On accreditation, degrees, etc.

On accreditation, degrees etc., from the Executive Director Tom Hart:

I’m convinced that a degree in cartooning does not do anything that an excellent education in cartooning does not, except drive up cost and enable you to convince faceless bureaucracies later that you can teach for them.

Please trust that we want to enable you to impress those faceless bureaucracies, but our immediate goal is giving you a quality well-rounded education that enables you to be smart, critical, creative, dedicated and talented in this medium.

Building the reputation of this school for a graduate’s benefit is on the short-term to-do list. Figuring our way through the bureaucracies that enable us to do that is more of a mid-range goal.

Additionally, we completely respect the need for transferable undregrad or graduate credits and we are working on this issue currently.

Regarding the industry, the country, the economy, work and other situations that college degrees have traditionally been factored into, we can speak to a few items from first hand experience:

  1. The quality of your portfolio, abilities and reliability is what gets you work in the real world.
  2. That work may involve all or some of the skills you learn while studying Sequential Art. In 10 years of teaching at the university level, I have seen a few stars born, but I have seen many people go into creative jobs for which they were prepared. Storytelling (visual or otherwise) is everywhere, and its skills are needed in advertising, marketing, art direction, entertainment, journalism; anywhere a message needs to be communicated.
  3. The marketability of your style, work and/or subject matter will determine whether your self-generated works are published and successful in the publishing market. That is different (though possibly a subset) of being an outstanding artist in your field.
  4. Ultimately we believe in the dream that the arts and creative pursuits give us the tools to become more human. The arts ground us in the human, connect us to the eternal and allow us to build empathy, to deepen communication and to open our senses. We teach these skills.

As a side note, many successful, driven people without traditional formal education (a short list of people of famous college drop-outs would probably begin with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs) get their training from mentorship and from taking charge of their own education, learning on the fly and putting themselves in rooms and positions with people in their field. SAW is designed to be a part of this process first and foremost.

Please note that this reflects the opinion of the Executive Director and is not necessarily the official SAW position.