University funds interdisciplinary game studies project

Judith Pintar
Judith Pintar, Teaching Associate Professor and Acting BS/IS Program Director

A project to support interdisciplinary game studies at the University of Illinois has received funding through the University's Investment for Growth initiative. Games @ Illinois: Playful Design for Transformative Education will support research and teaching at the dynamic intersection of play, immersive technologies, and interactive design. Participating units include the iSchool, Illinois Informatics Institute, College of Media, and College of Fine and Applied Arts.

According to Judith Pintar, iSchool teaching associate professor and a lead investigator, the project will work towards the collaborative development of interdisciplinary programs in game studies and game design at both the undergraduate and graduate level. At the same time, it will foster an outward-facing game studies community, "Games @ Illinois," with the goal of becoming a nationally recognized center of interdisciplinary game studies, and an influential leader in transformative education. It will also put the University in a strategic position to attract external partnerships in support of these goals.

As Pintar explains, "The faculty members in our game studies community come from all across our campus, with intersecting research and teaching interests which include the development of virtual, augmented and extended reality technologies, the design and evaluation of playful learning environments and classroom pedagogies, and the study and design of games. We understand 'games' most broadly to include interactive media intended for entertainment, education, and social transformation, data-driven simulations for social science and STEM research, and humanities-and-arts-focused interactive narratives, performances, and visual expressions."

Through the Investment for Growth initiative, 18 projects from colleges and institutes across campus will receive a total of more than $24 million over a three-year period to benefit institutional excellence, education, and research.

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