Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts

The University of New Haven's Board of Governors has decided, effective at the end of the academic year in May 2019, to discontinue the University's degree-granting academic offerings on the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts campus in Old Lyme.

We know that this decision comes as a shock, and we especially regret that we are sharing this news so close to the start of the 2018-19 academic year.

We also know that there is little we can say that will allay your disappointment. And, while we do not underestimate the impact of this decision, we felt strongly that it was incumbent upon us to tell you as soon as the decision had been made so that you and your family can consider the possible options.

As of the close of the academic year in May 2019, B.F.A. degree and certificate programs will cease at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts (Lyme). All students accepted to begin this fall and those currently enrolled in B.F.A. programs at Lyme will be able to finish the 2018-19 academic year on the Lyme campus, with all programs fully operational and with no changes to residential or student-life services. For seniors who complete their degrees in May 2019, this means that you will be able to finish your studies on the Lyme campus with no changes.

As part of the proposed transition plan, beginning in fall 2019, the University will relocate its Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration, currently taught at Lyme, into its rapidly expanding creative arts curriculum within the College of Arts & Sciences on its flagship West Haven campus.

The University is launching a Lyme Transition Task Force to examine additional options for students majoring in Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture. Two options – that would begin in the fall of 2019 – for students entering Lyme this fall and those currently studying in these programs have been identified: changing to a different major in art and design offered at our West Haven campus, or continuing in those disciplines, through an articulation agreement that we are in the process of establishing with the University of Hartford, as its B.F.A. programs closely align with those at Lyme.

There may be other alternatives as well, which the Task Force will explore. Our objective, above all, is to offer a path for all Lyme students to complete their degrees in the fine arts as intended.

In the decade leading up to the start of the affiliation between the University of New Haven and Lyme in 2014, Lyme was facing significant challenges. It had been falling short of its enrollment targets and was struggling to maintain its financial viability and its vital accreditation. We recognized that we were taking a calculated risk. However, we were confident that we could make a difference, believing that a significant investment of University resources, funds, and expertise, in conjunction with Lyme's highly respected programs and reputation, would enable us to increase enrollment and create a foundation for enduring success that would benefit all of our students.

Candidly, with the benefit of hindsight, this decision was made more with our hearts than with our heads, and the challenges we have faced at Lyme over the past four years have been greater than anticipated. We worried more about supporting important educational needs and not enough about the market demand for a very small, rural fine arts college. Continuing to do so would simply be irresponsible. We have come to reluctantly acknowledge the serious challenges a campus located nearly 40 miles away from the main campus have presented.

At the same time, art schools across the country have seen a drop in the number of degrees awarded from 2012, the recent enrollment peak, to 2015, according to research from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The declining national trends in classical art school enrollments have made our continued stewardship of a campus exclusively for programs in the classical arts unsustainable.

At our main campus, however, the University of New Haven has enjoyed unprecedented success and growth over the last decade, including enrolling the two largest classes in its nearly 100-year history in 2017 and 2018.

Going forward

Regardless of these challenges at Lyme, our commitment to you is unwavering.

We will do everything we can to ensure your future success. In establishing the Lyme Transition Task Force, which will lead campus meetings in late August and early September, our hope is that we can work together as a community and discuss ideas for alternative pathways for our students. Our goal is to create individualized plans that will encourage, empower, and, we hope, ensure success for all of our students to achieve their educational goals.

We will work closely with you and, if you so choose, assist you in transferring into another one of our B.F.A. programs, our B.A. program in art, or related majors offered on our main campus, where we expect to increase programmatic offerings in digital art and design, animation, gaming, as well as virtual and augmented reality. We also offer opportunities for all of our students to study abroad at our Tuscany campus in Prato, Italy.

We assure you that we will do all that we can to help throughout this transition. To this end, we are committed to sharing more details about these transition plans with you in the coming weeks. In the interim, we encourage you to contact our Lyme Transition Office with any questions you may have. The office can be reached by telephone at 860-598-5067 or by email at LymeTransition@newhaven.edu. You can also visit newhaven.edu/Lyme where we will regularly post current information.

We realize that not all students will process this news in the same way. Staff from the University's Office of Counseling and Psychological Services is available to support you throughout the balance of the summer and the academic year. Appointments may be made by calling 203-932-7332.

We will do everything in our power to make the transition at the end of this academic year in May 2019 as positive and productive as possible, and we stand ready to work with you in any way that would be helpful.

We offer our deepest regret for this obviously upsetting but equally necessary decision.

Sincerely,

Image of Steven Kaplan Signature
Steven H. Kaplan, Ph.D.
President, University of New Haven

Image of Todd Jokl Signature
Todd Jokl, M.F.A., Ed.D.
Campus Dean, Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts

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Frequently Asked Questions

UPDATED SEPTEMBER 10: Additional information was added to the general and alumni & development sections of our frequently asked questions to describe the affiliation between the University of New Haven and Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts and the relationship between the two institutions since the affiliation agreement was finalized in 2014.

UPDATED SEPTEMBER 6: The University has created an option that that would enable students with more than 57 credits to complete their degrees by the end of the summer 2019 semester. Details about this option and other information has been added to the academics, financial aid, and student life sections of our frequently asked questions.

General
  • When was the affiliation between Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts and the University of New Haven officially finalized?

    An affiliation agreement between the two institutions was officially finalized on July 31, 2014. The governing bodies of both institutions unanimously approved the affiliation agreement.

  • What did the affiliation entail?

    The University of New Haven became the sole member of Lyme, and Lyme continued as a Connecticut non-stock, nonprofit corporation. As part of the affiliation agreement, the University of New Haven became accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and the Connecticut Office of Higher Education to offer the Bachelor of Fine Arts programs located at Lyme. Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts retained ownership of all of Lyme’s assets, including but not limited to the campus real estate and the Lyme endowment.

  • What challenges was Lyme facing in the time leading up to the affiliation agreement in 2014?

    In late 2013, when the idea of an affiliation between Lyme and the University of New Haven was first discussed, Lyme was on the verge of losing its accreditation and facing the possibility of closing. The University learned that if Lyme did not identify an accredited institution to affiliate with, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) was prepared to revoke Lyme’s accreditation as of June 30, 2014, which would have made it difficult for Lyme to continue operations in fall 2014. NEASC was prepared to take this action based upon its determination that Lyme was not financially viable.

    In 2014, Lyme was unable to meet its financial covenants with Webster Bank, the primary lender that holds a mortgage on the campus. . When the affiliation was finalized, Webster Bank agreed to “set aside” the mortgage financial covenants that were not being met, as long as Lyme was affiliated with the University of New Haven.

  • Why did the University move forward with an affiliation agreement in 2014?

    As President Kaplan has indicated, he believed then and he believes now that Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts is a “jewel,” and he felt it would have been “an incredible tragedy” if efforts were not made to help Lyme continue.

    The affiliation agreement presented a mutually beneficial opportunity for the University to offer Lyme’s high-quality Bachelor of Fine Arts programs that would complement its programs in the digital arts. The affiliation also enabled students studying at Lyme to gain access to an expanded range of courses and for them to study at the University’s campus in Tuscany, Italy.

  • Who owns the Lyme campus?

    Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, Inc. has – throughout the affiliation – retained ownership of the campus and its facilities, and all other assets of Lyme.

  • What investments did the University make in Lyme to foster its success?

    Since affiliation agreement was finalized, the University of New Haven invested significant cash resources and human capital to enhance the operations at Lyme. Facilities and equipment were upgraded, environmental remediation took place, and increased support in enrollment/recruitment and student services was provided.

  • Upon the establishment of the affiliation between Lyme and the University, what goals were in place for the programs offered at the Lyme campus?

    The University’s Board of Governors indicated that within four or five years of finalizing the affiliation agreement with Lyme that the revenue generated through the programs offered at Lyme would need to reach a level that would cover the cost of operating the campus. Although the campus enrollment grew significantly since the affiliation, it became apparent that it would be difficult to reach the goal of financial viability in the foreseeable future.

  • Where have revenues generated from tuition and other sources at Lyme been used?

    ALL Lyme revenue from tuition, philanthropy, the art store, gallery sales, and other areas was used and is used to support operations and improvements at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts.

  • Is Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts closing?

    Effective at the conclusion of the 2018-19 academic year, the University of New Haven is discontinuing its affiliation agreement with Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts and discontinuing operations at its satellite campus in Old Lyme, Connecticut. At the conclusion of the 2018-19 academic year, the University of New Haven will relocate its Bachelor of Fine Arts program in Illustration to its main campus in West Haven, and will cease teaching its B.F.A. programs in Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture. The Lyme Board of Trustees will retain ownership of the campus facilities and may attempt to develop plans to reconstitute the academy as a non-degree community arts program in the future.

  • What does this mean for students at Lyme?

    All enrolled students at Lyme will continue taking classes on the Old Lyme campus through the conclusion of the 2018-19 academic year. As part of a proposed transition plan, beginning in fall 2019, the University will relocate its Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration, currently taught at Lyme, into its rapidly expanding creative arts curriculum within the College of Arts & Sciences on its flagship West Haven campus.

    After the 2018-19 academic year, majors in Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture will no longer be offered by the University of New Haven. The University is creating a Lyme Transition Task Force to examine options for students currently enrolled in Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture. We will no longer accept new students beyond the incoming Class of 2022.

    Two potential options for students currently enrolled in these programs have been identified: changing to a different arts major offered at our West Haven campus, or continuing in those disciplines through an articulation agreement with the University of Hartford’s Hartford Art School, as its B.F.A. programs closely align with those at Lyme. There may be other options as well, which the Lyme Transition Task Force will explore with students and faculty at Lyme.

  • What is the Lyme Transition Task Force?

    The Lyme Transition Task Force is being created to help provide individualized options for the students impacted by this decision. It will include faculty, staff, and students at Lyme and a representative from the University of Hartford’s Hartford Art School, where the University of New Haven is in the process of establishing an articulation agreement for students in Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture to continue their degrees at that institution at the conclusion of the 2018-19 academic year.

    The Lyme Transition Task Force was created to explore and examine options outside of the ones that have already been identified.

  • Why is this taking place?

    The University has decided to shift its focus from offering traditional classical arts programs at its satellite campus in Lyme to growing its creative arts curriculum on the main campus in West Haven. In the decade leading up to the start of the affiliation between the University of New Haven and Lyme in 2014, Lyme was facing significant challenges, falling short of its enrollment targets and struggling to maintain its financial viability and its vital accreditation. As President Kaplan said in a press release, “We recognized that we were taking a calculated risk. However, we were confident that we could make a difference, believing that a significant investment of University resources, funds, and expertise, in conjunction with Lyme’s highly respected programs and reputation, would enable us to significantly increase enrollment and create a foundation for enduring success that would benefit all of our students. With the benefit of hindsight, that decision was made more with our hearts than our heads. We worried more about supporting important educational needs and not enough about the market demand for a very small, rural art college. Continuing to do so would simply be irresponsible.

    The University is pursuing efforts to grow its creative arts curriculum in areas such as animation, virtual reality augmented reality, game development, and more. As part of this effort, the Illustration program offered at Lyme will be relocated to the West Haven campus, becoming part of the College of Arts & Sciences, and joining current programmatic offerings in the arts – including B.F.A. programs in digital art and design, graphic design, and interior design/pre-architecture, and a B.A. program in art. These programs will be well-positioned to align with related programs in computer science, engineering, and others and will provide significantly enhanced resources that are not currently available at Lyme.

  • Why is this being announced now?

    We are making this announcement now to give our students, parents, faculty, and staff as much time as possible to decide on their academic futures. We want to be clear and transparent about this process and to help ensure the future success of all impacted students.

  • Why is the University keeping Illustration, but not Drawing, Painting, or Sculpture?

    Illustration aligns with our intent to increase our curriculum in the digital arts on the main campus. While we will no longer be recruiting students in Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture, we are committed to ensuring that the students currently enrolled in these disciplines have access to all of the resources they need to accomplish their educational goals.

  • What arts programming will be offered on the West Haven campus?

    The University currently offers a Bachelor of Arts program in Art, and Bachelor of Fine Arts programs in Digital Art & Design, Graphic Design, and Interior Design/Pre-Architecture. Beginning in the fall of 2019, the University will begin offering its B.F.A. program in Illustration – which was previously offered at Lyme – on its main campus in West Haven.

    In addition to these programs, we also offer majors in theater arts, music, music industry, and music and sound recording, among other related programs.

  • If I do decide to transfer before the start of the 2018-19 academic year, can I get my tuition payment returned?

    Yes.

    Refund checks will be mailed to the student’s home address listed in Banner. Every effort will be made to expedite the issuing of refund checks. The process takes up to ten days from the time a refund request is received to the time a check is prepared and mailed.

    To request a refund, please email the Lyme Transition Task Force at LymeTransition@newhaven.edu and provide the following information:

    • Student name
    • Student ID
    • Address to mail the refund to (if different than the address of record)

    Refunds will be made payable to the student. If a payment to be refunded was made with a credit card, the refund will be returned to the credit card and a check will not be issued. If you do not attend Lyme this fall, were scheduled to be an incoming first year student, and are eligible for a refund, your refund will include your enrollment commitment fee as well as your housing deposit if applicable.

  • How can I stay updated throughout the transition?

    Regular updates will be provided by the Lyme Transition Task Force, and information will be posted on www.newhaven.edu/Lyme. In addition, students and families can contact the Lyme Transition Office with any questions they may have. The office can be reached by telephone at 860-598-5067 or by email at LymeTransition@newhaven.edu.

  • Academics
  • My student is/I am a junior, and I have heard about an accelerated option. What does this mean?

    For juniors who had 57 or fewer credits remaining prior to the beginning of fall 2018 semester, we have developed a path for these students to complete their degrees by doing ALL of the following:

    • Taking more classes in the fall ’18 and spring ’19 semesters
    • Taking a course during the winter session between fall ’18 and spring ’19
    • Participating in a specially designed summer ‘19 semester.

    Since each students’ course requirements may vary, it is important for each student to contact the transition team at lymetransition@newhaven.edu to review what they need to complete.

  • Is the accelerated option open to juniors who have more than the 57 credits to complete?

    In many cases, juniors who had more than 57 credits to complete prior to fall ‘18 can complete their studio courses by the end of the specially designed summer 2019 semester. However, in these cases, students will still have general education courses to complete at the University of New Haven. Since each students’ course requirements may vary, it is important for each student to contact the transition team at lymetransition@newhaven.edu to review what they need to complete.

  • What will accelerating my degree (if I have more than 57 credits) cost?

    The University is waiving overage fees for extra credits taken during the fall ’18 and spring ’19 semesters. The cost for tuition in the summer ’19 semester will be $8,500 for a full-time student (13-18 credits) and $630 per credit for part-time students (less than 13 credits).

  • I have heard that studying abroad at the University’s campus in Prato, Italy, is an option for students in fall 2019. Is this the case?

    Yes. We will work with students to determine a plan of study. If we have enough students, we will send a full-time faculty member and design a program of studio and culturally enriching courses with a cohort of B.F.A. students. If there are not enough students to make a full cohort, students can still study abroad, and we can work with partners in Italy on some studio courses and other course offerings that can be taken in Prato.

  • Will my classes continue at Lyme?

    All classes and programs offered at Lyme will continue, as planned, for the 2018-19 academic year. At the conclusion of the 2018-19 academic year, the Illustration program will be relocated to the University’s main campus in West Haven.

    The University is creating the Lyme Transition Task Force to identify other potential options or pathways to help students accomplish their educational goals. The Lyme Transition Office can be reached by telephone at 860-598-5067 or by email at LymeTransition@newhaven.edu

  • What facilities, faculty, and other resources will be available on the West Haven campus starting in the 2019-20 academic year for students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in illustration?

    The University of New Haven will integrate its Bachelor of Fine Arts program in Illustration, previously offered at Lyme, into its arts curriculum on the campus in West Haven, where it will become part of the College of Arts and Sciences. We will provide enhanced co-curricular opportunities, including a living-learning residential community geared toward students in the arts, and Illustration students will have the option of pursuing study abroad opportunities at the University’s campus in Prato, Italy.

  • What about accreditation?

    Our B.F.A. programs in digital art & design, graphic design, and interior design/pre-architecture, which are currently offered on the main campus, are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

  • If I decide I want to transfer, how do I obtain my academic records?

    We encourage all B.F.A. students to explore the opportunities that will be available to them on the University’s main campus in West Haven. If students choose to continue their education on the main campus, either in Illustration or another major, the Lyme Transition Office can provide more details on how to submit a change of major request. If you do wish to transfer to another institution, however, you can obtain your records by contacting the Registrar’s Office.

  • Financial Aid
  • How much more will tuition cost to study at the University’s main campus if I want to continue in Illustration or change my major to programs such as Graphic Design or Digital Art & Design offered at the main campus?

    The University is committed to maintaining the same level of scholarship support that had been provided to students at the Lyme campus when they relocate to the main campus. Typically, there are small incremental increases to a university’s tuition each year. These should be expected, but the institutional aid in scholarships and grants, should students continue to meet eligibility requirements, will remain intact.

  • I receive federal and/or state-issued funds. Will I be eligible to receive these funds during the summer 2019 semester?

    Eligibility for funds must be addressed on a case-by-case basis with one of our financial aid staff members. Since the federal and state governments set the parameters on these funds, each student’s situation is unique, and a financial aid staff member will be able to determine eligibility. Please contact Elizabeth Desi at edesi@newhaven.edu to setup a time to review your specific situation.

  • Will school-awarded scholarships be available for the summer 2019 semester?

    No. In order to make the costs as simplified as possible, we are implementing flat costs that are significantly discounted from a regular semester, even though the summer 2019 semester will be considered a full semester.

  • What happens to my financial aid and institutional aid?

    If you remain at the University of New Haven, your financial aid for the 2018-19 academic year will remain unchanged.

    For subsequent years, you will follow the same process of applying annually for financial aid through the University of New Haven.

    Students who take advantage of the articulation agreement with the University of Hartford will receive details about the financial aid process when they begin the process of transferring. More details will be provided as that process unfolds.

    If you choose not to transfer to the University of Hartford, and you choose not to attend the University of New Haven in 2019-2020 or in subsequent years, you will need to apply for financial aid through your new institution of choice, subject to the rules and regulations of that school.

  • Student Life
  • How much will housing cost at the University’s main campus?

    There are a range of housing options at different price points at the University’s main campus. Typically, there are small incremental increases to housing costs each year.

  • Do I have to carry a meal plan if I live on the University’s main campus?

    Most housing options do require a meal plan. In a few cases, certain housing options, such as Main Street Apartments and Savin Court Townhouses, do not require meal plans. Details on meal plans can be found here.

  • Will I be able to choose my roommate when I move to the residence hall at the University’s main campus?

    Yes. We will also work to create a Living-Learning Community that will enable our B.F.A. students to live within a single building and in close proximity to one another. Students from the Lyme campus can opt to join this group or select other housing options.

  • Will housing be available at Lyme during the summer 2019 semester?

    Yes. Housing will be available in the Southwick Townhouses at Lyme. It will cost $3,130.

  • What happens to Lyme clubs and student events?

    All Lyme clubs and student events will continue as planned for the 2018-19 academic year. As always, students pursuing their degrees at Lyme are encouraged to get involved in and take advantage of the programs and resources offered at the main campus in West Haven during the 2018-19 academic year and moving forward. Students who choose to continue their education at the University for 2019-20 and beyond can take advantage of more 170 student clubs and organizations, varsity and intramural athletics, living-learning residential communities, and a number of study abroad opportunities around the world and at our own campus in Prato, Italy.

  • I am having difficulty processing this information and what it means for me. Who can I talk to?

    We realize that not all students will process this news in the same way. Staff from the University’s Office of Counseling and Psychological Services is available to support you throughout the balance of the summer and the academic year. Appointments may be made by calling 203-932-7332. The Lyme Transition Office can be reached by telephone at 860-598-5067 or by email at LymeTransition@newhaven.edu.

  • Alumni & Development
  • How were the philanthropic donations to Lyme used?

    The charitable donations made to Lyme both before and after 2014 have been dedicated to providing scholarship support to students, to enhancing and enriching student resources, to supporting faculty, and to upgrading the facilities at Lyme.

  • Will my degree from Lyme still be considered valuable?

    Your degree from Lyme is and will continue to be valuable. It will be recognized by employers and other colleges/universities as a valid degree with full regional accreditation, and the University of New Haven will continue to provide transcript processing and degree verification for Lyme students in perpetuity.

  • Faculty & Staff
  • Which Employees of Lyme Will Be Affected?

    All employees working at the Lyme campus will be impacted. Lyme campus employees and faculty were notified at an in-person meeting on Monday, August 13, 2018. Employees who were unable to attend the in-person meeting or have follow-up questions should contact the University’s Office of Human Resources at 203-932-7240 or HRDept@newhaven.edu. Information about the University’s Employee Assistance Program was provided in the documentation that was distributed by Human Resources. Resources through the program are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 800-311-4327.

  • Community Arts Programs
  • Will non-degree community arts programs continue?

    Programs planned for the 2018-19 academic year will continue unchanged.

  • Media
  • I am a member of the media. Who should I contact?

    Members of the media should contact Lyn Chamberlin, vice president for marketing and communications, at LChamberlin@newhaven.edu or 203-932-7419.