University News

University of New Haven to Cease B.F.A. Programs at Satellite Campus in Old Lyme, Connecticut as of May 2019

The University will relocate its B.F.A. in Illustration to the main West Haven campus to be part of its expanding creative arts curriculum within the College of Arts & Sciences. It also will launch a Lyme Transition Task Force to consider future pathways for Lyme Academy College students.

August 13, 2018

Photo of The Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts campus
The Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts campus in Old Lyme, Conn.

The Board of Governors of the University of New Haven announced today that, as of the close of the academic year in May 2019, University degree-granting academic programming will cease at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts (Lyme). Students currently enrolled at Lyme will finish the 2018-19 year on the Lyme campus. In the coming months, the University and the Lyme Board will discuss the conversion of the campus back to its original use as a non-degree-granting art academy.

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 options for students in Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture. Two potential options for students enrolled when current programs cease in May, 2019 have been identified: switching to a different art or design major offered at the West Haven campus, or continuing in those disciplines, through an articulation agreement with the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford.

"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," said Steven H. Kaplan, president of the University of New Haven. "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."

"Candidly," said Kaplan, "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."

Nationally, nearly all disciplines in the arts saw 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. At its 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.

"Regardless of these challenges facing the Lyme campus, our commitment to our Lyme students is unwavering, and we will do everything we can to ensure their future success," concluded Kaplan. "I look forward to hearing our students’ ideas on how we can work together to create individualized plans that will ensure their success in achieving their educational goals."

The Lyme students who decide to continue their education on the main campus will benefit from a variety of programs and services available on the West Haven campus, including five diverse academic colleges and schools, more than 170 student clubs, varsity and intramural athletics, and living-learning residential communities, including those specifically geared for students in the arts. The University also offers an immersive art experience during specialized study abroad semesters at the University’s Tuscany campus in Prato, Italy.

The University is planning to increase its offerings on the main campus, including programs in digital art and design, animation, gaming, and virtual and augmented reality that will complement its program in illustration.

"Illustration offers great synergy with our current and projected program offerings on our West Haven campus," said Daniel May, senior vice president and provost. "We’re excited to be adding this degree program to our expanding portfolio in the arts, including B.F.A. degrees in Graphic Design, Interior Design and Pre-Architecture, as well as our B.A. in Art. Most importantly, we will be able to provide enhanced learning experiences and co-curricular opportunities that were not available at the Lyme campus, largely due to the logistical difficulties of the distance from West Haven."

The University has also established a transition office to assist students in discussing individual educational options.