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  • Academy of Art University depends on Dell technology to support curriculum across more than 20 disciplines
  • 1,200 Dell Precision workstations used across studio and lab settings to meet heavy graphics and performance demands
  • Dell PowerEdge R910 and PowerEdge R820 servers power on-site and online campuses and Latitude, OptiPlex and XPS PCs support administrative staff

The Academy of Art University, the largest art and design school in the United States, relies on Dell technology to prepare students for careers at the forefront of innovation. Dell PowerEdge servers, Dell Precision workstations, Dell OptiPlex desktops, and Dell XPS and Dell Latitude laptops are used by students, faculty and administrative staff to support curriculum across more than 20 academic and professional disciplines.

“The professional art and design world is witnessing a revolution in technology, and this is an incredible opportunity for students to launch their careers and be part of the contemporary workforce,” said Dr. Elisa Stephens, President of the Academy of Art University. “Our ability to provide a unique educational experience to these aspiring artists and designers hinges on our integration in the classroom of the best technology.”

To meet these needs for high-performance, cutting-edge technology, the Academy of Art University currently uses dozens of Dell PowerEdge R910 and PowerEdge R820 servers to power its on-site and online campuses, and more than 1,200 Dell Precision T7600, T7500 and T3500 tower workstations across the Architecture, Animation, Fashion, Interior Architecture, Industrial Design, Game Design, and Landscape Architecture.

It’s not a coincidence that the best offerings in a technology field are referred to as ‘state of the art.’

The workstations are used in both studio and lab settings as well as to power a range of technologies that directly support 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines and an industrial robot arm. Given the wide range of curriculum supported by the Dell Precision workstations, the range of software used on campus is extensive and the demands for performance are crucial.

“In our Architecture Department, it’s not uncommon for students in a lab to render a design with up to 10 million polygons and we need powerful desktop computers to support that,” said Chris Becker, a lab supervisor at the Academy of Art University. “Dell Precision workstations offer amazing graphics performance and stability, so students can work on the projects they need to, whenever they want.”

The Academy must also ensure reliability of its classroom computers as students need to work on design projects around the clock and downtime is not an option. With Dell ProSupport, The Academy has access to Dell technicians that help resolve issues quickly. “I work with many different kinds of technologies and I’m on a lot of technical support calls,” says Becker. “Of all those vendors, Dell ProSupport provides the best response, hands down.”

“Across the Academy we are using Dell technology to offer cutting-edge instruction to students,” said Kevin Eves, the Academy’s Director of Finance, Systems, and Analysis. “Dell’s commitment to performance, reliability, service and support are consistent with the demands of our environment and enable us to help our students to advance and prepare for joining the labor force.”

Promoting learning off campus is also important to the Academy of Art University, which offers degrees and certificate programs both on-campus and online to more than 18,000 students around the world. The university is currently testing the Dell Precision R7610 rack workstation and hopes to eventually implement the systems as virtualized workstations, enabling students to securely access their files and take advantage of high performance computing and software applications while offsite. “The Dell Precision R7610 promises us more flexibility to accommodate our distance learning programs,” said Eves. “We hope to have students connect remotely and still have all the power they need to get their projects done.”

The Academy also uses Dell OptiPlex desktops computers, and Dell Latitude and XPS laptops to support administrative staff. In the future, the academy is looking to adopt XPS Ultrabooks and the Dell tablets to enhance mobility for the faculty and students. “We want to provide more flexible interaction with students while retaining access to critical enterprise systems, something campuses and enterprises are finding difficult to deliver on other tablets,” said Eves.

“It’s been exciting to work with the Academy of Art University, which is at the forefront of technology, for the last 10 years and help implement its cross-Academy technology strategy,” said Andy Rhodes, executive director, Dell Precision Workstations. “We look forward to our continued partnership and providing cutting-edge technology to facilitate further innovation across departments.”

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