The New York Times ran an article this past week that discussed the changing times for computer majors. The boom of the 90's ended in a bust, and further layoffs and dim forecasts by the technology industry have caused many students to reconsider the profitability of a degree in computer science.
At Carnegie Mellon University, applications to the School of Computer Science for next fall are down 36 percent from their peak in 2001; applications to Virginia Tech's computer science department have declined 40 percent since 2001. At M.I.T., renowned for its computer science curriculum, 20 percent fewer freshmen declared electrical engineering and computer science as their central focus this spring than did in 2001 or 2002.
ZIPPP, SLASH, CUT. Two years ago we put forth proposals that would have brought Computer Game Studies to Virginia Tech in a big way, but for a variety of reasons the Institution basically said NO WAY, it's not RESEARCH, even though the proposals demonstrated that it was clearly research and that it would be highly beneficial to the University in a BIG MONEY sort of way….
Because of this, I don't think that Games are going to save any computer science department, one problem is that Games aren't built on the back of computer scientists. Some of the innovation in games comes from there, but the really great games come from people with a broad background and interests in the humanities and social science, interests in HUMANS, not in computers. The IGDA curriculum that i commented on and now exists on their website is illustrative of this, computer games is much broader than computer science. Given the funding structures and student interests in 'normal' computer science. I can see where they could be in a pickle for a while, not just here, but elsewhere.
So anyway, I suppose this is the same case other places…. I see the places that are working on computer games and those are places that break disciplines and break paradigms, many universities in the U.S. are less likely to do that, I think.