NU, Columbia but not DPU on THR’s best schools list

For the past several years, Chicago filmmakers puffed with pride as three of its area film schools were rated among the 25 best by The Hollywood Reporter.

But its 2015 list, however, was deflating. While Columbia College had bounced up to number 15, from 20 in 2014 and Northwestern University dropped from 14 to 23, DePaul University was MIA. 

DePaul first appeared on THR’s 2013 list as number 21, jumping up to 17 in 2014, just a few notches below NU’s 14 spot while Columbia College had dipped to number 20.

THR’s criteria for choosing the top 25 is very thorough, the magazine explained.  It starts with editors and experts touring campuses, meeting with deans and educators, talking to academic and industry experts and observers, and interviewing scores of alums.

“Multiple factors were weighed during the assigning of these rankings — prestige, practical experience, inspirational teachers, potential career connections and access to cutting-edge equipment (like the VR cameras USC recently acquired),” the magazine said.

So after why after several years of inclusion was DePaul scratched from the listings?

DePaul’s dean has not as yet responded to the Reel’s request for comment. But a faculty member said that the evaluators had been told “great things about the faculty,” and suggested they knew the school had not hired any new faculty to keep up with the new higher enrollment, as one reason for elimination.

Ever since The Hollywood Reporter began ranking America’s best film schools, Northwestern, a list staple from the start, Columbia College and DePaul, were reliably among the rankings of great institutions.

In 2011, when the Hollywood Reporter inaugurated the world’s best list, Northwestern was slotted at 24. The next year, when THR restricted film schools to the US, Northwestern evaporated and Columbia College debuted as 21.

In 2013, Northwestern returned at 13, with Columbia College on its heels at 14 and DePaul debuted as 21 on the list.

Chicago hit the trifecta on THR’s 2014 list: Northwestern at 14, DePaul, 17 and Columbia College, 20.

Lists are fickle, though, while area schools stand strong, so there’s no doubt that DePaul will return next year and at an even high ranking.