DePaul signs on as partner for Academic Esports Conference

The Chicago-based university will be featured at the inaugural event that serves the higher education and K-12 competitive gaming community.

The Academic Esports Conference and Expo has announced a program partnership with DePaul University, one of the country’s most innovative national universities and one of the top-rated schools for game design.

The conference, scheduled for Oct. 19-21 at the Hilton Chicago and steps from DePaul’s esports facility, will feature presentations from education leaders and esports experts addressing a variety of topics related to competitive gaming at both the K-12 school district and higher education levels. DePaul has been integral in the agenda development and other initiatives at the show.

“We couldn’t be prouder to be partnered with such an esteemed, diverse and student-focused university like DePaul,” said Chris Burt, Program Chair for the Academic Esports Conference. “DePaul has been a champion in furthering the development of both undergrads and graduates through its innovative degree programs and in areas related to esports, such as entrepreneurship, business, game design and other media. It has also been a champion in competitions outside the classroom, with the Blue Demons becoming an esports force on the collegiate level.”

DePaul Esports, a member of Tespa, won a pair of Big East championships earlier this year, beating Seton Hall in the final of both League of Legends (ESL Collegiate) and Rocket League (Electronic Gaming Federation). Its campus esports community stretches far beyond those teams, with 600-plus members.

DePaul’s Director of Student Involvement, Courtney James, will be one of the featured speakers at the conference. James oversees student organizations and campus activities, including esports. She will be speaking on a topic that is front of mind for many in the esports community, especially with students working and playing from home during the coronavirus pandemic: bystander intervention, or recognizing harmful content or actions and reporting it properly.

James’ session will discuss DePaul’s effort to combat toxicity in esports through its innovative intervention training program that was launched in the fall of 2019, as well as how it marketed that program and encouraged student participation.

“The training teaches students that a bystander is someone who sees a situation but may or may not know what to do, may think others will act, or may be afraid to intervene,” James says. “Attendees will know what data to evaluate to determine if a bystander intervention training would be beneficial to integrate in their community as well as how to create a plan to work with campus partners.”

DePaul joins two other program partners for the conference who are helping set the agenda, including the National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors (NAECAD) and the North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF). The show also has forged alliances with the High School Esports League, which serves more than 80,000-plus students and 3,000-plus member schools, and the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), which is the largest collegiate governing esports body in the U.S.

The Academic Esports Conference & Expo will feature more than 50 sessions in five unique learning tracks: Starting UpAdvanced LevelAcademic DevelopmentInfrastructure/Technology and Emerging Trends. The Expo Hall at the Hilton Chicago will showcase top esports solution providers and allow attendees to get hands-on and in-depth experience with the technologies and services available.

Registration is open for the event.

Chris Burt
Chris Burt
Chris is a reporter and associate editor for University Business and District Administration magazines, covering the entirety of higher education and K-12 schools. Prior to coming to LRP, Chris had a distinguished career as a multifaceted editor, designer and reporter for some of the top newspapers and media outlets in the country, including the Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel, Albany Times-Union and The Boston Globe. He is a graduate of Northeastern University.

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