Despite the negative news surrounding the recent 22 job cuts and Nipissing’s departure, some good news regarding Laurier Brantford’s progression and expansion can help bring positivity.
After several years of planning and waiting, Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, have approved the Bachelor of Fine and Applied Arts in partnership with Conestoga College. Current and incoming students are ecstatic about the news.
Mike Kykov, a second year student and avid gamer commented, “I do believe it may be successful and it may even create new dreams. If Laurier is about inspiring lives, then why shouldn’t it have this program?
Dr.Kathryn Carter, Inter-faculty Associate Dean: Academic Coordination of Human & Social Sciences, remarked, “I am thrilled, beyond words that it finally happened. It was a miserable long process at the end. The government dragged its feet for a while in February, when they promised us an answer. They didn’t give us an answer and I was starting to freak out.”
Carter spoke about the process of the four year Bachelor of Fine and Applied Arts (BFAA). “In the first year, students will have to design a board game to learn the principles of why people want to play. What makes people keep playing? Why do people get addicted to Candy Crush? Once you are able to answer those questions, you are able to figure out how to get employees to stay committed to their job and how to engage children in their work.”
Students will have to take four required courses dealing with programming and storytelling. Their second year will be a continuation of building the foundation. In their third year, students will have the opportunity to write the Project Manager certification exam. In their fourth and final year, students are matched up with a local group, which can range from a not-for-profit organization to an industry partner. Programming, storytelling, project management, entrepreneurship and game design are all included which makes the program quite broad.
Carter talked about how her expectations were blown away when she budgeted the program for 18 incoming students, and ended up with 175 applicants, and will be talking to more students at the March 18th Open House.
Carter explained what could be done with the degree after university, which were relatively the same options as most students. Graduates can go into graduate research in games and games culture at MIT or U of W. They can also become programmers, game developers, project managers, sound developers or game testers. The possibilities are endless in the expanding gaming industry.
Currently a student at Laurier Brantford but interested in transferring into the program? Not to worry, you are still able to as Carter pointed out, “There are only 4 required courses, so if you are in your second or third year, you would have to complete those before progressing into the program. It would be very difficult to complete in four years, as we are rolling out programs as we go and as the students need them.”
In relationship to the Game Development program, Carter hopes to see a ‘game culture’ emerge in the university and that students that are not in the program would take an interest in one of the courses. Imagine if a Con-Ed student took a course and got interesting ideas on how to engage children in the classrooms, or if students would get together for game nights? It would provide more social experiences, at the very least.
While this seems to be a radical change for Brantford, it’s the way that the culture is evolving. The idea came to Carter when she realized that Brantford is home to the largest video game collection in North America. Just a few months ago, Sputnik News editor, Taylor Berzins, reported on the board game café. In addition, there are also game jams and game nights popping up all over the city.
Laurier Brantford looks forward to adding another successful program to its campus, and bringing in more students.