Receives $3.2 million grant from U.S. Dept. of Education
BURBANK, Calif., Oct. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Woodbury University has been awarded a $3.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Hispanic-Serving Institutions program to establish new bachelor's degree programs in digital film making, media technology, and game design. Internship and career services programs also will be developed over the course of the five-year grant to support student success.
The fourth largest industry in Los Angeles County, entertainment is a prominent economic force with employment and increasing advancement for those who master its technological complexity. The three new majors will move Woodbury's School of Media, Culture & Design beyond its traditional, fine arts-based programs in animation and graphic arts and into entertainment driven by and dependent on technology.
"For most of us, entertainment means fun, but in Los Angeles, it represents economic opportunity. This grant will help Woodbury serve a greater number of Hispanic students who know that a college education is the key to transforming their lives," says Kenneth R. Nielsen, Ed.D., president, Woodbury University.
Woodbury will launch the new digital film making program beginning later this year, with current Woodbury students and community college transfer students who are ready for their third year of study; the game design and media technology degree programs will follow with a similar plan in 2012. Incoming freshmen will be able to enroll in the digital film making program in 2011-2012 and game design or media technology programs in 2013-2014.
The new degree programs meet both student and employer demands. During the grant planning process, a representative of one famed movie studio reported that most job applicants who graduated from traditional animation or graphics programs do not have the technical skills now considered essential by employers. For example, for every 100 story/visual development artists or animators working on a feature film, there are three times as many technical directors who possess artistic ability and an understanding of animation, drawing, design, and color, as well as the ability to work with the complex technological underpinnings of production processes.
Congressman Brad Sherman, D-Sherman Oaks, urged U.S. Department of Education funding for the project.
"This grant is important in ensuring educational access for students in minority communities and encouraging the economic vitality of the entire region. I commend Woodbury for its focus on teaching its students the relevant skills necessary to succeed in today's competitive workplace. Educating students in the rapidly advancing field of digital entertainment and harnessing the creativity of Woodbury's student body in particular, strikes me as worthwhile goals for these federal funds," says Congressman Sherman.
Designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic Serving Institution, Woodbury has a long history of recruiting and serving first-generation, low-income, and minority students. The Education Trust singled out Woodbury in an August 2010 national report as a school where Latino students are thriving, noting that 31 percent of Woodbury students are Hispanic and that the graduation rate for this population is 62 percent—well above the 47% rate for Latino students nationally.
"Woodbury is willing to invest in and nurture promising students, filling a need that is increasingly going unmet as state-supported institutions are being forced to limit enrollment and increase class sizes," adds Dr. Nielsen.
Founded in 1884, Woodbury University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California. Woodbury offers bachelor's degrees from the School of Architecture, School of Business, School of Media, Culture & Design, and Institute of Transdisciplinary Studies, along with an MBA program, Master of Architecture, Master of Architecture in Real Estate Development, and Master of Organizational Leadership. A San Diego campus offers bachelor of architecture and Master of Architecture in Real Estate Development degrees.
SOURCE Woodbury University