Dave Novak


Dave Novak began his teaching career at MCAD as an adjunct 2001 and became a ranked full-time faculty member in 2005. He has taught a full range of 3D animation classes, matching the curricula to industry standards. He also taught the Foundation Media 1 class and helped develop a series of experimental animation workshops.

Dave created more than seventy instructional videos to convert his 3D animation classes into a hybrid classroom. An innovator with technology, he used the rapid prototyper, motion control rig, and a digital camera to make stop-motion time-lapse films, particularly seen in his animated films Ice Man and The Walking Season, a stop-motion animation about the change of seasons along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. His work was featured in landmark productions such as Crash Dummies, the first half-hour computer-generated television show. Dave received an Emmy certificate of honor for his work on the Rolie Polie Olie animated series.

Additionally, he was an animation director of visual effects for Crash & Sues, a nationally respected post-production facility. Through his membership in SIGGRAPH, he connected the college to nationally known visiting artists. A member of the Minnesota Association of Songwriters and the Nashville Songwriter Association International, Dave is also a gifted guitarist and songwriter. He attended Ohio State University’s famed Computer Graphic Research Group, where he earned an MA in art education. He received his BFA in photography from MCAD.

See what Dave's colleagues, students, and friends have to say about his exceptional contributions to MCAD.

Karen Wirth

Congratulations, Dave. Throughout your time at MCAD, your commitment to students and devotion to teaching has been so evident. From the many videos you produced to help students learn, to the many one-on-one tutorials during office hours, you have helped so many students learn the art of animation, as well as building a community. May the next phase of your life be filled with music and happiness.

Dana LeMoine

Thank you for your dedication to MCAD!

Autumn Amadou-Blegen

It has been a pleasure working with you! I wish you the best for the future.

Tom DeBiaso

Dave has always been one of the core faculty in the animation program and the thought of him not being at MCAD is hard to envision. He has been an excellent teacher with devoted students and a great love for the college. Dave always stepped up whenever needed and I learned a lot working with him in the graduate program and teaching together. Smart and insightful on reviews and juries, his dark humor at the right moment always brought clarity and great fun to the situation that often got us across the finish line. Dave has a clear vision about what the students needed and the importance of professional preparation. 

As a mentor in the graduate program he was very generous with his time, insights, and support for the program and his mentees. 

I always respected his creative voice and loved the opportunity we had to work on one of David Rathman’s films together. Best of luck my friend!

Arlene Birt

Congratulations, Dave!

Shannon Gilley

Dave my friend, few people have had more influence on my career than you have. I still distinctly remember 20-year-old me having to get over my nervousness to introduce myself to you at that Alias users group event so many years ago. I'm eternally grateful for the shot you gave me and how much I learned working with you. It's been great teaching alongside you at MCAD and I'll definitely miss collaborating on classes and hearing your stories. Your wisdom and generosity are indelible and I'm so thankful. I have no doubt you'll find ways to enjoy your retirement!

Jody Williams

You may not remember my most vivid interaction with you when I bumped into your mini with my kick-ass Roadmaster at the corner of Stevens and 26th. It was Friday the 13, December 2013. Well, maybe you do remember the non-fender-bender, but you would have no idea of what I was going through that day, and how relieved I was when it was you who got out of the car so we could inspect your bumper. You sent me off with a simple "no biggie, Jody. Just go home." That was my last time leaving MCAD before undergoing major surgery and starting on a series of cancer treatments that continues today. I am on a very promising clinical trial now that involves only taking two pills nightly, but my memories of that horrid December are still very detailed and anxiety-laden. It was only through people like you that I have survived without losing my mind. So thank you for that, and for all you have done for the students and faculty at MCAD. My studio assistant, Dale Kennedy, who knows you from years ago, joins me virtually in wishing you all good things in the near and far future.

Tom Milbrath

Dave, good luck with retirement!

Dave Novak with students and faculty

Katie Nelson

Dave's passion for student success has always been an infectious quality that has left a lasting impression on myself and many alumni who have worked with him. He encouraged us to do our best. I’ll miss his conversation in the office and his spark at the faculty meetings and when he’d see me in the halls and sing my name to the tune off Davey Crockett. I have many fond memories of gatherings at the Black Forest where we could celebrate our victories and commiserate our failures. Together. Dave created community and was always there to cheer us on!