Mar. 6, 2012
Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio has earned a #7 ranking on The Princeton Review's third annual list saluting the best undergraduate schools in the U.S. and Canada to study video game design.
"We are extremely excited about ranking in the top ten," Dr. Rita Rice Morris, SSU President, said. "More than the ranking itself, we're proud of what it represents. It's a reflection of the quality of education that students find at Shawnee State University. This is good for our programs and helps us in our efforts to share with the larger community our commitment to academic excellence."
The list, "Top Schools to Study Video Game Design For 2012," salutes 50 institutions -- 32 undergraduate and 18 graduates - for their outstanding game design education programs.
Compiled by The Princeton Review, one of America's best-known education services companies, the 2012 list names 10 undergraduate and 10 graduate schools in ranked order 1 to 10 and 22 undergraduate and 8 graduate schools as Honorable Mentions. The list is published on The Princeton Review's website.
The Princeton Review chose the schools based on a survey it conducted in the 2011-12 academic year of administrators at 150 institutions offering video game design coursework and/or degrees in the United States and Canada. The survey, which included more than 50 questions, covered a wide range of topics from academics, curriculum, and faculty credentials to graduates' employment and career achievements. School selections were based on a comprehensive analysis of data that analyzed the quality of the curriculum, faculty, facilities, and infrastructure, plus the school's scholarships, financial aid and career services.
Said Robert Franek, Princeton Review Senior VP/Publisher, "It has long been our mission to help students find – and get into – the schools best for them to pursue their interests and develop their talents. For the burgeoning number of students aspiring to become game designers, we highly recommend Shawnee State University as one of the best and most innovate institutions to study and succeed in this exciting field. We also salute the faculty and administrators at Shawnee State as well as the other schools on our 2012 list for their extraordinary programs and commitment to students. "
Carl Hilgarth, Department Chair and Professor of Computer Engineering Technology at Shawnee State said that SSU's programs stands out in a number of ways. Shawnee State offers two degree programs in gaming - Digital Simulation and Gaming Engineering Technology offered through the SSU Department of Engineering and Gaming and Simulation Development Arts offered through the Department of Fine, Digital, and Performing Arts.
"Our engineering technology program offers a broad-based curriculum which provides students with a mix of computer science, computer programming, and 2D/3D graphics programming along with additional classes in arts, design, math and physics. That we offer two degree programs provides a unique and an outstanding opportunity for students to take different but complimentary degree paths to a growing industry."
Hilgarth continued, "Our curriculum is designed to support a team-based, open-ended project environment for engineering technology students. The strong computer science, computer engineering, and programming components of the degree allow a graduate to obtain a career in many non-game related fields of computing as well. We are not focusing on one particular software. Flexibility for our graduates is key. Our curriculum also prepares students to pursue a Master's in Computer Science, if desired, and presently students from our programs are employed from local businesses to those in California. Receiving a recommendation from the Princeton Review is important for parents as they look for quality, value and eventual employability."
Greg Lyons, Associate Professor of 3D Design & Animation and Department Chair of the Department of Fine, Digital and Performing Arts, added that the two separate but coordinated programs offered at SSU, combined with faculty interaction with students, makes SSU competitive. Along with close student faculty relations, he said Shawnee State makes available cutting edge technology, including the Motion Capture Studio.
"Our program here at SSU has evolved over the years," Lyons said. "As we watched industry trends and capitalized on faculty strengths, we are small and flexible enough to design a degree program that works as a major or minor and allows students from either the art or engineering side to match their interests and skills with their career goals."
Shawnee graduates are highly employable, working in small independent studios to industry powerhouses spanning both coasts.
"A degree in Game and Simulation can be used in entertainment gaming and serious gaming, which is a dynamic industry that enables people from many varied backgrounds to work on a specific central goal or project," Lyons said. "It is often discussed that gaming is the film industry for the new century."
"I think the success of our Gaming & Simulation programs, both art and engineering, at Shawnee State has to do with the caliber of students we attract," he added. " Students entering the Game & Simulation Arts program are given a solid background in art; this places them on a solid foundation from which they can pursue the area of art emphasis of their choosing, which can be traditional arts, graphic design or for these students Game & Simulation Arts.