UW-Stout: Game design, animation programs best in state, among best in nation

Menomonie, Wis. — Eleanore Falck is ready to take her “game” to the next level, thanks in part to her education in a program at University of Wisconsin-Stout that once again has been ranked among the best in the U.S.

Falck, of Ashland, a senior in game design and development-art, will move to Boston after graduating in May to work for the Molasses Flood, a CD Projekt Studio. She will be a junior environment artist for the national game developer, which recently released Drake Hollow.

“I am proud of how hard I worked to quickly improve my skills and get a job I’m really excited about in a highly competitive field,” Falck said.

Success on a national level is nothing new for game design and development-art program graduates, as well as for those in the animation and digital media program. 

New rankings place both of the Bachelor of Fine Arts undergraduate programs, as well as the game design and development concentration of the affiliated Bachelor of Science computer science program, in select company, where they have been for the past decade.

Princeton Review ranked the game design and development-art program:

  • No. 7 nationally among public universities and colleges
  • No. 26 overall in the U.S.
  • No. 1 in Wisconsin

Princeton Review, an educational services company, surveyed 150 colleges and universities with game design majors, including schools in Canada and Europe.

Animation Career Review ranked the animation and digital media program:

  • No. 37 nationally among public universities and colleges
  • No. 17 in the Midwest
  • No. 1 in Wisconsin

The 10th annual rankings by Animation Career Review considered programs at 125 schools.

“Despite the challenges and disruptions caused by the pandemic the past two years, our programs continued to maintain our high standards and national profile as a top school in these fields,” said Associate Professor Andrew Williams, director of the BFA game design and development-art program.

Associate Professor Kim Loken is director of the animation and digital media program as well as an instructor in game design and development-art. “The rankings affirm the strength in how we’ve structured the curriculum, wherein students in both programs share core courses, benefiting from a larger pool of faculty, while also gaining depth from dedicated course sequences in their respective areas. This creates a robust community for the students too,” she said.

Animation Career Review also ranked game design programs, with UW-Stout coming in No. 8 in the Midwest, No. 19 nationally among public schools, No. 38 nationally overall and No. 1 in Wisconsin.

Falck said the School of Art and Design at UW-Stout fed her creative abilities by providing a broad-based curriculum and opportunities to network with professionals.

“Stout taught me the foundation of a variety of skills so I was able to discover what I liked the most and focus on those skills. I also had opportunities to meet current industry professionals and practice public speaking by being part of the International Game Developers Association,” Falck said.

When she decided to focus on 3D environment art, she received help from Assistant Professor Joshua Seaver to create an independent study course and dig in deeper to the subject, she said. “It was incredibly beneficial to me,” she said.

UW-Stout’s School of Art and Design has six BFA programs, including graphic design and interactive mediaindustrial designinterior design and studio art. It offers two Bachelor of Science degrees in arts administration and entrepreneurship and video production and a Master of Fine Arts in design.

UW-Stout’s game design and animation lab spaces include a state-of-the-art Vicon Motion Capture Studio.

UW-Stout is Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, with a focus on applied learning, collaboration with business and industry, and career outcomes.