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Director Dave Schwartz highlighted in the Rochester Business Journal

RIT picks director for School of Interactive Games and Media

Rochester Business Journal
August 19, 2015

Rochester Institute of Technology has selected David Schwartz as director of its School of Interactive Games and Media.

Schwartz joined RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences in 2007 and has served as assistant professor, associate professor and undergraduate program coordinator for the School of Interactive Games and Media.

“I’ve always enjoyed bringing the engineering, physics and mathematics mindset into game development and helping students to not be afraid of it,” said Schwartz, whose school is part of the Golisano Computing College, in a statement Tuesday. “Most recently, I’ve been researching and developing educational engineering simulation games.”

Before coming to RIT, Schwartz taught computer programming at Cornell University. After founding the Game Design Initiative at Cornell in 2001, Schwartz went on to help create an academic minor in game design—the first formal Ivy-League game design program.

The Princeton Review named RIT one of the top schools in the world to study video game design for 2015. RIT’s game design and development program was ranked sixth at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.


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Changing of the Guard

Please join us in congratulating Dave Schwartz as he assumes the role of Director of IGM.  Dave has been with the School of Interactive Design and Media since 2009 and most recently has been serving as the Undergraduate Program Coordinator.   We also say good bye to Tona Henderson, who has been serving as the IGM Director since 2013.  We want to thank Tona for all she has done for the School and wish Dave good luck as he begins his new role.

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Meet our IGM Commencement Delegates

We asked our delegates to share their experiences at RIT for our future students.


Melody Kelly, IGM Undergraduate Commencement

What advice would you give an incoming student?

Aim to make your projects into portfolio pieces.

Stop thinking that you're not ready. You'll learn more in a role (leadership, co-op, etc) than you will by waiting a year to prepare. Sometimes you'll get rejected. That's part of the process, but you shouldn't reject yourself by not applying.

What’s your favorite memory as an undergraduate student in IGM?

Meeting lots of interesting people in the labs

What’s been the most influential course you’ve taken?

Humanitarian Free/Open Source Software (HFOSS)

What will you miss the most about IGM/RIT?

All of the people I've met over the past few years

What’s next for you in the real world?

I'll be working at Apple as a Javascript Engineer in Cupertino, CA.


Alex Herdzik, IGM Graduate Commencement Delegate

What advice would you give an incoming student?

The games industry is all about networking. Meet as many people as you can, and make sure you leave as positive of an impression as you can, especially with your fellow students. 

What's your favorite memory as a graduate student in IGM?

Last March, all of the grad students got sent to San Francisco to attend the Game Developer's Conference. My favorite memory would have to be when all of the grad students were spending time in a bar near our hotel, playing billiards, just hanging out and enjoying each other's company. I thought that experience summed up the best of times at IGM.

What's been the most influential course you've taken?

The most influential course I've taken in the IGM grad program would have to be the Game Engine Development course. Professor Egert is an excellent teacher, and not only helped shed light on how to create a game engine from the ground up, but also some techniques to examine, modify, and optimize existing engines. Furthermore, The Unreal Engine experience I acquired in that class helped shape my capstone team's decision to create our capstone game in the Unreal Engine.

What will you miss the most about IGM/RIT?

Probably the lab computers. We have really nice gaming towers at every station, and having the power to play whatever PC game you want on ultra-high settings is amazing.

What's next for you in the real world?

I've accepted an offer to work for Logitech as a Software Engineer over in California. It's definitely a job I wouldn't have gotten without the connections I've made at RIT.



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Professor Kurtz Retires from IGM

Over his 30+ years of teaching at RIT, Steve helped bridge the worlds of art and technology. His commitment to collaborative learning changed the way many at RIT experienced computing and its relationship with media. In honor of the impact he has had on so many over the years, we have prepared a multimedia extravaganza, showing the works of students and colleagues who have been inspired by Steve, along with stories, photos, and more.  

Steve first came to RIT to study photography. After completing his MFA, he turned to the then burgeoning field of computing. He earned his MS in Computer Science and joined the faculty, where he shared his passion for computing with hundreds of students, faculty, and colleagues through teaching, discussion, and collaborative projects. 

Steve has always been a creator of connections – between media and computing, artists and programmers, and disparate ideas. He helped form several new units at RIT, most recently the School of Interactive Games and Media. 

Steve and his wife Susan are taking great advantage of the snow this winter, cross-country skiing nearly every day. They are planning a number of bike trips over the summer. He's been able to devote more time to photography, and is talking with the MAGIC Center about projects to support active learning of STEM topics. In short: He's enjoying retirement. 

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IGM Students win award for Super Daryl Deluxe

Fourth-year IGM students Dan Plate and Gary Porter won first place in the Visual Quality category of the 2015 Intel University Games Showcase for their forthcoming video game, Super Daryl Deluxe. Plate, an illustration major, created the game’s visual elements while Porter, a game design and development major, wrote the code.   Congratulations to both of you!

Princeton Review 2015 - IGM Rates #6 for Undergraduate & Graduate Gaming

RIT’s video game design programs jump in Princeton Review rankings
Undergraduate and graduate programs both rank No. 6 in annual listing of top programs

Rochester Institute of Technology is one of the top schools in the world to study video game design for 2015, according to new international rankings from The Princeton Review.

2014-2015 Commencement Delegates

Congratulations to the IGM 2014-2015 Commencement Delegates!


Melody Kelly - Undergraduate Delegate

Alexander Herdzik - Graduate Delegate.



Great work!

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Congratulations to the IGM Outstanding Undergraduate Scholars

The IGM Department is proud to recognize our Outstanding Undergraduate Scholars for 2014.


Good work and congratulations to:


Melody Kelly - New Media Interactive Development

Brett Morris - Game Design and Development

Wesley Rockholz - Game Design and Development

Darren Urmey Game Design and Development


We are proud of you!

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Welcome to Professor Gottlieb

Professor Gottlieb joined IGM this fall.  We asked him a few questions as a way for him to introduce himself.

What are your current areas of research?

My research specializes in games, digital media, religion, culture, and learning.   In particular I am interested in social impact in fields such as in education, public policy, and politics. For a number of years I have been designing, developing, and researching learning through GPS based mobile gaming.  I have created and studied gaming for modern Jewish history, emphasizing civic and democratic education ( 

I have also conducted research in digital media and religious social protest as well as writing on Jewish sacred religious law, learning, and games.

My current research and design project uses ancient religious legal structures to develop game systems for intra-faith and inter-faith understanding.    I use mixed methods design-based research to develop the games and to study learning during and surrounding game play and design.   

What parts of your job do you find most challenging?  What do find most enjoyable?

I find developing new game mechanics systems to be the most challenging and most enjoyable parts of my work.  I look to and learn from players as they play through prototypes, providing feedback and clues to ever-improved game mechanics for learning as well as more deeply understanding how people learn.  We learn as we play, and so figuring out how that happens is incredibly challenging and also fascinating and deeply rewarding.

What drew you to become a professor?

My own teachers have inspired and encouraged me to pursue curiosities and the excitement of learning.  I hope to do the same for my students.  The world around us is a fascinating place, and the inspiration to make great games can come from the unexpected:  a great work of architecture, a political debate, a visit to an interesting factory -- any place we can learn new rule-based systems holds opportunities for the next great game.

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?

I love skiing and spending time in the woods, so Rochester is a great place to live.   I also have a passion for pinball.

What advice would you give students about IGM and RIT?

I encourage my students to think strategically about their portfolios – to consider each class project as an opportunity to both explore their passions in game design and to think ahead to how they will showcase their work to potential collaborators and employers – or even market and distribute a game themselves.  I ask my students to consider learning and game play, and I also suggest that my students draw from great game and play theorists – many of whom have thought through tough problems that designers often face.  And if ever a theorist argues that “it can’t be done” – to take that as a great design challenge and an opportunity to break new boundaries in game design and development.

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Dr. Liz Lawley Wins Fulbright Scholarship

Elizabeth Lane Lawley, professor of interactive games and media, has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program grant to create a new game design and development minor at RIT Croatia. She will travel to Dubrovnik, Croatia, for the 2015 spring semester to create the new minor, teach two courses and help design additional courses in games for tourism.  


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