was in the very first Design Division class at UT Austin, in 1992. My professors were Randy Swearer, Ed Triggs, Diane Gromala, Dan Olsen and the luminous Gloria Lee. When I think of 'Glee,' as we called her, I always think of her laughing. She was a wonderful teacher, always upbeat. She was an excellent foil for the intensity of some of the other faculty. Her willingness to share her knowledge, her excitement, and her enthusiasm were what kept many of us motivated. Though I have moved away from design professionally, I still use many of the tools I learned from my time in the Design program. And I still remember being part of that close group. Glee, I wish you much joy in your retirement!” —Jennifer Danvers, B.F.A. in Design,1996

“When I first met Gloria she scared me. A lot. It was May before our first semester. She told me 'You need to focus!' I spent the summer running around trying to figure out how to focus. It did not work.

"I showed up in August scattered, wondering how I'd ever land on any sort of center in my work or my interests. I couldn't imagine what a thesis could possibly look like. Then, in our second year, we finally had a Gloria-led class. We experienced her specific grade of intellectual bricolage. She took our ideas and questions and poked here, dabbed there, had us put them away for a while, then bring them back, dust them off, and see them with new eyes. This process was much gentler than I'd expected. And it worked.

"Gloria helped us see what we couldn't see on our own, or even together as a group. She uses writing, analysis and conversation like a series of tiny mirrors, all catching little scraps and pieces and bits of light and gently constructing the whole. She changed the way I think. And now she only scares me sometimes.” —Brent Dixon, M.F.A. in Design, 2015

“All of my memories revolve around a woman who was passionate about what we were doing, and nurturing of that impulse. For a project, we had to design an anthology from 4 selected texts concerning technology. This was a typesetting, cover design and book design project. I struggled with the cover image and title. I brought in a photo that I had taken within the limited confines of my dorm room. It was a photo of the power button on a remote. The image was a bit grainy and of poor quality, but it spoke to me. I was so nervous and intimidated by everything. Gloria looked at it and said it was good, great, even (if my memory serves me right!). She encouraged me to keep thinking along those critical lines and to understand the power of an evocative image versus a didactic one. This was such an important moment in my design education.” Quyen Ma Hasenmyer, B.F.A. in Design, 2001

"Gloria was the no-nonsense voice of reason in every critique, from the very first to the very last. She let us navigate on our own but was quick to ensure we never strayed too far off in the wrong direction. A solid, justified, clear direction for the course of our projects — This was her goal for every student in the program." —Alexis Kraus, M.F.A. in Design, 2014

“When I entered the design program in 2008, I remember being intimidated by Gloria. She laid down a hard critique on our first set of projects. This woman was stern, serious, and very intelligent — it was the greatest wake-up call a young student could receive upon entering the program. It didn’t take long for me to realize that all these qualities existed for our benefit. She simply knew of our potential before any one of us could fathom it. For three years, Gloria’s office door was always open and she sat inside, waiting to dish out whatever advice was necessary and do so with a keenly critical mind. When it came time to transfer education into the working world, she was my guide and provided the positive insight I needed to go after my first great job. Years after graduating, she continued to lend me her thoughts and care when I reached out. There is no question she believed in every student who walked through those doors at UT Austin.” —Corey Leamon, B.F.A. in Design, 2011

“Gloria was my advisor, teacher and friend. Her guidance helped me embrace my identity and find my role in a struggle much larger than myself. Gloria’s support gave me courage to finally use my voice. For these things, and many more, I am forever grateful.”  —Robin McDowell, M.F.A. in Design, 2015

“When I applied to grad school at UT Austin in 2013, I had interviewed with Gloria via Skype. I remember talking about bell hooks, feminism, and how they relate to design. I'm pretty sure I said something embarrassing, but I'm positive that I flopped on the couch afterward saying, 'I really hope she liked me... I want to work with her.' I had the great pleasure of doing just that for the next two years, and I'll never forget that she always went to bat for me, wholeheartedly encouraged my engagement in other disciplines, and continually assured me I would find what 'making' meant to me in my own time. Thank you, Gloria.” —Becky Nasadowski, M.F.A. in Design, 2015

“Graduate school can be an overwhelming flow of information and ideas. It was Gloria's teaching methods that helped me organize, prioritize, and explore the concepts that were most relevant to me, and it was her guidance that led me to an efficient path toward my final thesis. I'm confident her influence will contribute to my success beyond the classroom. Thank you.” —Jose Perez, M.F.A. in Design, 2015

"Early in my my time at UT Austin, Gloria gave me advise that on the face of it is fairly simple but its compelling directness has stayed with me to this day. She told me that the primary requirement of being a good teacher is that you must continually be an optimist. It reframed my understanding of both teaching and being a designer. Be an optimist means working for — and believing in — tomorrow. It is the fundamental nature of what we do as teachers working with students or designers grappling with problems: believe in tomorrow.

"Gloria, as I am sure any the alumni would say — or any of her colleagues — that she worked tirelessly for the students and the program. Modeling this clear unwavering dedication for students and peers alike." —David Shields, former UT Austin professor of Design, 2004–2012

"During my time in the Design program, we had a project where a fellow student was documenting his perception of strong women. Naturally, he chose Gloria as a subject. I can't remember the adjective he chose to display with her photo, so I will add my own: FERVENT. Intensely passionate about learning and knowledge. Intensely passionate about her students. Intensely passionate about her family and friends...and cats...and thrifting...and cooking. Fervent about life.

"I am lucky to have been one of Gloria's students. I am doubly blessed to count her as a friend. Gloria Lee is not only an innovative educator, she is also an extraordinary human being. Through the years, Gloria has always been ready to lend support and counsel. She dedicated herself to her students and freely gave them the tools to learn and grow. I admire her greatly. — Gloria, enjoy your retirement and time with your boys. Continued blessings to you always and much love." —Nicole Truelock, B.F.A. in Design, 1996

“I know it's cliché to say ‘end of an era,’ but Gloria's retirement must constitute one nonetheless! Gloria is so fearlessly smart, and, as a graduate student, I could always count on her feedback and guidance to lead me to some unforeseen conclusion or epiphany. Gloria, thank you, and best wishes to you on your next adventures!” —Rachel Simone Weil, M.F.A. in Design, 2014

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