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June 7, 2012

Dennis Wixon “Interfaces” with IMD

Pioneer in User Interfaces Installed as Microsoft Endowed Professor

By Valerie Turpin

Ranked the number one game design school in North America by the Princeton Review and GamerPro Media for the third year running, USC’s School of Cinematic Arts’ Interactive Media Division is home to renowned faculty and staff. Coming this fall, IMD will add another exemplary member to its ranks in the form of user research pioneer Dennis Wixon, who will serve as the Microsoft Endowed Professor.
“I am thrilled and humbled to be joining the Interactive Media Division as the Microsoft Endowed Professor,” Wixon said. “The focus on innovation makes the program exciting and relevant to [the] world of gaming and I look forward to contributing to the Division’s level of excellence.”

IMD currently teaches several courses on user interfaces including CTIN 404, Usability Testing for Games and CTIN 410 Interface Design for Games which guide students through developing mechanics for games and testing their playability in real-world situations.

With more than thirteen years at the Microsoft Corporation, Wixon’s extensive innovation in design initiatives is more than impressive. Wixon has served as the founding User Research Manager for Microsoft Game Studios, Research Manager for Microsoft Surface, Senior User Researcher in their Startup Business Group, the Senior Research Lead in their Business Products Experience Group and the head of SQL Azure research and innovation. His team’s innovative research methods, such as RITE (Rapid Iterative Testing and Evaluation) and TRUE (Tracking Real-time User Experience), have been successfully applied to the best-selling Halo franchise. In 2011, he was elected to the SIGCHI Academy, which honors leaders and shapers of the field of human-computer interaction.

On Wixon’s new position, Dean Elizabeth M. Daley said, “We are very pleased to have Dennis as the Microsoft Endowed Professor. His unparalleled professional accomplishments have established him as a leader and innovator in the field of game design. He is a perfect fit for the School of Cinematic Arts and the Interactive Media Division.”

With Wixon on board, IMD can further provide its students, faculty and staff with unparalleled support and opportunities as it continues to pave the way of interactive entertainment.

For more information, http://interactive.usc.edu/