Texas Tech University

CoMC Faculty Receives Fulbright Award to Research VR/AR in Taiwan

Riley Golden

December 1, 2019

Nick Bowman, Ph.D

Nick Bowman, Ph.D., an associate professor of journalism & creative media industries in Texas Tech University's College of Media & Communication, has been awarded funding from the U.S. Fulbright Program to travel to Taiwan to engage in further research on the subject of video games and interactivity.

According to the website, the Fulbright Program is one of several prestigious U.S. Cultural Exchange Programs which offers scholarships to those wanting to do research in a different country to promote the exchange of cultural ideas and research, both critical to promoting cross-cultural understanding.

Though this is his first year as faculty in the College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech University, Bowman has taught overseas numerous times, and has an extensive history of published research on video games and interactivity.

Robert Peaslee, Ph.D., chairperson of the department of journalism & creative media industries, said that Bowman's work ethic is only matched by his unbridled curiosity.

“Aside from a prolific publication history, Dr. Bowman adds an important research trajectory dealing with interactivity – games, augmented reality, virtual reality – that will lead our department and our College into understanding the significant media innovations to come,” he said.

While Bowman has developed a scholarly reputation for his research on video games, he doesn't want to be put in a box or labeled as a video game researcher, and that's partly why he's expanded his research to augmented and virtual realities, the subjects he will be studying during his time abroad.

“I'll be looking at this model I've developed called the “interactivity is demand” model,” he said. “So, I'm studying how the process actually requires a lot out of the user. It requires us to think; it requires us to feel; it requires us to physically interact and there's a certain social element that comes with being attached to the different characters in those environments. My argument is that those four things can't always operate at very high levels. At some point, something has to give.”

Bowman has conducted a substantial amount of research utilizing the state-of-the-art facilities housed in the CoMC Center for Communication Research, which has given him the capacity for research activity that is unmatched by other educational institutions.

“Nick Bowman, for as long as I've known him, is remarkably high energy, and I mean that in the best possible sense,” said Glenn Cummins, Ph.D., director of the Center for Communication Research and and associate dean for research & grants in the College of Media & Communication. “I hate that the Fulbright is going to take him away from here for a semester, but that's just part of it. It's going to lead to such a big payoff once he's back.”