The department has had different names throughout the years, including:
General Studies (1950-circa 1986)
Liberal Arts and Sciences (1991- circa 2008)
Humanities and Design Sciences (circa 2008 -August 2012)
Humanities and Sciences (August 2012 - ) (see Provost collection -- digital records -- 2012 emails for an announcement on the name change)
John A. Anderson, 1950-1959
Sims Carter, 1960-circa 1970 (known as Academic Dean)
Herman Harvey, circa 1974-circa 1977 (known as Academic Dean)
Richard Hertz, circa 1981-2002
Mark Breitenberg, circa 2003-2009
Jane McFadden, Associate Chair, 2005-2009, Acting Chair, 2009-2012
Penny Florence, June 2010 - April 2012
(note that there was no chair between April 2012 and May 2014)
Jane McFadden, May 2014 - present
A description of the department from the Art Center Website, August 2012:
Humanities and Design Sciences (HDS)—known as liberal arts and sciences at most other schools—are of concern to you.
All students take HDS classes since they aim to equip you not only with specific knowledges, but also with broader ways of understanding that are relevant across all disciplines.
How does this title “HDS” unpack? If you thought “hybrid,” you were on the right track. HDS brings together elements that may not be obviously related. It is a mobile space where people and disciplines connect, intersect and grow differentially. That is, while each may have their own pathway, there are elements in common. HDS is chiasmatic in structure. It is where aspects of the disciplines cross, but, like the chiasmus, it is also a syntactic structure or system of connections. It is where you think outside your discipline or your project, while considering exactly how the inside links to the outside.
So in precise but multiple ways, HDS classes work in conjunction with the studio programs to foster thoughtful and rigorous inquiry across the College, traversing historical, literary, artistic, cultural and scientific perspectives. In this way, they contribute to ensuring you have the knowledge to be able to map your very own pathway. Like Designmatters and Transdisciplinary Studios, they provide you with ways of seeing how your majors interrelate in the present and to the past. They therefore contribute to well-founded ways of envisioning futures.