On this page, I've tried to answer the most common questions I get from students, both questions that are specific to San Jose State University, and questions that apply to the general study of art. (Specific questions, I'll try and answer in either the Art FAQ or "Dear Arby" pages.
ALL the classes I tried to register for are full! What do I do?
Can I visit SJSU and the Animation/Illustration Department?
What information should EVERY SJSU student have at their fingertips?
MVP: Most Valuable Person
SJSU Design Secretary, Deborah Wijas (408) 924-4343, can answer almost any question you have about our program. She's also the person who distributes and collects the necessary forms, etc. She is also overworked, underpaid, and very important to your future, so be very nice to her.
The Shrunkenheadman Club
www.shrunkenheadman.com : The student club for the Animation/Illustration Department. A very good resource about what's going on at the school, and a view of what the program is like for prospective students.
Always the best clearinghouse for information students need to know, and also an excellent way to stay motivated, get advice from more advanced students, etc.
Pay your dues, get involved, and "fire it up!"
I'm interested in attending SJSU...where can I get more information?
The best sources are online.
www.sjsu.edu for info about the university.
School of Art and Design for info about the building and it's programs.
The Shrunkenheadman Club for info about current events.
The SJSU Admissions Process and how it works.
Major Forms are your most important single piece of paper while at SJSU.
Course Descriptions will tell you what particular classes are about.
Schedules will tell you what is scheduled when each semester.
The Animation / Illustration Department webpage is also a good general resource.
Who or what is a "Shrunkenheadman?"
The "Shrunkenheadman" name and logo comes from a dried acrylic paint stain on a particular stool in Bunny Carter's classroom that students decided looked like a "shrunken head". The supernatural aura of this stool, like the image of the Madonna appearing on a grilled cheese sandwich, quickly transformed it into the "Seat of Honor" in the classroom denoting a student doing superior work. In 1995, when the SJSU Illustration students formed a club and needed a name, The Shrunkenheadman Club was the natural choice.
What are your office hours for student advising?
Currently, my office hours are set on Mondays and Wednesdays at: 8am-8:30am, 6:20-7:20pm, and 7:20-8:20pm by prior scheduled appointment only. (Note that these times are valid only while the fall and spring semesters are in session.)
I tried to sign up for your class but it was full? Is there any chance I could still add it?
Not very likely. You're welcome to show up and try as 1-2 spots often open up, but there are usually 15-20 people trying to get that spot, so don't bet on it. (Oh, and EVERYONE has a "special" desparate situation: "the University dropped me from all my classes," "I need to graduate this semester," "But I'm a senior and I need 12 units for Financial Aid.")
I hear all those reasons every semester. It doesn't change the fact that I have room for 25 people, have 25 people signed up, and you're # 26. I'm sorry. Complain to the University for having an arcane registration system.
All the classes I tried to register for are full? What do I do?
Be flexible. Look at EVERY class you might need to graduate and consider drastic changes to your planned schedule. (not just the changes that would be convenient.) Add your name to any "lists" of students trying to add as high demand for a particular section (gauged by large "add" lists) may cause a section to be added late. Also, be on the lookout for these added sections. Besides that, I'm sorry, but I would suggest you complain to the University and to the Associated Students (Student Government) as mentioned in the above answer. There really isn't much that a faculty member can do about it. It's a registration, funding, and space issue.
Can I visit SJSU and the Animation/Illustration Department?
Yes. We usually do tours on the third friday of every month during the fall and spring semesters. (These tours are timed to coincide with University tours as well.) Email us and we'll send you more detailed information.
What classes should I take next semester?
Generally if you look at your major form, we recommend you take the classes in the order that they’re numbered, from lowest to highest. Once you get the level of ART 50, 51, and ART 112a we recommend you only schedule two studio classes per semester because of the more intensive workload.
Where do I get a major form, which one is the right one?
Talk to Deborah Wijas in the Design Office. (Rm 121, 408-924-4343) You can also download current major forms here. The major form you need is whichever one was in effect the semester you started at SJSU.
What’s the big deal about the major form?
Your major form is your “guide” to graduation. For this reason, whenever you come to see an advisor, you should have a filled-out, up-to-date, major form with you. By using this form, you can figure out which classes you need for next semester and also estimate how much longer you have until you graduate.
My parents are wondering why this is taking so long.
Commercial Art is a meritocracy. NOBODY cares about your G.P.A., your degree, or how fast you graduated. ALL people care about it is the quality of your skills, and the quality of your portfolio. A student at SJSU can take four studio classes in one semester, but they’re going to learn about half as much, get half the grade, and be half as skilled as a similar student taking those same classes over two semesters. The learning of art skills is only partially about knowledge. It is also necessary to put that knowledge into practice and learn from itand that takes time.
Are there jobs in Animation/Illustration?
Absolutely. Provided you are technically competitive. I like to explain it this wayif a five year old came along who could hit a Roger Clemens curveball 400 ft. with any kind of consistency, he’d immediately be signed to a Major League roster. The same is true in commercial art. I’ve seen many students graduate to mediocre jobs, but they were students with mediocre portfolios. I’ve also seen undergrads get job offers with 70+K annual salaries fresh out of schoolbecause they were qualified. (How many business school undergrads get offers like that fresh out of school?) So if you work hardit’s not about talentyes, there are plenty of jobs.
What do you mean by “upper division” art elective/art history?
“Upper Division” classes are any classes with a course number higher than 100.
(ART 50 = lower division, ART 112 = upper division.)
I need to get this blue “advisement” paper signed . . . what's that about?
This is just how the University ensures that you see an advisor, know how to contact us, know what we look like, where our office is, etc. so that when you have questions, you know how to get them answered and who to talk to.
What is an “Approved” elective?
The department maintains a list of “approved” electives that we recommend as suitable or useful electives for students in our major. These elective choices will be accepted without question.