Visiting Professor Spotlight: Professor Ben Weidner

  • An image of Professor Benjamin Weidner, taken from the chest up. He is smiling. There is text on the left side of his face that reads, "New Visiting Professor" and text on his right that reads, "Professor Ben Weidner".

Visiting Professor Spotlight: Professor Ben Weidner

New Visiting Professor: Professor Ben Weidner

This fall, the CS department had two new professors join our faculty; the second of which being Professor Benjamin Weidner. An alumni from Rowan himself, Professor Weidner wishes to help establish game development courses here at Rowan, and help aspiring devs find their footing. 

Professor Weidner is a 2020 Rowan graduate. He is a visiting professor here at the university. He has a B.A in Computing & Informatics, as well as M.S. in Computer Science. During his time at Rowan, he did research within the department, focusing on immersive analytics– research using virtual reality and hand-tracking technology for data analysis and data visualization. He's from the South Jersey area, growing up right in West Deptford. Besides his interest in game development, he’s got some creative muscles– he enjoys writing, drawing, and making music. Professor Weidner also enjoys watching anime.

This semester, Professor Weidner is teaching 2 intro courses for C++, Computer Science & Programming, and Principles of Data Structures in C++ . He’s also teaching the Programming Languages course at the Graduate level. Professor Weidner will start teaching Game Development this Spring semester. Professor Weidner’s biggest passion is video game development, and he wishes to teach game dev to Rowan students. 

Professor Weidner knows firsthand the trials and tribulations of the job industry, and can better relate to student struggles. “A lot of students might be nervous to get into game development because it’s not a very stable job market,” says Weidner. “But I want students to know that even if you don't want to actually get into the gaming industry, game dev skills can be used in other places. For example, you can get interviews with places like the Federal Aviation Administration, who could want you to build an air traffic control terminal. But, making games is possible, 100%,” says Weidner. “I want students to be able to have confidence when it comes to game engines. I don’t want to discourage students from making games– but I want students to be aware that you can transfer those skill sets elsewhere.”

Professor Weidner is also an advisor for Rowan’s ACM chapter, particularly helping out with the game dev committee. He’s a resource for students with questions, able to guide where direction is needed. “Even if it is selfishly motivated– because I also want to make video games– I genuinely want to see students making their own games because I did not have that when I was in college,” says Weidner.

In Professor Weidner’s class, a successful student is a student that he knows the face and the name of. Weidner wants students to ask questions, and get involved– you don’t have to be the smartest, or most skilled, but you should be the most dedicated and hungriest to learn. Professor Weidner positions himself as a teacher who wants to work with students, rather than against them. “I don’t wanna say I’m lenient or easy, but I try to think as much as a student as I can because I literally was just a student last year,” says Weidner. He wants to eliminate unnecessary barriers to teaching, so students can truly learn without worrying about the red tape that comes with academia.

Overall, Professor Weidner is thrilled to be teaching here at Rowan, and is even more excited to start teaching game development next spring. We here at the CS department give him our warmest welcomes! 

Written by Kiley Parker | Posted 12.12.23