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MADTech Department Head Derek Ham accepts new position as director of Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center

Dr. Derek Ham with his name displayed

MADTech Department Head Derek Ham, PhD, has accepted a new position as director of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) in Pittsburgh, PA, effective September 1.

“You can tell a lot about an institution by its foundations, the way it was formed and who formed it. The origin of the ETC as a place founded between the School of Computer Science and the College of Fine Arts is one that resonates with me tremendously,” Ham said. “The work I do and lead in immersive storytelling has as much to do with aesthetics and visual communication as it does with responding to leaps in hardware and software that enable us to tell stories in completely new ways. The ETC is situated perfectly to continue its leadership in these areas, and so much more. I’m beyond excited to be a part of it.”

Carnegie Mellon’s ETC is a premiere professional graduate program for interactive entertainment focused on educational goals and creative development. 

As department head of Media Arts, Design and Technology at the NC State College of Design, Derek led the department’s transition to an emphasis on cutting-edge technologies, such as game based learning, algorithmic thinking, and immersive storytelling. As the founder of the Mixed Reality Lab, he has leveraged both VR & AR technology to find ways to expand the possibilities of interaction design.

Derek’s multiple achievements at NC State include his highly acclaimed VR project “I am a Man”  that has been shown in film festivals nationally and internationally.  His interactive VR experience, “Barnstormers: Determined to Win,” set to the backdrop of Negro League Baseball, was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022.

“While we will miss Derek, I am pleased for him about his well-deserved selection to lead the ETC and want to thank him for almost 10 years of teaching, creativity and leadership here in the College of Design,” said Dean Mark Hoversten.

Tania Allen, associate professor of media arts, design and technology, will serve as interim head of the department.

Language adapted from press release from Carnegie Mellon University.