There is considerable literature on what is wrong with the U.S. News
methodologies for rating academic quality. Much of it has to do with the
methodology's blindness to the pluralism of approaches and specializations
characterizes American higher education. My own informal method for evaluating
the quality of an academic program in film or any other field is to look at
work of recent graduates. For film, one can fairly easily consult the track
record of film festival awards accrued by the school's recent graduates.
Festival and school websites are good sources for such information. Since
festivals typically award in various categories, this method enables the
comparison of apples with apples, oranges with oranges.

-Henry Breitrose

At 12:00 AM 8/18/99 -0500, you wrote:
>There is one message totalling 114 lines in this issue.
>Topics of the day:
>  1. need info on film schools
>For past messages, visit the Screen-L Archives:
>Date:    Tue, 17 Aug 1999 02:23:34 -0700
>From:    Mark Langer <"mlanger@ccs"@CCS.CARLETON.CA>
>Subject: Re: need info on film schools
>On Sun, 15 Aug 1999, RUBEN GARCIA-LOUREDA DIAZ wrote:
>> HI,
>> the Magazine "US NEWS" (
>> publishes the following ranking of Film Universities. I hope this helps.
>> ,-)
>Lists of this sort should be approached with extreme caution.  Can a
>ranking difference based on the distinction between a 4.5 and a 4.4 be
>taken seriously?  Upon what is the ranking of a school's reputation based?
>And does reputation depend on present quality, or something else?  What
>determines quality? Who is being surveyed to determine the schools'
>reputations?  What kind of research have those surveyed done on the
>variety and quality of film programs?  How much does a school's reputation
>depend on film, and how much on other fine arts? Somehow, I find it hard
>to believe that U.S. News and World Report has a better idea of where the
>best film schools are than professionals in the field.  Perhaps it is
>time for a Screen-L poll on the top film schools? :-)
>I also find it absurd that one school would be rated better than another
>on an absolute score.  Most of us know that different schools have
>different strengths or specializations.  What a student might want
>from a particular school might differ in no small measure from the
>school's actual virtues.  For example, while Columbia University might
>rank high in terms of certain areas within filmmaking, a student who is
>interested in scholarship would not be particularly well served there.
>(I'm picking Columbia because I am an alumnus, and don't want to be flamed
>for bias.) Yet many of the top schools for more academic pursuits
>(Pittsburgh, Iowa, etc.) don't even make the list.
>In terms of production, one also has to question the selection criteria.
>To take one example, the top North American school for studying animation
>production doesn't even make this list, and several high ranked American
>animation programs are nowhere to be found here.  Similarly, if a student
>is interested in new media, documentary, etc., just picking from the top
>of the list might not be the smartest strategy.  But does U.S. News and
>World Report inform the consumer of this?  I somehow doubt it.
>Mark Langer
>>   Search this section or the entire site.
>> Film - Master of Fine Arts (1997)
>> Top Schools | Methodology | FAQ | Back to the Arts
>> Rank/School Average reputation score (5 = highest)
>> 1. New York University  4.5
>> 1. University of Southern California  4.5
>> 3. University of California­Los Angeles  4.4
>> 4. American Film Institute (CA) 4.1
>> 5. California Institute of the Arts  4.0
>> 6. Columbia University (NY) 3.7
>> 7. School of the Art Institute of Chicago  3.6
>> 7. University of Texas­Austin  3.6
>> 9. Florida State University  3.5
>> 9. Northwestern University (IL) 3.5
>> 9. Temple University (PA) 3.5
>> 12. Rochester Institute of Technology (NY) 3.3
>> 12. San Francisco Art Institute 3.3
>> 12. University of California­San Diego  3.3
>> 15. San Francisco State University 3.1
>> 15. University of Wisconsin­Milwaukee 3.1
>> 17. Ohio University 3.0
>> 17. Southern Illinois University­Carbondale 3.0
>> 17. Syracuse University (NY) 3.0
>> © U.S.News & World Report Inc. All rights reserved.
>> Disclaimer | Privacy Policy
>> At 16:58 12/08/99 +0200, Belandean ----- wrote:
>> >I am very interested in this line of discussion, but I would like to know
>> >more about the programs available for film theory and/or history. I am
>> >currently a graduate student (in English, but I have discovered film
and am
>> >concentrating my study in film theory) and I am seriously considering
>> >continuing on to a doctoral program. I love film and would love to
spend my
>> >life teaching film theory. But, as everyone knows, the job market for
>> >with an English/Literature degree is not the best. I am curious about the
>> >opinions of those on the list who are teaching film-- is it worth the
>> >to continue on?
>> >D. Olson
>> >Central Washington Univ.
>> >
>> Ruben Garcia-Loureda Diaz
>> [log in to unmask]
>> ----
>> Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
>> University of Alabama:
>End of SCREEN-L Digest - 16 Aug 1999 to 17 Aug 1999 (#1999-109)
Henry Breitrose, Professor
Department of Communication
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-2050 USA
Tel: +1-650-723-4700
Fax: +1-650-725-2472 

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