Esports Academy for teachers and parents: a Q-and-A with Phill Alexander

Interview by Margo Kissell, university news and communications

Phill Alexander is an assistant professor of game design and co-director of the varsity esports team at Miami University. He also chairs the competition committee for the new Mid-American Conference’s stand-alone esports conference known as the Esports Collegiate Conference (ESC). Miami President Gregory Crawford chairs ESC’s board of directors. We touched base with Alexander to find out more about the Esports Academy, a continuing education workshop that will be offered at King Library July 15-16.

Phill Alexander

Phill Alexander

Why is the Esports Academy being offered?

We have noticed a marked uptick in high school esports involvement. Just last month, we found out that there's a league operating in Ohio that has 460 teams! Glenn (Glenn Platt, Emerging Technology in Business + Design) and I reached out to Sherrill Sellers in EHS to see if she thought there would be interest in an esports program for Continuing Education Credit (for teachers).  We developed the program quickly so we could offer it this year. Over the last few weeks, there was an indication that some parents would be interested as well, so we opened registration for parents. 

What do you hope teachers and parents take away from this two-day experience?

We hope that the participants will leave with a better understanding of the esports world, of the benefits for kids and students, and with a plan to bring esports to their high schools.  In the esports world, knowledge is power. There's so much interest, but at least in my opinion, there isn't enough education happening for the general public (that's part of what inspired my recent book, Esports for Dummies). We want people to know what opportunities exist in esports.

Will there be an esports camp for students this summer?  

We have one planned for the end of this month. The camp, for students ages 12-18, will run from July 25-Aug. 1. You can find more information at  

Miami is now offering a new master’s in esports management in addition to an esports management certificate. What can you tell us about them?

Both the MA and the Graduate Certificate will be enrolling for the fall and that anyone interested can contact us at The lecture/discussion parts of the Graduate Certificate course will be streamed on Twitch. We are hoping this will draw in a larger audience and give anyone who is interested access to at least part of the course information.

What do you think about President Crawford touting the strengths of gaming traits in a May 28 Forbes column titled, ‘How ‘Gamer’ Can Boost a Resume?

I am really, really happy with how active he is in the esports world. Every time I meet with the ESC folks, they compliment President Crawford's commitment. It means a great deal to the legitimacy of college esports and our team in particular having a president as a strong, enthusiastic advocate.