PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Higher Education Video Game Alliance (HEVGA) announced today that HEVGA President Constance Steinkuehler will speak at an event during the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, July 26 as part of a series of talks hosted by think-tank NDN on the future of America and American politics. Her talk, “The Future of Video Games, Interactive Media & Play” will detail the importance of video games and the games industry in America, the emergence of a new game nation in the States, and the role of games in participatory media in democracy and civic engagement. The event will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from 10:30am – 2:30pm.
Steinkuehler’s talk functions as both a beginning and end to games work on the national level. From 2011-2012 she served as a Senior Policy Analyst at the White House in the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), advising on policy matters about video games and learning. In her role, Steinkuehler set the stage for the first wave of federal policies and initiatives on games, with Mark DeLoura taking the reins from 2013-2014 and currently Erik Martin in 2016. With the current administration wrapping up, Steinkuehler’s talk marks the start of a new phase in the field and will provide a path forward for policy makers, universities, foundations, non-profit organizations, and the private sector.
After leaving the White House, Steinkuehler’s work on the national level continued with the establishment of HEVGA. Here a team of leaders in the games and higher education field assembled to create a platform to underscore the cultural, scientific, and economic importance of video game programs in colleges and universities. The founding Board of Directors with Steinkuehler included Drew Davidson, Tracy Fullerton, Katherine Isbister, and Andrew Phelps.
Since the organization’s inception in 2014, HEVGA has authored two groundbreaking survey reports that changed the conversation around diversity in the games industry and related fields (Our State of Play Report), and the quality of life and employment of game-program alumni inside and outside the games industry (Priming the Pump Report). In December, the organization held its first ever Convening in Washington DC to connect membership to federal agencies funding game-based research and design, and in March it enlisted Jonathan Elmergreen as its Executive Director.
“HEVGA’s surveys have set a national precedence towards understanding the impact of games programs. The results are astonishing: On campuses, game-design programs boast average enrollment rates for women nearly double other computer and information sciences programs,” said Katherine Isbister, Communications & Outreach Officer, “and the retention rate from first-to-second year averages 88%.”
“On the market, 93.1% of graduates find employment after only a single year and the average salary for a full-time position is $76,200,” added Andrew Phelps, Treasurer. “Graduates of games programs also report high job satisfaction, with 82.9% describing themselves as “thriving at work”,” said Drew Davidson, Secretary.
“These reports make at least one thing clear: game-design programs are generators at our universities and on the market. Supporting new game-design programs establish pipelines towards strengthening our communities and creating jobs that stick,” said Tracy Fullerton, Vice President.
“Steinkuehler’s talk is the beginning of a new phase for the field and HEVGA. Our organization boasts over 425 members at 221 distinct institutions and we are leveraging the expertise and thought leadership of our members and board to continue to publish groundbreaking reports, establish key partnerships in government and the private sector, and set the conversation around games at the national level,” said HEVGA Executive Director Jonathan Elmergreen. “Games are vibrant vehicles for learning and impact. HEVGA’s goal is to bring this to the fore and establish avenues for meaningful growth. We look forward to working with policy makers to amplify the work that has already been done and to cultivate a path forward that ushers in the next stage of policy on games.”
HEVGA’s mission is to create a platform for higher education leaders which will underscore the cultural, scientific, and economic importance of video game programs in colleges and universities. The key is to create a robust network of resources ¬– ¬including unified advocacy, policymaker engagement, media coverage, and external funding – in order to incubate and harness the impact of this community in a 21st century learning environment. For more information, visit higheredgames.org, like HEVGA on Facebook, or follow @HigherEdGames on Twitter.
PHOTO CREDIT: Game Developers Conference 2015