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Published: June 22, 2021

Written by: Hannah

  • Tennessee State University takes esports a notch further in its academic programming with the launch of the Smart Innovation Technology Center
  • The Academic Center will focus on multiple disciplines and not just competitive video gaming 
  • Esports is becoming a more permanent part of the educational landscape, and that is good for universities and students

TSU is expanding on its involvement with esports through a new dedicated facility that will boost the university’s profile in competitive video gaming and beyond. 

Esports Have a New Come at Tennessee State University 

The Tennessee State University is the latest institution of higher learning to launch a dedicated academic center and focus more heavily on esports, AKA competitive video gaming. TSU’s brand-new facility will offer a comprehensive experience that goes beyond gaming, including design, management, coding, and more.

The SMART Innovation Technology Center, as the facility is called, will focus on STEM and STEAM programs, but it will also allow students to consider esports as more than just competitive video gaming.

Esports has become a real hit on a collegiate level. Scholarships and job opportunities have been linked to education in competitive gaming, but it’s not just playing the games that can lead to a realization in the sector.

Many universities out there have focused on equipping their students with a diverse portfolio of skills that stretch beyond gaming. Some have chosen to educate streamers and commentators and familiarize them with what it means to work at a broadcasting desk.

TSU’s idea behind the center is pretty much the same, says Robbie Melton, the university vice president of the facility. Speaking to the Tennessean, Melton explained that the university seeks a comprehensive approach towards the subject, including game design, coding, management, psychology, and anything that goes into gaming in terms of career opportunities.

TSU Looks into Numerous Opportunities for Students 

The center has been backed financially by the Tennessee Board of Regents and tech giants such as Apple. The TSU has been involved with esports for a while now as the school first joined national competitions in 2020. TSU even won the 2020 FIFA championship, demonstrating the school’s commitment to competitive video gaming.

Commenting on the esports successes of the school, TSU Co-captain Henry Logan had this to add: “It puts us one step closer to the goal of being successful in something we can make a long-term career in. This can draw attention to those who are interested in competitive gaming and who want to make a career in doing what they love.”

College esports is one of the quickest-expanding academic programs in North America. The focus is on a comprehensive approach towards esports that could lead to esports jobs and other opportunities.

Regardless, there has been some skepticism towards “studying video gaming.” Some skepticism has reigned among educators, too, but that is why the more successful programs in the United States have focused on creating versatile professionals, but not gamers.

As some program managers say, a player may eventually become a professional, but the chances of this happening are pretty much as slim as in any other competitive endeavor, be that digital or physical sport. 

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