Ringling College of Art and Design: Inculcating Creativity in Technology

Ringling College of Art and Design

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In pursuit of exploring distinctive career options, more students are turning towards art and design streams as one of the foremost fields of study today. Educational institutes around the world are experimenting with their curriculums to garner the growing demands of the two mainstreams and bring out their perfect blend through various study programs. Inculcating creativity in its prodigious curriculum, Ringling College of Art and Design remains a leader at the forefront of the future of art and design.

Since its establishment in 1931, Ringling College has been cultivating the creative spirit within students from across the globe. It is the most technologically advanced art college around the world and has pioneered as a community that embraces and values creativity and creative individuals. Its aesthetically pleasing infrastructure is spread over an area of over 50 acres and is home to over 1600 students from 45 different states and 60 countries and a pedestrian-friendly campus where 75% of the students reside. 

Inclusive Educational Beliefs

Recognizing the importance and significance of artists and designers in society, Ringling College provides programs and degrees that groom students as discerning visual thinkers and ethical practitioners in their opted fields of arts, design, or other creative pursuits. As a private and fully accredited college, it comprises an award-winning, professional faculty in their field and provides world-class facilities and experiential opportunities for learning and growth.

The College harbors the world’s most talented emerging artists, designers, and scholars and provides them with abundant resources to pursue their talents. It constitutes people beholding diverse beliefs and backgrounds from every corner of the world and firmly believes in elevating, supporting, and empowering all members of its community to celebrate their differences in an environment of trust and respect.

Distinctive Curriculum

Ringling College offers a structured and distinctive curriculum that proactively caters to the constantly evolving fields of design and industries. The College was the first to develop a major in Computer Animation in the ’90s, the first business program within an art college, and the first BFA in Virtual Reality Development. The College’s proactive anticipation and response to the constant changes is reflected in its preeminent curriculum and latest programs such as the Branded Entertainment track within the Film program, the Entertainment Design BFA program, Business of Art and Design BA program, and the Virtual Reality Development BFA major.

Furthermore, the College offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in eleven disciplines, namely Computer Animation, Creative Writing, Entertainment Design, Film, Fine Arts, Game Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, Motion Design, Photography and Imaging, and Virtual Reality Development and Bachelor of Arts degree in two disciplines, namely Business of Art and Design, Visual Studies. Ringling College’s rigorous curriculum employs the studio model of teaching and immediately engages students through a comprehensive program that is specific to the major and focused on the liberal arts.

Ringling’s academic programs are consistently ranked at or near the top nationally and internationally. For example, the Computer Animation program ranked #1 in the world by Animation Career Review; the Game Art program ranked #3 game design program worldwide and #1 nationally (The Rookies); The Hollywood Reporter named Ringling College as a Top 25 Film School; Motion Design program named #2 motion graphics school worldwide. And the accolades go on and on.

Pioneering Under Visionary Leadership

As the president of Ringling College, Dr. Larry R. Thompson has been spearheading the College in all its domains since July 1999. Dr. Thompson lays heavy emphasis on the need for businesses to embrace creativity in the 21st century global economy.

In his pioneering and multifaceted educational journey, Dr. Thompson has fulfilled various roles and responsibilities. He currently serves on the boards of many local arts and civic organizations, including the Chair of the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and the Sarasota Arts and Cultural Alliance. He has also received numerous academic and humanitarian awards for his service as a visionary leader and educator.

Throughout his journey as the Ringling College President, Dr. Thompson has spearheaded learning initiatives—including unique initiatives such as INDEX (Industry Experience) for experiential learning, grown the campus population and constructed many new residential and state-of-the-art academic facilities, led the effort creating the contemporary Sarasota Art Museum of Ringling College of Art and Design, and so much more.

Expansive Educational Initiatives

The College is committed to preparing its students for careers as creative leaders. One of the College’s mantras is: “Ringling College: destroying the myth of the starving artist.” To accomplish this, the College has incorporated unique initiatives like the INDEX (Industry Experience at Ringling College) under Dr. Thompson’s guidance. INDEX is a holistic approach by the College to ensure that every student is provided the opportunity to work on a real-world project with a real-world client prior to graduation.

This experiential education program allows students to be connected with leading brands and clients to develop creative solutions for business challenges. INDEX mirrors the most successful real-world studios and organizations by bringing together multiple disciplines to blend artistry with emerging techniques, seamlessly integrate design, storytelling, and technology, and produce work that is driven by strategy and supported by style.

Leveraging the Potentials of Technology

Deeply committed to being the most technically advanced art college, Ringling College mirrors the technology and environments of the best creative industries. It offers the best-in-class software and hardware for learning, preparing students to be practice-ready upon graduation. This includes high-end PC and Mac computer labs with Cintiq tablets. Upon enrollment, every student is provided with a state-of-the-art laptop loaded with all software needed for their success. The campus boasts a dedicated data center that houses a sophisticated IT infrastructure and render farm equivalent to that of major commercial studios, such as Pixar and Disney.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the College offered safe and in-person learning for students who could be on campus, along with remote access learning and hybrid modalities. Its elite access protocols enabled students as far away as China and South Korea to access high-end workstations in the College’s advanced computer labs and use those same resources while being off-campus. The College is excited to welcome students back to campus in the fall of 2021 with utmost preparation for a safe and exceptional education.

Plethora of Opportunities

The Ringling College teaching model ultimately shapes students into highly employable and globally aware artists, designers, and creative leaders. The College offers numerous scholarship opportunities to the students, such as merit scholarships, Presidential scholarships, donor scholarships, and grants. It also awards all state and federal aid, including for example Florida Bright Futures, EASE, and Pell Grants, etc. The students are also offered access to Career Services throughout their educational career, and after graduation for their entire lifetime. The College has more than 100 top industry recruiters who visit the College every year to hire students.

Embracing New Changes

The College is relentlessly advocating for creativity in all sectors and uncompromising in its values of diversity, equality, and inclusion. It encourages students to follow their passion and always remain open-minded. As the world is constantly evolving, students will need to be adaptable and will be offered a plethora of career options throughout their lifetime. Developing their creative skills through a Ringling College education will enable them to succeed in this ever-changing environment. With the ascent of Artificial Intelligence, various logic-based skills can be done by machines and technology. Although AI can get tasks done quickly, AI cannot be creative.  Ringling College leads with an educational system that is less focused on STEM and more on STEAM—Science Technology Engineering Arts Math—because it believes that creativity (the A) is the most important skill set needed in the future.

Ringling College of Art and Design

Read Full Magazine: The 10 Renowned Arts and Commerce Colleges, 2021.



The Educational landscape is changing dynamically. The new generation of students thus faces the daunting task to choose an institution that would guide them towards a lucrative career.

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