Campus Life

Texas A&M Names Dean Of Performance, Visualization And Fine Arts

Tim McLaughlin, who has held the interim position since the school's 2022 founding, has become its first permanent dean.
By Rob Clark, Texas A&M University School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts July 10, 2024

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

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


Tim McLaughlin has been named the dean of the Texas A&M School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts, and the inaugural recipient of the Ray Rothrock ’77 Endowed Dean’s Chair. McLaughlin has served as interim dean since the school was established in September 2022.

“The School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts is a major component of the realization of Texas A&M’s commitment to being the premier land-grant public university in the country,” McLaughlin said. “Being selected as the first dean of the school carries 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 across the visual arts, performing arts, interactive media, visual computing and humanities. A new undergraduate Theatre degree is joining the existing majors Dance SciencePerformance and Visual Studies; and Visualization in the fall semester. Additional degrees are moving through the approval process. Eight new minors have been added since the school began.

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

The emerging Virtual Production Institute, which is part of the School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts, will open in the fall both on the main campus in Bryan-College Station and at Texas A&M-Fort Worth. The Texas Legislature appropriated $25 million for faculty, staff and equipment for the institute. The school is also developing extensions of its academic, research and creative works programs for the Fort Worth campus as well.

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

McLaughlin earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Design from Texas A&M University in 1990 and a Master’s Degree 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 in developing computer graphics techniques for digital creatures. His film projects 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.”

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