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MAGIC Community

The creative community of the MAGIC Center is the heart and soul of our research and development capability, with contributions and interactions from makers and thinkers of many backgrounds and varieties.  Our social fabric is combined of four major elements:


  • Faculty Affiliates

    (those faculty from throughout the university that have affiliated with the center)

  • Partners

    (individuals, organizations, programs or groups that we work with beyond the campus)

  • Initiatives

    (broad themes that help drive individual projects and investigations)

  • Students

    (who are the core of any enterprise at RIT, and who are working on these and many other projects as they pursue their education and research objectives)

Together, these elements form a rich tapestry of collaboration and multi-disciplinary exploration that is unique to the MAGIC Center, and that flows across the MAGIC Laboratory and MAGIC Spell Studios divisions.  That said, not every project, collaboration, or activity will neatly fit into any of these boxes, and above all there is a very healthy dose of creative chaos that permeates everything we do.

Center Initiatives


The Lab for Social Computing @ MAGIC

The Lab for Social Computing serves as an organizing unit for faculty across multiple colleges and disciplines to work together on research and development projects related to a wide range of social technologies. Outside of RIT, LSC faculty regularly speak at conferences on social computing topics, raising the visibility of RIT as an important player in social computing R&D, with several recent and past projects of note. The lab is directed by Dr. Elizabeth Lawley, Professor in the School of Interactive Games & Media and a faculty affiliate of MAGIC.

The LSC also sponsors talks on campus by well-known authors and scholars in the field of social computing: recent speakers included Kevin Slavin, Thomas Malaby, Julian Dibbell, David Weinberger, and Kathleen Fitzpatrick. In addition, personnel from the LSC help organize the Microsoft Research Social Computing Symposium in collaboration with Microsoft Research FUSE Labs.



One of the most unique initiatives at MAGIC is the FOSS@MAGIC effort, an initiative that originally grew out of the Department of Interactive Games and Media’s course in educational game development for the OLPC. Today, FOSS@MAGIC sponsors numerous projects, hackathons, regional get-togethers, birds-of-a-feather gatherings, and events throughout the year in connection with the MAGIC Center, the Golisano College of Computing & Information Sciences, RIT, and external partners. Since 2009, this group has brought FOSS speakers to campus, sponsored professional development opportunities for faculty, housed externally sponsored and faculty and student created research and development projects and has brought an annual regional FOSS conference to the RIT campus on several occasions. Known throughout the region, this group is an active and vibrant part of the Rochester open source movement, and is engaged with a variety of institutions throughout the region and the nation.


The Mobile Zone @ MAGIC

The Mobile Zone at MAGIC supplies mentorship, technical challenges and support for faculty and student projects centered around mobile phone and tablet technologies. The mobile zone is sponsored by a gift from Storm Frog, Inc. who generously places their own staff into the lab to mentor the RIT community.


The Museum Games & Technology Initiative

MGTI @ MAGIC represents a broad focus that explores the way in which digital and interactive media resituate the interactions between the public and the museum. The purpose of the initiative is to develop games to support museum collections and exhibits, media to engage participants with specific pieces or collections, and experiences that reframe the exploration of collections and historical artifacts. The eventual goal of our research is to develop a general model and reusable framework for games and media that will improve the accessibility, experience and public profile of museum collections. Projects are generally developed in conjunction with a museum partner (or partners) and include game and media design, supporting material design and assessment standards. Such projects are the first installment of a much larger research initiative that will evolve by individual development of component blocks.


Games & Learning at the MAGIC Center

RIT, the School of Interactive Games & Media, and collaborators across the MAGIC Center have a long history of exploring the creation, use, and deployment of games in classrooms and informal learning settings to understand both the learning process and to impact a large number of fields. From the early days of projects like M.U.P.P.E.T.S. that explored how we teach our own undergraduates to code and communicate in digital environments, to games such as Layoff! (a collaboration with the Tiltfactor Lab and part of the Values at Play initiative) that challenge the public on uncomfortable issues surrounding economic collapse, RIT has supported our work in exploring the ways in which games and media can impact the learning process.

Recently, MAGIC has partnered with Second Ave. Software on several Department of Education grants that create games for middle school Science education (Martha Madison’s Marvelous Machines being one such example), has continued to engage with the Games 4 Learning Institute, the Games+Learning+Society Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and several other partners and agencies as we continue to push the boundary of how games and digital media can impact learning and engagement.

Closer to home, we have been heavily involved in the creation of the Just Press Play project, which seeks to use game elements and playful learning theory to better equip students in the transition to campus life and academic exploration in a whimsical, yet meaningful way. You can read more about these individual projects, their impact, and related work on the individual pages for these works, and if you have an idea or concept for a game or simulation that impact the learning process, don’t hesitate to contact us!


The Religion, Culture & Policy Initiative

The Religion, Culture & Policy @ MAGIC initiative cultivates new research, focused on games, religious literacy, the acquisition of cultural practices, and the implication on policy and politics.
How can game systems and interactive media provide insight into religious studies, learning, and cultural production? And how can the study of religion and culture illumine game design and the learning sciences? How might discoveries gained in the pursuit of these questions help to promote religious literacy, improved dialogue, discourse, and policy?


Faculty Affiliates

Adam Smoth

Assoc. Prof. & Program Chair
School of Design, CIAS
Faculty Website
New Media Design Website

Adrienne Decker

Assistant Professor
School of Interactive Games & Media, GCCIS

Al Biles

School of Interactive Games & Media, GCCIS
Faculty Website

Amit Ray

Associate Professor
Department of English, COLA
Faculty Website

Chris Cascioli

School of Interactive Games & Media, GCCIS
Professional Website

Christopher Egert

Associate Director
Associate Professor, School of Interactive Games & Media, GCCIS
Faculty Website

Dan Schneiderman

FOSS@MAGIC Research Associate & Community Liaison
Email: dan@magic.rit.edu

David Schwartz

Assoc. Prof. & Undergraduate Program Coordinator
School of Interactive Games & Media, GCCIS
Faculty Website
IGM Program Website

David Simkins

Assistant Professor
School of Interactive Games & Media, GCCIS

Elizabeth Goins

Associate Professor
Dept. of Performing Arts
& Visual Culture, COLA

Elizabeth Lawley

School of Interactive Games & Media
Director, Lab for Social Computing @ MAGIC
Faculty Website | LSC Website

Elouise Oyzon

Associate Professor
School of Interactive Games & Media, GCCIS

Evan Selinger

MAGIC Center Head of Research Communications, Community and Ethics
Associate Professor, Dept. of Philosophy, COLA
Professional Website

Gordon Goodman

School of Interactive Games & Media, GCCIS

Ian Schreiber

Assistant Professor
School of Interactive Games & Media, GCCIS
Personal Design Blog

Jason Arena

Associate Professor
School of Design, CIAS
CEO, Workinman Interactive
Workinman Website

Jay Alan Jackson

Associate Professor
School of Interactive Games & Media, GCCIS
Research Blog

Jessica Bayliss

Associate Professor
& Graduate Coordinator
School of Interactive Games & Media, GCCIS
IGM Program Website

Jessica Lieberman

Assistant Professor
Depts. of Performing Arts & Visual Culture, & Photography, COLA

Job 5212 for Susan Dewoody. New Faculty portraits. Portrait of Jesse O'Brien, New Faculty for the School of Interactive Games and Media, College of Computing and Information Sciences.
Jessie O’Brien

School of Interactive Games & Media, GCCIS

Joe Geigel

Department of Computer Science, GCCIS
Faculty Website

Joe Pietruch

School of Interactive Games & Media, GCCIS
IGM Program Website

Kelly Norris Martin

Assistant Professor
Dept. of Communications, COLA

Laurence I. Sugarman

Research Professor and Director
Center for Applied Psychophysiology and Self-regulation
Office: 585.475.7963

Mike Johansson

Dept. of Communications, COLA
Faculty Website

Nancy Doubleday

Associate Professor
School of Interactive Games & Media, GCCIS

Owen Gottlieb

RCP Initiative Founder & Lead Research Faculty
Assistant Professor, School of Interactive Games & Media, GCCIS
MAGIC Center affiliate
oagigm -AT- rit.edu

Ron Vullo

Associate Professor
Department of Information Sciences & Technologies, GCCIS
Faculty Website

Shaun Foster

Assistant Professor
School of Design, CIAS
Faculty Website

Stephen Jacobs

Professor, School of Interactive Games & Media, GCCIS
Research Affiliate, RIT MAGIC Center
Visiting Scholar, National Center for the History of Electronic Games

Steve Kurtz

Professor, School of Interactive Games & Media, GCCIS

Steven Gold

Professor of Economics
Saunders College of Business

W. Michelle Harris

Associate Professor
School of Interactive Games & Media, GCCIS
Faculty Website


Blake Gross
Brandon Littell
Colden Cullen
Daniel Jost
Danny Shumway
Jacob Burdecki
Jonathan Bowman
Justin Hoover
Katie Pustolski
Katie Tigue

AKA “Giggles”

Sara Armstrong
Sean Brennan
Timothy Reynolds