Think about who as access to games education. Look around your classrooms and think about who is absent. Diversity may vary depending on what faculty your program sits in: arts, humanities, computer science. Recruiting diversity requires work and here are a few tips for making your games course/program more inviting.
Websites and brochures represent your course/program to potential students. Since, gaming has a decidedly masculine reputation, thinking about the optics of these documents can help your course appeal to a broader demographic.
Promote student work.
Display diversity of bodies.
Display a diverse student body in various contexts (at work, showing their games, winning awards, in the classroom, giving presentations).
Have a slide reel of header images on your main page rather than one encompassing image.
Promote your course using images exclusively of men.
The prose used to describe your course/program are also important in recruiting a more diverse student body. Masculine coded disciplines such as computation and engineering have developed gendered vocabularies. Computers being associated with masculine qualities such as ‘power’, ‘strength’, ‘logic’. Think about how the wording of your prospectus might be hailing a specific audience and edit it to be more inclusive.
EXAMPLE – GENDERED LANGUAGE
Engineer Company Description:
• Feminine: We are a community of engineers who have effective relationships with many satisfied clients. We are committed to understanding the engineer sector intimately.
• Masculine: We are a dominant engineering firm that boasts many leading clients. We are determined to stand apart from the competition.
• Feminine: Proficient oral and written communications skills. Collaborates well in a team environment. Sensitive to clients’ needs, can develop warm client relationships.
• Masculine: Strong communication and influencing skills. Ability to perform individually in a competitive environment. Superior ability to satisfy customers and manage company’s association with them.
• Feminine: Provide general support to project team in a manner complimentary to the company. Help clients with construction activities.
• Masculine: Direct project groups to manage project progress and ensure accurate task control. Determine compliance with client’s objectives.
RESOURCES & ADVICE
Advice for developing gender neutral course descriptions.
The Gender Decoder. An app to help you determine if your course descriptions are sexist.
If you have a code of conduct or safer spaces policy make sure you advertise it! If you do not have a policy in place you are welcome to adapt the ReFiG safer space policy.
We know that women are far less likely to apply for opportunities that they do not feel 100% qualified for. And that higher eduction is less accessible to low SES students. While your program may have some qualification requirements, think about how these might be exclusionary to various identities.
READING APPLICATIONS DIFFERENTLY
We know that there are gender biases when it comes to reading applications. Corrine Moss-Racusin’s study demonstrates that academics when presented with identical CVs/resumes one with a female name and the other with a male name, overwhelmingly found the male candidate to be more qualified.
These unconscious biases can be mitigated by actively looking for different types of candidates.
Pay attention to how reference letters are framed differently for men and women, implying gendered qualities.
Be open to persons with more traditional arts backgrounds and different styles.
Be open to those with interest in creative writing.
Be open to persons who do not identify as ‘gamers’.
Consider persons who have never made a game before.
Look for typical hyperreal game art.
Look for experience with a variety of high-end, expensive or industry standard game engines.
Look for level 70 wizards in the coolest MMORPG around.