NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is continuing to make its presence known in the billion-dollar industry of competitive video game playing, or eSports, with the establishment of an Academic eSports Center set to open on the main campus this fall.
TSU’s SMART Innovation Technology Center will oversee the new center, which seeks to promote pathways and increase diversity in STEM and STEAM programs for underserved students.
“eSports is a chance to attract underserved students into our STEAM programs for opportunities to design, code, compose, coach, manage, market, produce, and become innovators and game entrepreneurs,” says Dr. Robbie Melton, associate vice president of the SMART Innovation Technology Center and dean of Graduate and Professional Studies at TSU.
“eSports also complements our TSU-HBCU-C2 National Center’s mission in promoting ‘Everyone Can Code and Create’ partnership with Apple, Inc. for empowering underserved students and communities with technological knowledge, skills, and opportunities for the global digital workplace.“
Leaders at historically black colleges and universities say it’s not all about fun and games, and believe eSports is a steppingstone to jobs and internships for students. TSU has launched eSports classes, and joined eSports organizations and leagues that allow students to improve their gaming skills, as well as network with tech companies. A starting salary in eSports management is around $67,000.
However, there are some students who want to become professional gamers, like TSU’s Mena Azzoz, winner of the FIFA national championship in April.
“There are a lot of opportunities out there,” says Azzoz, a senior computer science major who lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. “For me personally, I’m hoping that I can land a job in eSports as a FIFA player and play for a team that pays their players like a lot of FIFA pros. Winning the FIFA tournament was a step closer for me to do so.”
Henry Logan, Jr. is a sophomore English major at TSU and co-captain of the university’s eSports team. He says the new center will be game-changing.
‘It’s a great expansion and investment for TSU,” says Logan. “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.”
Classes that will be offered this fall through TSU’s new Academic eSports Center include “Academic eSports Pathways to STEAM” and “The Rise of eSports and Gamification in PreK-Higher Education”. Also offered will be current eSports Team programs such as FIFA, Call of Duty, Fortnite, NBA 2K, and Madden. Launching new this fall will be NHL, Rocket League, Track and Field, Valorant, Golf, Hockey, and iRacing.
For more information about eSports and TSU’s Technology Centers, contact Dr. Robbie Melton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees. TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee. With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.