School Recognizes Faculty, Staff, Alumni with Annual Awards

The School of Arts and Humanities has named ATEC Assistant Professor Todd Fechter the Victor Worsfold Teacher of the Year.

From left: Assistant Professor Todd Fechter, Dean Dennis Kratz and Professor Emeritus Victor Worsfold. Fechter was selected as the Victor Worsfold Teacher of the Year.

Fechter, who has experience working in television and film production, teaches courses in 3D computer animation in the school’s Arts and Technology (ATEC)program. He created the first online ATEC computer animation digital class archive, providing unlimited access to course materials and examples that allow for off-campus learning and review.

“Todd is an inspiring teacher, mentor and more. He has taken a leadership role in developing an animation program of the highest quality. His impact is already and quite literally visible in the superior work that our students are producing,” said Dr. Dennis M. Kratz, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities.

Fechter’s honor was part of the school’s Outstanding Faculty and Teaching Awards, which are presented yearly and are named for Professor Emeritus Victor Worsfold, who taught ethics and philosophy at UT Dallas from 1975 to 2001. Dr. Worsfold was present for the awards ceremony.

The Worsfold Teaching Assistant (TA) of the Year award went to LaToya Watkins, a PhD candidate in aesthetic studies.

Akin Babatunde and David Hanson were named Alumni of the Year. David Hanson received his PhD from UT Dallas in aesthetic studies and interactive arts and engineering. In 2003, he founded Hanson Robotics to pursue character robot research and applications.

Hanson creates androids – humanlike robots with intelligence. Through integrated research in cognitive artificial intelligence, bio-inspired mechanics, material science, sculpture and animation, expressive robotic faces and walking robot bodies, Hanson strives to bring robots to life. The walking, talking robots resulting from Hanson’s efforts have been recognized in various publications, including Wired and PC Magazine.

“David Hanson has helped revolutionize our notion of what a robot is and the possibilities of robotics in education. His robots with human faces are displayed around the world, adding luster to our aspiration of leadership at the intersection of arts and technology,” added Kratz.