On the Road with Betsy Woolf – Chapman University

I enjoy return visits to colleges and universities to discover what’s new and what’s stayed the same. While in California this past summer, I paid another visit to Chapman University in Orange, California, south of Los Angeles.

My first stop was Dodge College, Chapman’s film school where 1300 undergraduate students study broadcast journalism and documentary, creative producing, animation and visual effects, film production, film studies, screenwriting, screen acting, television writing and production and also public relations & advertising. Its acceptance rate varies from around 15 to 20%. The college also hosts 200 graduate students.

Since my last visit, Dodge has added a separate digital media art building and a second studio building, Chapman Studios West. All three film buildings are no more than one block from each other. Under construction is a new residential building for students. Dodge boasts a 14 to 1 student to faculty ratio and eight sound stages with a ninth on the way. Hardware and software, the lifeblood of any film program, are updated on a semester basis. There’s also a new Alumni Mentor Program in which 3rd and 4th year Dodge College undergraduate and graduate students  are matched with industry professionals who serves as a role models and provide guidance and direction.

As for the university itself, the residential campus is a few blocks away, and it features Schools of Business & Economics, Communication, and Engineering, as well as Colleges of Educational Studies, Health and Behavioral Sciences, and Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. The university operates on a 4-1-4 calendar with the middle term, or inner term, not mandatory but popular among students. The general education system at Chapman is based on Inquiries: Artistic Inquiry, Quantitative Inquiry, Values/Ethics Inquiry, Written Inquiry, etc. Along with nine libraries with a dedicated research librarian for each is the new Keck Center for Science and Technology, scheduled to open this fall. Undergraduate research is popular.

Where do students go for fun? Chapman’s Southern California location means that students are close to Anaheim (the home of Disneyland), and the beach towns of Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.