As a faculty member in the Arts and Technology program, Monica Evans‘ focus is to expand the game studies curriculum, particularly at the graduate level. This year she created the Game Production Lab within the ATEC program, a series of courses in which students design, develop, and produce original games and gaming content at both the graduate and undergraduate level.
Monica Evans has recruited many industry members to donate equipment and resources to the ATEC program, offer internships to ATEC students, teach ATEC courses as adjuncts, and advise students through seminars, guest lectures, and as judges for the UT Dallas CGEC. Companies include Pixelux Entertainment, iStation, Gearbox Software, Barking Lizards, MumboJumbo, iD Software, and Texas Instruments, as well as investor Hughes Ventures.
Evans’ personal research is focused on narrative for games and other interactive systems, which she is currently publishing as articles, book chapters, and conference submissions; and on meaningful play, serious games, educational games, and simulations, for which she is both publishing articles and submitting multiple grant proposals. She is currently working on a series of proposals for new research in virtual medical simulation, and proposals have been sent to the American Heart Association, Pediatrix, Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) granting agency.
As to the significance of her work: Game studies is a brand-new, continuously evolving field, and few universities are pursuing significant academic research in the area. Evans’ long-term goal is to seed top-level game studios with our undergraduate students at higher than entry-level positions (in other words, positions where they have influence over design, content, and innovation); to seed top-level universities with our masters and doctoral students as the next generation of game studies scholars; and to provide a place for students to incubate independent game studios, research projects, or to follow other academic inclinations in the field.
Todd Fechter‘s professional background is in the field of 3D computer animation. He has experience working on both television and film productions, which he gained while employed at DNA Production, Inc from September 2002 through June of 2006. There he held the position of Head of Environment Modeling, where he led a team of eight modelers in the planning and creation of all environments and props.
After leaving DNA Productions he worked as a freelance 3D artist providing both modeling and texturing services for various companies including Jeep, Ember Studios, Reel FX Entertainment and NASA.
In October 2006 Fechter accepted a position at Element X Creative as Head of Modeling. There he worked on various projects ranging from promotions to a direct to DVD animated series.
Fechter is currently an Assistant Professor of 3D Computer Animation at UT Dallas. During this time he has been able to integrate his production experience and expertise into his teachings with the goal of better preparing students to reach their professional aspirations. This includes the creation of the first online Arts and Technology computer animation digital class material archive where students have unlimited access to course materials and examples that allow for off campus learning and review.
Fechter’s current interests are in the continued redesign and growth of the ATEC 3D animation curriculum. Two new courses will focus more on the planning and development of 3D animation rather than the actual execution. Students will then be able to fully realize production timelines and methodologies to focus skills learned in other ATEC courses and create of their own complex animations. In return these works will be submitted to festivals and other showcases.
David Parry has taught as an assistant professor since August 2007, and has helped to grow and shape the EMAC program. His work centers on understanding the complex cultural transformations brought about by the change from an analog archive to one whose substructure is a digital network. His current area of research is focused on understanding how the digital network produces a different type of public and alters civic practices, analyzing how power structures and relations between people and governance are altered in the digital era.
Currently he teaches courses on writing in the digital era, digital culture, and civic media. His presentations and published writing include works on digital games, web technologies, digital literacy, and the emerging networked public.
David writes for several online resources including his own blogs, Profound Heterogeneity (www.profoundheterogeneity.com), and Academhack (www.academhack.com), and has been featured in The Chronicle for his work on microblogging as pedagogical practice. He also is regularly invited by organizations to speak about digital literacy and the changing cultural landscape.