Johnson C. Smith breaks ground with esports program

The North Carolina school becomes the first historically black college and university to offer gaming management minor to undergrads.

Johnson C. Smith University’s Metropolitan College of Professional Studies on Tuesday became the first historically black college and university to offer an Esports and Gaming Management program to undergraduate students.

JCSU, based in Charlotte, N.C., announced it will feature a minor program as well as non-credit bearing certificate program that will consist of four courses. Both programs are slated to begin this fall.

“We are elated to offer a program that will not only appeal to students’ interests, but will also meet the demands of the esports and gaming communities,” said Dr. BerNadette Lawson-Williams, the Online Sport Management Coordinator for the Metropolitan College who is the advisor for the program.

JCSU says the minor program will consist of 21 credit hours and will help prepare students for successful careers in the esports “by providing them with skills necessary to effectively plan, manage, and execute small- and large-scale esports events.”

John Cash Jr., Esports Adjunct Professor, highlighted the importance of the university embracing one of the hottest global trends and one of the most popular career paths for potential incoming students.

“Not only does our esports program curriculum prepare students for industry success, it highlights the university’s continued passion as a leading and innovative institution for higher education,” said Cash, who is also an executive board member on a non-profit organization that provides support and infrastructure for children in need through STEM-related initiatives, including those in esports and education.

Cash will be touching on that as well as the importance of ensuring diversity and inclusion in the esports industry as a featured speaker at this year’s Academic Esports Conference and Expo at the Hilton Chicago in October.

According to a report in The Charlotte Post, more than 200 majority-white colleges have official teams or clubs, with 60 offering degree programs or certifications. Cash told the Post that “HBCUs have been missing this opportunity with the growth of the industry.” But he noted, “We’re going to address that gap.”

For those who follow in the footsteps of Lagier Coston, a senior Sports Management major who is enrolled in Johnson C. Smith’s first esports class, the newly launched programs provides a great starting point for those looking to launch a career in electronic gaming.

“This program will equip students with an interest in gaming and a desire for business to combine the two into a lucrative profession,” Coston said.

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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