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 partnership 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

General
  • 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 partnership 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.

  • Who owns the Lyme campus, and what will happen to the Lyme facilities?

    As part of the 2014 affiliation agreement between the University of New Haven and Lyme, the Lyme Board of Trustees retained ownership of the campus. The Lyme Board will decide how the campus and facilities will be used at the end of the 2018-19 academic year.

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.