David I. Schwartz, Ph.D., a 1999 graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo, published two textbooks on introductory computing skills while completing his dissertation in civil engineering, which sparked Cornell University's interest. So, in the summer of 1999, Schwartz accepted a lecturer position in the Department of Computer Science to teach computer programming and develop new introductory courses. Recognizing the academic potential of games, Schwartz founded the Game Design Initiative at Cornell (GDIAC) in the spring of 2001. In May 2006, these efforts established Cornell's Minor in Game Design offered by the College of Engineering, the first formal Ivy-League game design program.
In the summer of 2007, Schwartz joined the Rochester Institute of Technology's Game Design and Development program as an assistant professor. In 2009, Schwartz joined his 17 other colleagues in founding RIT's Department of Interactive Games and Media, in which Schwartz's degrees in civil engineering and experience as a computer science educator paved the way for him to teach game programming, prototyping, design, and physical modeling. In 2011, the department became the School of Interactive Games and Media, in which Schwartz received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. In 2015, Schwartz became the Director of IGM. Dr. Schwartz currently researches geogames for urban planning and disaster resilience, and physically-based animation for computer graphics education.