CSUN ranked with top animation schools in nation

The CSUN animation program’s precise student training with digital art and industry-experienced faculty has earned the program recognition as one of the nation’s best animation schools.

The Animation Career Review‘s 2015 analysis has named CSUN one of the nation’s top animation schools.

The online career resource for aspiring animation and digital artists listed CSUN No. 15 among the top 50 best public schools in the U.S. The site also ranked CSUN No. 17 among the top 25 animation colleges in the West Coast.

“I think that [the ranking] is important for students that are interested in finding schools to pursue animation,” Robert St. Pierre, assistant professor of art said. “We are happy about that [the ranking]. I think we’re not at the top position right now, but I think in a few years we are able to get ourselves up.”

The animation career website ranked each school based on the university’s academic reputation, faculty, values as it relates to tuition and geographic location. The site considered hundreds of schools in the U.S. that offered programs geared towards game design and animation.

Chapman University, Loyola Marymount University, UCLA and USC were other schools that ranked the list.

“We are a program that provides the students with the insight that they need to have to get into the industry,” St. Pierre said.

According to the Animation Career Review site, the location of a university matters in the fields of game design and animation, more than in other professions.

The CSUN Department of Art’s academic site says the animation program allows students to get internships with DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, Disney and Warner Bros.

“Los Angeles is the biggest home for animation,” St. Pierre said. “We have the biggest and the best studios as a conglomerate…and in this area. I think having access to those studios is important.”

St. Pierre said animation is being created all around the world, but because of CSUN’s close proximity to studios in L.A., students are close to the epicenter for animation.

CSUN offers courses that train students in two-dimensional and three-dimensional animation design, visual effects and video game animation.

St. Pierre has over 20 years of experience and expertise with the 3-D industry. He said his colleague, Professor Mark Farquhar, has over 20 years of experience and specializes in 2-D animation design.

“I would expect that it continues to grow in stature as the department has just hired a third full-time faculty member to broaden and strengthen the area and their course offerings,” Edward Alfano, professor of art and department chair wrote in an email.

Caleb Owens, the new full-time hire, has worked in the industry with game animation.

“Many faculty members and departments on campus are doing some amazing things,” Alfano wrote. “But promoting and marketing these success stories and accomplishments is not their highest priority, rather it is serving their students in the best way possible.