RIT opens new digital media center

By NATE DOUGHERTY - 2/15/2013 3:45:38 PM

Rochester Institute of Technology has created a research center devoted to the study of digital media.

The Center for Media, Arts, Games, Innovation and Creativity will provide a broad range of research, development, education and entrepreneurial activities in support of the exploration of media, arts, games, social interaction and digital creativity, university officials said.

William Destler, RIT president, appointed professor Andrew Phelps as founding director of the new initiative. He is the founder of RIT’s School of Interactive Games and Media in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. Phelps also is the originator of the game design and development programs at the university.

The center will be made up of two parts—a university-wide research and development laboratory and Magic studios, a production studio that will assist in efforts to bring digital media creations up to marketplace standards and commercialized.

“Digital media is changing the way we communicate, the way we learn, and even the way we think,” Destler said. “Through a wide variety of mechanisms, including traditional and non-traditional research programs, artistic production and experimentation, entrepreneurial activities and corporate and governmental partnerships, the Magic Center will act as a collaborative home for the exploration and production of digital media by the RIT academic community.”

The combination of research lab and corporate-style production studio makes the center unique in higher education, said Jeremy Haefner, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs.

“Our students come to us, and some of them want to create their own companies,” Haefner said. “Some want to create individual products but aren’t thinking about companies. Others want to do unique, innovative work while they are in school, and see college as a primary ‘experimentation phase’ prior to moving on to other endeavors.”

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