Here’s the latest and greatest about the Denius-Sams Gaming Academy. Sadly (or maybe not, depending upon your point of view!) this will be the last weekly update. From now on, I’ll be posting about the program as I have post-worthy information to report, but that might not be weekly. In the meantime, I’m going to get back to semi-regular posts about life, the universe and, of course, gaming. Hope you’ll keep coming back for that.
Even as I go semi-regular, I think that, between the blog posts and the website here, I think I’ve covered a lot of ground, but my next task is to create an FAQ for the website. If you have specific questions about the program that haven’t been covered here or on the website, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. I need to know what you folks want to learn that hasn’t been covered.
All that having been said, this post will be a little different than earlier ones. Instead of talking specifically about the program itself I want to talk about the people I hope will be teaching with me. So read on.
Remember a few weeks ago when I said things might change before the program gets started this Fall? Well, nowhere is that more true than in the area of the program’s faculty. I know who I want to join me, as well as what I think we should teach and how I think we should teach it. However, right now, the staff of the Denius-Sams Gaming Academy consists of… me! Period. Exclamation point.
Until we actually hire the rest of the teaching team, everything I’ve said to date is subject to change. (I don’t expect TOO much revision, but once you bring in new people, with new ideas, anything’s possible – something I learned - the the great benefit of the program – at the recent Development Council meeting!)
Anyway, caveat, caveat, caveat… You get the idea. So here’s what we’re looking for in the way of staffers:
- Two multi-talented individuals with a rare combination of professional leadership development experience, sharply honed critical faculties and some teaching experience.
That shouldn’t be tough to find, right? Riiight…
What will these folks do?
- In the short term, they’ll help flesh out the Denius-Sams Gaming Academy curriculum, specific course topics and the details of lab work.
- They’ll prepare detailed case studies and in-class exercises, based on real-world game development examples.
- They’ll help review student applications and assist in determining which students will be accepted into the program.
- Later on, once the school year starts they’ll team-teach the course (with me) and supervise the lab.
What are the qualifications?
These folks should have a minimum five years industry experience in a leadership role(e.g., Producer or Game Director/Creative Director or, at a minimum, large-team discipline leadership).
The two staffers must be experienced in, qualified for and prepared to act as de facto Producer and/or Director of the game developed in the lab, when specific students are not assigned to those roles.
I’m really hoping to find people whose professional experience was gained within the last three years to ensure their knowledge is current and relevant to a rapidly changing business. (By this I mean, knowledge of mobile, social and the various business and development models associated with non-traditional games. Honestly, I’m a pretty traditional-games sort of guy and want people who can help fill in my gaps!)
It should go without saying that some teaching experience is required. At the very least, be able to point to significant lecturing experience at conferences, guest lectures at educational institutions, etc.. It should be obvious that we’d prefer people with full-time, higher education teaching experience – if we can find folks like that who also have recent professional experience.
We want folks with demonstrable excellence in at least one game development discipline (especially production, but also programming, design, art, sound or something). And we want the faculty members to have hands-on knowledge of at least one current game engine (and willingness to learn a new one, if necessary)
We want people with knowledge of games history, theory, criticism, development and business – preferably, with experience I don’t have (e.g., mobile, games as service, the distinction between ludology and narratology… that sort of thing).
And, finally, we want people who are at a point in their career where they want to give something back, to make a difference, to play a part in seeding the industry with people who can make a difference themselves. Need a break from the crunch and grind of development? Want a change of scenery from your current teaching gig? Austin is a great place to live, UT’s a great institution and I think the Denius-Sams Gaming Academy will be something special in the world of games education.
Whew! I can’t help wondering if such people exist or if we’ve set the bar too high, but I’m hopeful. If you know such a person – or you ARE such a person – let us know at email@example.com.
In fact, if you’ll be at D.I.C.E. or GDC (or you live in Austin, Texas) and want to get together to discuss a position at the DSGA, I’m totally open to that. You’ll still have to go through the official University of Texas application process later, once we post the jobs officially – everyone has to do that – but it can’t hurt to get a headstart.
Here’s hoping some of you will help me have an insanely busy D.I.C.E. and GDC! I’ll keep you all posted as we make our staff hires.
And don’t forget to pepper me with questions for the FAQ. Anything you want to know and don’t is fair game.