Jul 17, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2018-2019 
Rensselaer Catalog 2018-2019 [Archived Catalog]


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Department Head: Kathy High

Graduate Program Director: Tomie Hahn

Department Home Page: http://www.arts.rpi.edu/

The Department of the Arts is dedicated to interdisciplinary creative research in electronic arts. It offers a unique environment to develop and realize innovative art within a technological university. The department offers a Bachelor of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy in Electronic Arts (EART) and a Bachelor of Science in Music (MUSC). Also offered is the following interdisciplinary degree: Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS). The Department offers minors in Electronic Arts and Music. These programs provide students with an opportunity to pursue a degree with a particular emphasis on the use of technology and an interdisciplinary approach to electronic arts.

Within this department, studio courses feature activities that stress creative and expressive development. Faculty encourage students to develop their perceptual sensitivity, as well as to build their confidence to apply creative exploration and problem-solving skills to a wide range of aesthetic challenges. In addition to a full complement of traditional disciplines, such as drawing, painting, sculpture, music, filmmaking, and performance, the department offers courses in electronic media, digital video, computer imaging and animation, interactivity, multimedia installation, computer music, sound production, as well as music theory, composition, and performance.

Research Innovations and Initiatives

Arts department faculty members take varying approaches to the use of electronic media in artistic creation and performance. All are active artists/theoreticians whose works are represented internationally in museums, galleries, and performance venues.

Arts majors are required to become familiar with creative tools in a variety of electronic media and are encouraged to work with combinations of media. The center of such creative work is the Integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer (iEAR) Studios, which include professional quality facilities in electronic and computer music, digital video production and post-production, computer imaging and animation, interactive media, installation art, and performance art. In addition, qualified students in the Ph.D. program may use elective credits to explore Rensselaer’s extensive technological resources. Opportunities to engage in creative or research projects with students or faculty from other departments or schools within the Institute are also possible.

Undergraduate Programs


  • Electronic Arts
  • Music
  • Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences


  • Electronic Arts
  • Music

Graduate Programs  

  • Electronic Arts, Ph.D.


The department offers credit-bearing ensembles that may be applied toward the music minor: Rensselaer Orchestra, Rensselaer Concert Choir, Roots of Africa Music Ensemble, Chamber Music Ensemble, Ensemble Nonlinear, and Contemporary Improvisation Ensemble. Noncredit ensembles, dictated by student interest, are also available on campus. Typical examples have included symphonic band, pep band, swing band, and vocal groups such as the Rensselyrics and the Rusty Pipes.

Visiting Artists Series

iEAR Presents!

The Department of the Arts supports the iEAR Presents! series, which brings leading artists, composers, performers, theorists, and curators to campus for performances, exhibitions, lectures, and workshops. All students are encouraged to attend the rich variety of events both on campus and in the Capital District area.

Course Descriptions

Courses related to all Arts, Music, and GSAS curricula are described in the course descriptions section of this catalog under the department code ARTS and GSAS.



Bahn, C.—Ph.D. (Princeton University); computer music and interactive performance. 
Canier, C.—M.F.A. (Boston University); painting, drawing, and 2D design.
Century, M.—M.A. (University of California, Berkeley); new media history and theory, contemporary music performance, and innovation studies.
Chang, B.—M.F.A. (School of the Art Institute of Chicago); virtual reality, experimental games, interactive installation, and open source software.
Hahn, T.—Ph.D. (Wesleyan University); ethnomusicology, performance art, and dance.
High, K.—M.A. (State University of New York at Buffalo, Center for Media Study): video art installation, film production and theory, bioart. 
Lawson, S.—M.F.A. (School of the Art Institute of Chicago); real-time graphics, interactive installation, and locative media.
Miller, B.—M.F.A. (New York University Graduate Film and Television Program); video art and media art.
Nideffer, R.—Ph.D. (University of California, Santa Barbara); net art, contemporary social theory, game culture, and technology. 
Simoni, M.— Ph.D. (Michigan State University); algorithmic composition, live electronics, and piano performance.
Vamos, I.—M.F.A. (University of California, San Diego); tactical media, video, film production, and theory.

EMPAC Affiliated Faculty and Professor of Practice

Knowles, E. A.—Ph.D. (State University of New York at Albany); African and Afro-Cuban music and dance.

Associate Professors

Ruiz, K.—abd Ph.D. (Europäische Universität für Interdisziplinare Studien, EGS); interactive simulation, game studies, photography, and emerging multidisciplinary genres.
Staniszewski, M.—Ph.D. (Graduate School and University Center, City University of New York); modern and contemporary art, culture, and media history.

Assistant Professor

Hamilton, R.—Ph.D. Computer-based Music Theory and Acoustics, M.A. Music, Science and Technology (Stanford University); composer, performer, researcher, and software designer.


DeMaison, N.—Ph.D. (University of California, San Diego); composer and conductor.
Goodheart, M.—Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley); music theory and musicianship, improvisation, composition, sound art and installation, history, aesthetics, interactive and compositional technologies.
Kielwagen, J.—M.F.A. Sculpture, M.A. History and Theory of Art (Michigan State University); multimedia art, performance art, social art, sculpture, and art history.
Meltz, N.—M.F.A. Art, (State University of New York at Albany); collage, printmaking, animation, and graphic arts.
Press, E.—​M.F.A. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); television, video art, documentary, journalism.
Ragsdale, K.—M.F.A. (State University of New York at Albany); drawing, painting, sculpture, paper-craft, theatre lighting, and photography.
Rouse, R.—Ph.D. (Georgia Institute of Technology); digital technology in performance, augmented and mixed reality experience design, media in museums and at cultural heritage sites.
Ruzanka, S.—M.F.A. Art and Technology Studies (School of the Art Institute of Chicago); video, installation, performance, and virtual environments.
Yang, J.—Ph.D. (Queens University, Belfast), DMA (Stanford University); music composition, interactive arts, animated notation, network music, technology mediated music making.

In Memoriam:

Oliveros, P.—Honorary Dr. of Arts (DeMontfort University, U.K.), Honorary Dr. of Music (University of Maryland; Mills College; University College Cork); music composition, electronic music, and improvisation.

* Departmental faculty listings are accurate as of the date generated for inclusion in this catalog. For the most up-to-date listing of faculty positions, including end-of-year promotions, please refer to the Faculty Roster section of this catalog, which is current as of the May 2018 Board of Trustees meeting.

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