July 7, 2014

Higher Education Video Game Alliance Announced

Top Scholars from around Country to Collaborate

Video games have already embedded themselves into American and World culture. At the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival, they took a major step forward in academic consideration when the Higher Education Video Game Alliance was announced by the Chair of the Interactive Media & Games Division and Director of USC Games, Tracy Fullerton. The initiative will bring the top Video Game educators in the world under one umbrella.

The first-of-its-kind alliance will be led by and open to directors of game design programs. The founding and executive committee members include Fullerton, Constance Steinkuehler, Associate Professor and Co-Director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Games+Learning+Society center and former Senior Policy Analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Andrew Phelps, Professor and Director of the Rochester Institute of Technology Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity; Drew Davidson, Professor and Director of the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University; and Katherine Isbister, Director of the Game Innovation Lab at New York University.  The full list of current Charter Members can be found on www.HigherEdGames.org.

The goal of the alliance is to open a dialogue between higher education professionals and policymakers about games education. In a press release, HigherEdGames’ stated mission is: “To create a platform for higher education leaders which will underscore the cultural, scientific, and economic importance of video game programs in colleges and universities. The key is to create a robust network of resources – including unified advocacy, policymaker engagement, media coverage and external funding – in order to incubate and harness the impact of this community in a 21st Century learning environment.”

HigherEdGames 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. Their partnership with the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, will afford its members, including professors and students, an opportunity to share and highlight best practices, publish research, initiate and strengthen industry connections, and educate and engage policymakers and the media.

“As the leading association representing the video game industry – which is a booming industry – ESA is excited by this new collaboration among the country's top game design departments and professors,” said Michael D. Gallagher, President and CEO of ESA. "HigherEdGames is more important than ever because game design skills are an increasingly critical part of driving innovation across numerous sectors of the economy. ESA and our member companies are fully supportive and enthusiastic about the mission of HigherEdGames, and look forward to future collaborations.”