Champlain Named a Top School for Documentary Filmmaking

This spring, the Broadcast Education Association announced its top schools for broadcast media, ranking Champlain College’s Broadcast Media Production major at number 13 out of 100 for best documentary filmmaking.

The annual ranking is based on students’ success over the past five years at the BEA Festival of Media Arts, an international media competition that has received nearly 6,000 submissions from over 300 member institutions around the world in the last five years alone. 

In addition to being ranked 13th for documentary filmmaking, Champlain ranked 85th overall.

The past five years of success for Broadcast Media Production students at the annual Festival of Media earned Champlain College a spot on the Broadcast Education Association’s annual ranking of top schools, coming in at number 13 out of 100 for Top Documentary Programs in 2022.

Submissions go through a blind-juried process, including multiple rounds of evaluation by academic and professional experts all over the country. According to the BEA, only the top 20 percent of entries are considered for awards. This group is then judged for five different award levels: First Place, Second Place, Third Place, Award of Excellence, and Best of Festival.

But what do these numbers mean for Champlain?

According to Van Dora Williams, Broadcast Media Production program director and assistant dean for administration, this ranking verifies Champlain’s ability to produce top quality and award-winning broadcast professionals.

“It confirms publicly what the Broadcast faculty know privately—that our students are mastering the ability to identify and create powerful stories that have an impact,” Williams said. “This ranking confirms that the program’s approach to teaching storytelling is the right approach.”

Williams explained that Champlain is often perceived as a “small private college,” but this ranking proves that students are creating quality work that competes with larger public and private universities. 

“We might be one of the smallest states in the country, but the College and the Broadcast program are producing professionals who know how to tell the complex stories that get attention,” Williams said.

Over the past five years, the Broadcast program has evolved, adding more production courses, increasing community engagement in service learning, and addressing current industry challenges through breadth and depth of its curriculum.

Through these expansions and changes, students are encouraged to design projects that are fun, compelling and meaningful to them. As a result, they’ve been creating a variety of work under the broadcast umbrella, covering numerous topics of interest, including: growing concern about “fake news,” stolen identities on social media, schools being impacted by the state’s Act 46, environmental concerns about salt on roads during the winter, and much more. 

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