Andrew "Andy" Phelps is an educator, digital artist, and technologist with over 15 years experience. He currently serves as the founder and director of the RIT Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity (MAGIC),
and holds the rank of Professor in the School of Interactive Games & Media that he founded in 2011. His work in games education, digital media, and interactive software has been published in numerous articles, journals and periodicals, as well as by the popular press (CNN, USA Today, NPR, The NY Times, etc.)
Beginning in 2001, he offered the first course in ‘game programming’ available at the Rochester Institute of Technology. That course quickly grew into a concentration of courses available to students in Computer Science, Information Technology, and Software Engineering. From there, he led a multi-disciplinary faculty team to design and establish a Masters in Game Design & Development in 2006 as well as a Bachelors of the same name in 2007. He then created the Department of Interactive Games & Media in 2009 which became a School in 2011.
Phelps served as founding Chair/Director of the Department/School until early 2013. Under his administration, the Bachelors and Masters degrees grew to serve a student body of over 700 and were each ranked #4 in the country by the Princeton Review. Alumni of the program he created have worked throughout the industry, and have had a profound impact on the field. Furthermore, he established the operational practices and team culture that have enabled the success of the students, faculty, and staff in IGM to the present day.
In addition to his work in academic administration, Phelps is an accomplished scholar in the field of digital media. He has authored over 30 papers and journal publications, delivered over 50 professional presentations, and has served on a number of grants and funded projects in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the Library of Congress, Microsoft Research and others. His scholarly work has led him around the globe through his presentations and collaborations with academia and industry.
As an educator, his work in studio model interactive teaching has directly prepared students for careers in everything from game development to work with government agencies on simulation and education, from digital media and production to (literally) rocket science. Alumni that graduated both from his classes and from the academic programs he designed gather annually at the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, but can be found around the globe pursuing a wide variety of careers in numerous fields.
In February of 2013, Professor Phelps was appointed by RIT President William Destler to establish a new university wide Research Center of Excellence exploring Media, Arts, Games, Interaction & Creativity (MAGIC). Phelps spearheads this new effort and in this role reports directly to the Vice President and Associate Provost for Research. In addition to this activity, he has recently moved a large portion of his affiliation to the new Innovative Learning Institute, where he will be exploring new modalities of teaching and learning.
Phelps has consistently given back to both RIT and the professional community as a part of his passion for digital media. He has served on standards bodies and academic and industry working groups, has served as an advisor, reviewer and mentor for both faculty and students throughout RIT and academia, and has also acted as a curriculum designer and program reviewer at other universities. He is pictured below in a photograph from the RIT Research magazine in the Game Design & Development lab that he designed.
In addition to his professional career described above, Phelps has additional experience in managing large-scale raiding guilds in MMORPGs, enjoys small, creative world-building games, and is generally drawn to any classic RPG dungeon crawl. He is an avid science fiction and fantasy buff, and cannot be separated from his e-reader. In a former life he was an NCAA Division I athlete and two-time High School All-American. He holds degrees in fine arts from BGSU and information technology from RIT, and currently resides with his family in Rochester, New York.