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Stetson University Digital Arts Program Recognized as One of the Best for Game Design

March 24, 2022 8:46 AM EDT

DELAND, Fla. (PRWEB) March 24, 2022

As announced today, among 150-plus institutions offering game-design coursework and/or degrees across the United States, Canada and countries abroad, The Princeton Review included Stetson in its Top 50.

Stetson was ranked No. 41 in this 13th annual ranking of Top Game Design Schools for 2022.

The colleges making the 2022 list were based on a survey The Princeton Review conducted last year of school administrators, with the selection and ranking of schools based on criteria that broadly covered the quality of faculty, facilities and technology. The Princeton Review also factored in data collected from the schools on their curriculum and career services. The same type of ranking is done for graduate schools.

A college admission services company, The Princeton Review developed the survey in 2009 with the assistance of an advisory board composed of educators and industry professionals.

"Our Digital Arts Program and the Computer Science Department offer a range of courses that covers all areas related to video game and animation production," said Dengke Chen, MFA, assistant professor of Digital Arts, who has helped to lead Stetson's efforts in game design since fall 2018.

Stetson's Digital Arts Program began in 1996 as a partnership among the computer science, studio art and music departments. Today, courses include graphic design, web design, 3D computer animation, hand-drawn animation, video game development, artificial reality and virtual reality, digital photography, interactivity art, digital video, audio recording and production, electronic music and sound design, and scoring for multimedia.

In 2017, a game-changing partnership emerged, involving the University of Central Florida's Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, or FIEA. The partnership was modeled after the widely successful Stetson Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), using donor funding and strategic alliances.

The partnership also involves EA Tiburon, one of the world's biggest video game companies. Each summer, two or three Stetson students are given the opportunity to learn the latest game-development processes for producers, artists and programmers, and they're expected to pursue a self-designed research project.

"The FIEA partnership really has been a win for both Stetson and UCF," commented Nathan Wolek, PhD, Stetson professor of digital arts and music technology. "They get a chance to work with some of our top students and start recruiting them for their master's program. Our students get a chance to work with graduate faculty for the summer and preview what it takes to make it in the gaming industry."

Notably, in 1999 Wolek was one of the first graduates of Stetson's Digital Arts Program, and after getting his graduate degree, he joined the faculty in 2005 and has helped to lead the Digital Arts Program since that time.

"This recognition of Stetson University as a top school for game design is important, as it showcases the development of great talent not only for video games, but also for the emerging experience economy and metaverse ambitions forming across industries around the world," said Daryl Holt '90, vice president and general manager of EA Tiburon (Orlando, Austin, & Madrid). "Stetson's program goes beyond the classroom and forms real-world connections with industry partners like EA. We have enjoyed interacting with students from the program at our EA Tiburon studio in Orlando, and we have benefited from a partnership dialogue with faculty that can impact future curriculum development."

Holt graduated from Stetson with a bachelor's degree in accounting and a minor in management information systems. Now, he's literally an industry game changer.

About Stetson University
Founded in 1883, Stetson University is the oldest private university in Central Florida. Stetson focuses on intense learning experiences in a supportive community that allows students to develop their voice in a connected, inclusive environment. Stetson ranks in the top five on U.S. News & World Report's list of Best Regional Universities (South) and is consistently recognized as one of The Princeton Review's Best Colleges. Stay connected with Stetson on social media.

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