smu guildhall academics

World Changing Research: Gaming for Good

In addition to the research that students complete for thesis and directed focus studies, many important research initiatives take place annually between SMU Guildhall faculty, students, and collaborative teams. 

These opportunities for research in game design have been facilitated with faculty via various grants, licenses and technologies over the years. Some of the organizations SMU Guildhall has partnered with for research initiatives include:

National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences, US Department of Justice, National Institute for Justice, Center for Advanced Pathogen and Response Simulations (CAPTRS), Retina Foundation Southwest, BALANCED Media | Technology (BMT), SMU Simmons School of Education (Department of Teaching and Learning), SMU Department of Psychology, Johns Hopkins University, University of Wisconsin–Madison, LSU, MU University Research Council, University of Oklahoma, Literacy Instruction of Texas (LIFT), Dollar General Family Literacy Foundation, XPRIZE, talkStem, Complexity Gaming, Epic, Valve, Sony, nVidia, Samsung, Microsoft, Nintendo, Intel, Dell, Oculus VR, Nerd Kingdom, SJVR, PCGA, Wellcome Trust UK, Medical Research Council (UK), Raytheon, IBM, Texas Educational Service Center, Region 13, Texas Film Commission, The Centsibility Project, Metalworking Fluid, and America’s Army

Featured Projects

Current & Ongoing Research Initiatves

Updated Fall 2023

  • 2022-2023: SMU Guildhall Deputy Director of Research, Dr. Corey Clark, is Co-PI on a grant awarded by the Department of Justice: Human Trafficking Institute for $1,200,000.

  • 2022-2024: Dr. Clark is the Principal Investigator on a grant awarded by BALANCED Media | Technology regarding Privacy Preserving Distributed Machine Learning for $250,000.

  • 2020-2024: Dr. Clark’s four-year $1.5MM grant from National Science Foundation as Principal Investigator for integrating Minecraft into STEM+C education with local ISDs in Dallas area. This grant is supporting SMU Guildhall master's students as well as students moving to the PhD program in Computer Science after graduating from SMU Guildhall.

  • 2021-2026: The Simmons School of Education and SMU Guildhall partnered with the non-profit talkStem on a five-year NSF grant for $2.5 million to create the AR application for walkStem “Seeing the World through a Mathematical Lense: A Place-Based Mobile App for Creating Math Walks.” The Simmons School of Education and SMU Guildhall also were awarded a four-year $1,398,245 NEA IES grant “Exploring Collaborative Embodiment for Learning (EXCEL): Understanding Geometry through Multiple Modalities," U.S. Department of Education Institute for Education Sciences (IES), R305A200401. SMU Guildhall Director of Academics, Dr. Elizabeth Storz Stringer, is Co-Principal with C.A. Walkington (Principal) and Nathan Mitchell (Co-Principal).

  • The Games for Society Initiative at SMU grew with SMU Guildhall's 2020 move to the new Gerald J. Ford Hall for Research and Innovation.

  • Dr. Clark was awarded $289,821 as PI for a grant from the Center for Advanced Pathogen Threat Response and Simulation (CAPTRS) to design and build a serious game platform to help train government agencies and officials around pandemic and pathogen threat responses. The funding provided direct sponsorship of four SMU Guildhall students. The research team worked directly with CAPTRS and NATO personnel to create a multiplayer platform that enabled the rapid development and deployment of game scenarios within the Unity game engine that are driven by a custom high fidelity simulation environment.

  • SMU Lyle School of Computer Engineering  and SMU Simmons School of Education and Development collaborated for Hidden Village, a Unity engine and Xbox Kinect motion capture technology game for a “math in motion” geometry adventure game. Guildhall students worked under the educational research team led by faculty at SMU and the University of Wisconsin to expand the game’s narrative, update the original graphics, develop a new version of the game in Unity, transition the motion capture technology to utilize the Microsoft Kinect and to create project documentation and a development plan for future teams to utilize.