05/23/07 — College adding video game development

View Archive

College adding video game development

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 23, 2007 1:45 PM

Gaming expos at Wayne Community College have demonstrated the potential for developing video game programs, prompting the Board of Trustees Tuesday night to approve adding curriculum in the field, with two other technology programs being dropped.

It was also the last meeting under the leadership of Dr. Ed Wilson, whose retirement as president of the college will be effective June 29.

His successor, Dr. Kay Albertson, currently vice president for academic affairs and student services, announced the curriculum changes for the fall.

The two items terminated included Internet Technologies and Manufacturing Technology/Plastics Concentration. Internet Technologies has had low enrollment, and the county offers few jobs in the field, Dr. Albertson said.

Since Internet security is still a major concern for businesses worldwide, however, she said the college has replaced the degree program with the Information Systems Security Program.

As for the concentration in technology and plastics, Wayne Community has been in a consortium arrangement with Wake Tech and five other community colleges for about nine years. Each of the collaborating colleges have experienced low enrollments, few graduates and high annual costs to the colleges, prompting the dissolution of the program, Dr. Albertson explained.

Students can still receive plastics training imbedded in other courses within machining technology, she noted.

Two Gaming Expos, hosted by the college in as many years, have shown the field to be "quite lucrative," Dr. Albertson said while introducing the concept of Simulation and Game Development that will be offered at Wayne Community.

Wake Technical Community College is the approved college for awarding a degree in the field. Wayne will enter a level-three instructional service agreement with Wake in the fall, with the two schools jointly teaching all related courses over a two-year period.

Curriculum also covers practical applications in creative arts, visual arts, creative writing, modeling, design, programming and management. Graduates could qualify for employment as designers, artists, animators, programmers, database administrators, quality assurance analysts, engineers and administrators in such fields as the entertainment industry, health care, engineering, forensics, education, NASA and government agencies.

The program will be cost-effective since the college already has the equipment, Dr. Albertson said, with plans to use budgeted state funds to purchase software. No new faculty is required and a credentialed instructor is already in place to offer core courses in the field.

A program in Agriculture Biotechnology was also approved, featuring an emphasis in animal science/health. Already passed by the board during its February retreat, changes at the state level have stalled the addition. Once the impact statements from other participating community colleges are received, the curriculum will be submitted to the state community college system officials for approval, Dr. Albertson said.

The board is also awaiting approval of funding for two roofing projects. Wilson said the county manager had authorized the college to proceed with advertising for letters of interest from designers to replace roofs on the Dogwood and Azalea buildings. Proposals were due by May 15, with an estimated budget of $850,000 established for the project.

Wilson said he plans to appear before the commission on May 30 to follow up on the funding request. By bidding the two projects together, he said he is optimistic about a "very favorable" outcome.

"We're spending $5,000 to $8,000 a year on this roof now, repairing it when it leaks," he said.

In his last meeting with the board, Wilson was presented with a framed picture of the college as well as a gift card to Dick's Sporting Goods.

Trustees chairman Tommy Cox commended the president and attributed years of growth and success at the college "largely due to your leadership and your guidance."

Wilson said he was grateful to have had the cooperative relationship of the board over the years.

"I do appreciate all the support that you have given me. It's been a pleasure to work with all the boards," he said, citing three people in particular -- Tim Haithcock and vice chairman Keith Stewart, both who have served with Wilson for the past 14 years, as well as attorney and board member Tommy Jarrett.

Wilson said he could not take sole credit for any accomplishments of his office.

"You don't do this alone," he said. "We have got a great bunch of people and they're the ones that make me look good."