MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia University recently announced the hiring of a new Academic Director for its Esports Management minor that launched this semester.

Chris Scroggins, WVU Esports Management Academic Director (courtesy Chris Scroggins)

Chris Scroggins, who has developed esports programs in other schools like Shenandoah University, said he is looking to give students experience in the industry by working with business partners in the esports industry and establishing an internal broadcast to hone the skills of upcoming esports commentators.

“We need to inform people, we need to interpret what’s happening on screen, and we need to entertain. I mean, that’s the total package for what brings people into media.”

Scroggins said that his passion for digital media is a driving factor in his desire to establish a space where students can get accustomed to aspects of esports production like sound, lighting and refining their “broadcaster voice.” According to Scroggins, this broadcasting space would likely be included in a dedicated space for the esports program.

WVU’s VALORANT team and other competitors at the Redbull Campus Clutch U.S. Finals in Arlington, Texas: Credit Michael Carvelli – Courtesy WVU Esports

Scroggins also wanted to emphasize that the esports management minor will not limit students to an esports-only career path, but instead tries to teach many skills that are applicable across several fields to ensure job placement. It won’t teach you how to turn a wrench or fix a car, but the program will teach important critical thinking skills that will impact the learning process to help students pick up new skills faster, Scroggins said.

“Esports is still an industry that’s emerging, and although there’s a ton of career pathways in it, some of those are still evolving and being created.”

The new Academic Director said there are three things he plans to bring to WVU that he believes have worked well in other esports programs he has developed:

  • Borrowing theory from other industries like business, finance and marketing.
  • Getting students hands-on learning experiences using partnerships with esports companies and internal WVU esports programming like broadcasting social media.
  • Assembling an advisory board of esports professionals that can give insight into the industry to make courses more relevant to students.
WVU’s VALORANT team at the Redbull Campus Clutch U.S. Finals in Arlington, Texas: Credit Michael Carvelli (Courtesy WVU Esports)

Scroggins said that a lot of the program comes down to developing management and interpersonal communications skills, as well as educating students in fields like finance, which play a major role in the esports industry because most esports organizations operate at a loss each year.

The Esports Management minor will have three courses specific to the minor: esports governance, esports marketing and esports business. You can view a full list of electives for the minor here.

For more information about the minor and how you can apply, you can visit this page on the WVU website.