Abigail Currie and Scott Lanning both knew what they wanted to study when they made the decision to attend Central Michigan University.
Currie, a freshman from Midland, and Lanning, a junior from Newaygo, both wanted to major in gaming and entertainment management, but they didn’t know they would end up being the only two students signed to the major.
“I explain to people that I’m in gaming because I’m excited about it,” Currie said. “There’s nobody to really talk to about the major; you just have to figure things out.”
The major has since been eliminated from the curriculum, but Currie and Lanning have the chance to complete their degrees.
Currie found the major through a Business 100 class she dual-enrolled in while she was in high school. She was able to sign her major just in time.
“A girl was talking about how the major was going to be canceled,” Currie said. “I didn’t even know it existed, so I immediately went to go sign.”
A counselor at Lanning’s high school informed him of the major and initially encouraged him to go to University of Nevada, Las Vegas to study. Facing high out-of-state tuition rates, Lanning made the decision to study at CMU.
The university has an agreement in place with UNLV for the students in the major to study at CMU and then go to Las Vegas for a semester where they take their major concentration courses, saving students from paying out-of-state tuition for their general education requirements. Once they finish at UNLV, Currie and Lanning will graduate with a CMU degree.
While the two are still in Michigan, they have been getting needed experience in the field.
Lanning worked at FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek and at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant before leaving work to focus on school.
Currie was recently hired at Soaring Eagle to work bingo.
Gary Gagnon, adviser for the major, said no other students will be able to enroll.
“We still have students who have signed and we are going to finish them,” Gagnon said. “But we are not offering this major, we are not recruiting anyone.”
Although students will be saving money by completing a large portion of their education at CMU, they will still have to pay all the expenses for a semester at UNLV.
“It’s a very expensive institution,” Gagnon said. “The students have to pay out-of-state tuition as well so it becomes a very expensive degree.”
Difficulty finding a job after graduation is another reason for low enrollment in the program.
“Because it’s an occupational field, if you have a degree in gaming management but you don’t have any experience, there are no jobs available for you,” Gagnon said. “We have had successful students in this degree, but almost all of them were people who started at the Soaring Eagle Casino who worked as blackjack dealers or table game dealers who had lots of experience, and while they were getting that experience, they knocked off their degree.”
Lanning and Currie still have a few more years to complete the first parts of their education at CMU. For Currie, it’s a time to get more work experience.