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Thu, May. 10th, 2007, 01:50 pm
Dilemma

I co-teach a game design class with a male co-professor. I’m sitting here during the final presentations, which are totally awesome and very impressive. So what could be wrong, you ask?

Two groups in a row have just publicly cited the influence of my male colleague on the design process of their game, while omitting to mention mine. In one case, my colleague said, “Your game is too long, and you need to play-test,” while I helped them develop six different variants of the game that they could play-test, including the version that they used for their final submission. They mentioned how helpful his advice by name, twice, while taking full credit for every single one of my ideas. (Literally - they wrote, “We invented the idea of ….” And they didn’t. It’s just dishonest.)

If this happens with yet another group, I’m not sure whether to say something. For one thing, these students have worked really hard on their games and I don’t want to embarrass them. More importantly, I believe that my role as a professor of game design is to help students build the games they envision, and learn to be good designers. It’s really not about me, and I’m uncomfortable giving students the impression that it is.

However, I also can’t help feeling that my gender has a lot to do with who’s getting credit here, and I’m especially pissed that the rest of the class will go away thinking that I had nothing to contribute to this class as a designer.

FOLLOWUP: I want to clarify that my co-professor is an awesome designer and has worked really hard in the class. In fact, when we talked about it he was frustrated that the students were crediting him for insights that came from me and from our two teaching assistants. It’s amazing to know that we’re on the same team with this issue.