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Institutions of higher education are rapidly expanding their gaming programs, and the University of California at Santa Cruz is no exception.

Today, the university revealed that it is hiring renown game designers Brenda Romero and John Romero (who are married) to run the Games and Playable Media master’s degree program at UCSC Silicon Valley’s Baskin School of Engineering.

Brenda Romero will act as program director. She previously worked with UC Santa Cruz starting in January as the Center for Games and Playable Media’s designer in residence. John Romero will act as the program’s creative director.

She’s worked in academia before. She was the chairperson of the interactive design and game development department at the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2008.


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“As a one-year, concentrated program, our goal is to work with students to create innovative games over the course of a year, pushing them, challenging them, and encouraging them to look closely at indie and triple-A games that are presently at the forefront of game development,” Brenda told GamesBeat. “Throughout the year, we also work closely with our contacts in the industry to make sure our graduates have the best chances at getting placed where they hope to land. For those who plan to follow the indie path, we likewise mentor them as they work to get established.”

In her role as program director, Brenda will oversee the instructors and curriculum, teach classes, and build relationships with gaming companies. Meanwhile, as creative director, John will design the overall creative vision of the Games and Playable Media courses. John will also instruct classes and mentor students.

“I enjoy working with students who are excited about games as medium and the possibility space we have yet to explore,” Brenda told GamesBeat. “Both John and I have worked in education before. Even in the industry, part of the role of the lead is to mentor those around them.”

Brenda Romero began her career as Brenda Brathwaite and as a game tester before moving up and designing on games in the Wizardry series of RPGs and Jagged Alliance. She later worked for Atari on the Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes.

John Romero is one of the founders of Doom developer Id Software, where he also worked on Wolfenstein 3D, Hexen, and Quake. He later formed Ion Storm to work on Daikatana.

Brenda and John Romero together formed game developer Loot Drop in November 2010. They married in October.

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