March 3, 2023

Starting as a professor within the Department of Fine, Digital, & Performing Arts at Shawnee State University in 2020, Michael Reynolds is grateful for the opportunity to help students discover their talents within the Game & Developmental Arts program.

Michael Reynolds

“There’s a reason why students are here,” he said. “It’s because they’ve played games their entire life and they love them. I try to use that love and excitement to explore educational avenues.”

In the classroom, Reynolds wants to recognize students’ interests to direct them to explore specific art styles and career paths within the gaming industry.

“It’s really enjoyable to talk about games and what makes them fun,” he said. “But also getting into how they work, analyzing the details of functioning examples is fun too. It can be a lot of work, but the idea that you’re getting to create something is really exciting.”

With his students, Reynolds focuses on incorporating his students’ interests into his teaching. He enjoys discussing their unique interests and seeing the product of those interests combined with what they are learning.

“I try to do things that allow for students to take creative liberty and feel like they have a sense of control of the things they are learning about,” he said. “I like getting into conversation, picking the students’ brains, and then seeing the end result of what they have been creating.”

Knowing the importance of having various skillsets within the gaming industry, Reynolds emphasizes the importance of communication within his classes. He encourages his students to work together and share ideas to become confident in sharing their ideas.

“Group conversation is really important to get students to talk to each other as if they are working in the same environment because collaborative work and communication is such an important part of game design,” he said.

To someone interested in pursuing a career in game design, Reynolds encourages students to remember what they love about video games to find their inspiration.

“I keep figurines and art books of the game companies that I like the most because it is important to know what’s inspired you and what gets you excited about video games, and hopefully that will catapult you into a career you can be passionate about,” he said.

SSU’s game design program has been nationally-ranked by The Princeton Review for twelve consecutive years, and this year the program once again found itself in the Top 10, ranking #9. The programs offer two separate but coordinated degree paths – one in Game Programming and one in Game Arts.

To learn more about gaming at Shawnee State University, visit