In an increasingly competitive market, once again University of Wisconsin-Stout has been recognized as a national and regional leader in the fields of game design and animation.
In game design, Princeton Review ranked UW-Stout No. 24 in the nation for its undergraduate program and No. 22 in the nation for the Master of Fine Arts in design program.
For both programs, UW-Stout was No. 1 in Wisconsin. Princeton Review, an educational services company, surveyed 150 schools that offer game design.
It’s the eighth straight year UW-Stout has been in the top 25 in the nation.
The industry organization Animation Career Review, from San Francisco, ranked UW-Stout No. 1 in Wisconsin, No. 9 in the Midwest, No. 20 in the nation among public schools and No. 49 in the nation overall.
“Although the BFA in game design and the MFA in design are two of the ‘youngest’ programs in the School of Art and Design, it hasn’t stopped them from continuing to reach international acclaim and ranking,” said Dave Beck, school director and associate dean of the College of Arts, Communication, Humanities and Social Science.
“The programs continue to grow in both quantity and quality of students, largely thanks to the leadership and dedication of the faculty, such as Andrew (Williams) and Erik (Evensen), connected to these programs. Just as with the other areas within the School of Art and Design, a strong foundation in art, design and theory has allowed these programs to stand on their own as unique experiences that focus on creative collaboration and innovation. I’m excited to see what happens next, as these programs help UW-Stout expand itself further into the 21st century higher education experience.”
UW-Stout offers two undergraduate game design programs, a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Science, the latter in computer science with a concentration in game design. In these programs, students learn how to create video, mobile, board and other types of games.
"A number of new international schools have joined the rankings,” said Associate Professor Andrew Williams, director of the game design and development-art program. “The fact that UW-Stout continues to be in the top 25 game development schools speaks volumes about our ability to compete on a national and international level. Our students and faculty are talented, engaged and ready for new challenges, which creates a special collaborative and creative culture that is hard to come by."
The MFA in design program also offers a game design concentration.
Erik Evensen, program director for the MFA in design and an associate professor of design, is thrilled the program is ranked for the fifth year in a row. “The MFA in design is a transdisciplinary program that leverages the strengths of our undergraduate design areas,” Evensen said.
“This ranking shows that even when our students are choosing to focus on other areas, they benefit from the excellent resources of the undergraduate game design and development programs, including the instructors, technology and facilities,” he added.
Evensen sees a bright future for the program. "Students in the MFA in design continue to produce groundbreaking work related to game design. As our program grows and evolves, you'll continue to see not just top-quality games but also leading-edge scholarship and research in the game design area,” Evensen said.
UW-Stout recently renovated and upgraded its game design labs in Micheels Hall and opened its new Motion Capture Studio, an industry-standard part of the animation process.
UW-Stout’s animation concentration is part of the Bachelor of Fine Arts in entertainment design program. Students learn two-dimensional, three-dimensional, character and motion-capture techniques.
The Stout Game Expo will be virtual this year. Participants will be able virtually to play dozens of games created by students on a variety of platforms.