The Faculty of Fine Arts is pleased to have Dr. Chris Kerich join the new media department as an assistant professor.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? What brought you to the University of Lethbridge?
I'm originally from the suburbs of Washington D.C. in the US, but I've lived in a bunch of places on the east and west coast of the states–Pittsburgh, Cambridge, Santa Cruz and Berkeley before ending up in Calgary and now Lethbridge!
I've been hired as an assistant professor of video game design and development in the new media department in the Faculty of Fine Arts. I was really attracted to this position because there seems to be a lot of support for artist-scholars and research creation in the department, and that's something I really crave and strive for in all of my work.
What will you be teaching at the University of Lethbridge and if applicable what is the focus of your research?
My research focuses on the politics and ideology of game engines and systems asking, "what sort of bias is baked in to the tools we use to make software and games?" In addition to my scholarship, I also make new media art that primarily uses games and game engines. At ULethbridge, I'll be teaching a variety of games courses, both production and theory, and some other software courses like 3D modeling (which I'm teaching this semester).
What or who inspired you to choose a career path in academia?
I believe everyone should at some point work a 9 to 5 job in order to see what it's like and if it works for them. I am a person for whom it does not work, and one of the biggest motivators for me to go into academia was escaping a job and career trajectory I did not enjoy and felt that I had sleepwalked myself into. Academia can be a place to redefine yourself and your interests, and I took full advantage of that. Living in a world of ideas and concepts is very appealing to me and gives me energy, and I feel very grateful to hopefully be able to give that back to my students. Everyone also needs to someday decide how much it matters to them if your job is a net positive for the world, for me that is very important. In my opinion, teaching and researching are some of the few jobs I can think of that are making the world a better place.
How do you like to spend your spare time?
It might not surprise you to learn that I spend a lot of my free time playing games as well, more than just video games, I also really enjoy playing board games and tabletop roleplaying games as well. In Calgary, I've been playing a social-deduction board game called Blood on the Clocktower every week for over a year, and I hope to start up a similar club or group here in Lethbridge. When I'm not playing games I also like rock climbing (I can only do toproping right now but I hope to learn lead climbing eventually) and biking. I also watch a lot of Korean television (subtitled), primarily gameshows.
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