Denius-Sams Gaming Academy
Beginning August 2014, twenty students will attend an intense, 9-month game development program taught by gaming industry leaders.
Warren Spector, thirty-year game industry veteran, (M.A., Radio-Television-Film '80) will direct the program, designing the curriculum and serving as a part-time instructor with Blizzard COO, Paul Sams. Spector and Sams partnered with The University of Texas at Austin to create a one-of-a-kind academy. They are supported by a development council of industry notables.
Admitted students will receive a tuition waiver and a $10,000 stipend to assist with fees and housing expenses–the only game design program to do this–and graduates will earn a post-baccalaureate certificate upon completion of the program.
The Academy will be intense, combining in-class coursework covering leadership issues with labs in which students will work as a team, putting the lessons to use in a development effort that spans the entire school year. The goal of the program is to give students the skills they need to take the next steps in their careers, whether they come to the program straight out of school or from industry.
Warren Spector on creating the academy.
Paul Sams (co-founder):
"I believe The University of Texas at Austin has a tremendous track record of building nationally recognized programs that generate the leaders and critical thinkers the gaming industry needs. The program will focus on building the skills required for students to lead teams and develop games from concept to completion, while growing talent for the gaming industry."
Christopher Weaver (development council member):
"UT is commended for its foresight in creating a games studies program targeting an overlooked, but much-needed, area in the industry – the people who oversee and manage the teams themselves. I look forward to being on their advisory board and helping contribute to this exciting new program and its industry focused thinking."
Max Hoberman (development council member):
"Most leaders in the game industry got where they are through raw experience. The Gaming Academy, under Warren’s direction, has a unique vision–by exposing their students to an impressive array of experienced business leaders and real-world leadership scenarios they hope to shorten the normal learning cycle, helping their students become stronger creative and production leaders, faster."
Erik Bethke (advisory council member):
"I am excited to see [this program] that Warren and the other experienced Council Members are putting together. What is especially intriguing to me is the emphasis on leadership skills honed on a small, exceptional group of students. In the last 30 years the game industry has made no effort to address the leadership gap and has instead relied on ad hoc development. This is the perfect focus to develop a new level of professional leadership."
Greg Zeschuk (development council member):
"One of the most challenging aspects of building a team in the gaming industry is finding top-level talent with solid leadership capabilities, so I was excited to learn that training leaders was the goal of the new Denius-Sams Gaming Academy at The University of Texas at Austin. Being asked to contribute as a member of the Development Council for the program was a great honor, and I believe under Warren's leadership the Academy is destined for great things."