By Arielle Follett

Algonquin’s animation program has been honoured as the 16th best in the world by the Animation Career Review.

The program also ranked as fourth best in Canada.

“It’s not something we pay a lot of attention to but it’s definitely nice to see,” said co-program co-ordinator, Paul West. “A few years ago we heard about it and saw we were hanging out around 32 or 38 and then we looked again this year and noticed that we had jumped to 16.”

West credits Algonquin’s high rating to the quality of the staff and curriculum, but most importantly the student production.

Curriculum in the program is all based on what the studios are looking for in potential hires. The professors have all worked for major studios as well as local studios with which they still have close ties.

Thanks to this coupled with the faculty’s high expectations, students hit the ground running when they leave the program and start working.

Jerry Popowich, an Algonquin graduate, is chief creative officer and executive vice president of Mercury Filmworks in Ottawa and agrees fully.

“(The program) showed me that there are many facets to animation and that to give yourself a better chance of staying employed in the industry, you should try and be a bit of a jack of all trades,” he said.

Popowich, algongside Mercury Filmworks, also hires many Algonquin graduates because of the curriculum he knows firsthand.

“Algonquin grads are sought after,” Popowich said. “They are always some of our best animators.”

Professors in the program expect more from their students than the typical teacher.

“We aren’t looking for class-quality work from our students,” said West. “We’re looking for bang-on, studio-quality work and that’s what we’re getting from them. Our standards keep going up and our students keep hitting them.”