Becker College is a Charter Member of Higher Education Video Game Alliance

Published on Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Media coverage:

Worcester Magazine
GoLocalWorcester.com

Becker College has been named as one of the 19 charter members of the newly formed Higher Education Video Game Alliance (The Alliance).  The Alliance, launched on July 1, 2014 at the Aspen Ideas Festival, will provide a platform for leading academics to showcase the critical role video game programs are playing in educating and preparing students for the 21st century workforce. The Alliance will afford its members, including professors and other campus leadership, an opportunity to share and highlight best practices, publish research, initiate and strengthen industry connections, and educate and engage policymakers and the media.

“Becker College is honored to be part of such a high-caliber, national organization and to be included with other institutions of such admirable stature,” said Becker College President Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D. “This recognition speaks volumes to the excellence and quality of our video game design program, which fully prepares our students to be innovative and entrepreneurial in the global marketplace.”

Becker’s undergraduate video game design program has been top-ranked by The Princeton Review for five consecutive years, and is one of only two institutions in New England, and one of five nationally, to maintain this longstanding distinction. In 2011, Becker was designated by state officials as host of the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI), a statewide center for academic cooperation, economic development, and job creation in the Massachusetts digital games cluster.

“The Alliance will give Becker faculty an opportunity to share their expertise with other game professionals,” said Paul Cotnoir, Ph.D., director of Becker’s interactive media program. “Academic discourse of this sort allows faculty to examine ideas and evidence rigorously in order to acquire a better understanding of the subject.”

“With nearly 400 game design academic programs across the country, the time is right for the establishment of the Higher Education Video Game Alliance,” said Timothy Loew, executive director of MassDiGI at Becker College. “The field is growing and this will serve to advance the discipline.”

Constance Steinkuehler is the executive director of The Alliance and former senior policy analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “Video game research and design programs across top colleges and universities around the world are working on the cutting-edge of this field,” said Steinkuehler. “I welcome other charter members to The Alliance–which currently represents a geographically diverse cross-section of the most prestigious programs–so that we can further develop this new organization and aim to present a cohesive voice spotlighting this very meaningful work.”

The Alliance–initially supported by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA)–will aim to achieve multiple goals:

  • survey game programs, placements, and practices across membership;
  • work to improve Bureau of Labor Statistics information on the games industry;
  • host events such as an annual conference and conventions in the Nation’s Capital to enhance the connection of higher education programs and policy makers;
  • provide recognition and awards for innovations from member labs;
  • encourage stronger connections between higher education and industry through things like student internship programs and trend/need discussions and reports; and
  • conduct meta-analyses of the state of play along various sector issues such as health, education, technology challenges, and other pertinent issues.

The first-of-its-kind alliance will be led by and open to university faculty, directors of game design programs, departmental heads, and other campus leadership. The list of current charter members can be found on www.HigherEdGames.org.

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