WEST HAVEN – College students in New Haven and Old Lyme will return to new opportunities this fall.
The University of New Haven recently announced an affiliation with the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, making the fine arts school the university's sixth college.
The affiliation adds a range of liberal arts courses, complementary UNH arts programs and study abroad programs to the offerings of Lyme Academy College. It also allows UNH to add Lyme Academy College's Bachelor of Fine Arts program to its curriculum, which previously did not include a B.F.A.
"This is the direction in which higher education is moving," said UNH President Steven Kaplan, "that smaller institutions will increasingly become affiliated with larger institutions and I think it is a very good thing for both."
Sharing resources just makes sense, Kaplan added, citing the fact that Lyme Academy College students will now have more choices when it comes to general education courses, online courses and minors. At the same time, the reputation of Lyme Academy as an arts institution adds to UNH's academic portfolio, he said.
"People are excited to try this new approach," said Daniel May, UNH provost.
The small classes at Lyme Academy College will be retained for the upcoming school year, but students will also have the option of taking evening, weekend or summer classes on the UNH campus, May said.
An exciting addition for students from Lyme Academy College is the chance to study art and art history at UNH's foreign campus in Tuscany, Italy, Kaplan said.
UNH students will also have new opportunities, including possible weekend studio time at Lyme Academy College's facilities, according to May.
"We have strong programs in graphic design," May said, "but [Lyme Academy College] offers new complementary programs." Those include degrees in drawing, illustration, painting and sculpture.
While the two campuses are distant (West Haven and Old Lyme), students can travel by train or car, and Kaplan said the university may start a shuttle service.
May said the communities will be linked through collaborative educational efforts, such as a joint gallery of student artwork. Down the line, the two institutions may work to develop a museum of fine arts, Kaplan said.
Since the affiliation was approved in April, UNH and Lyme Academy College have been working to merge their student services, faculty units and other operating systems. As part of this ongoing process, Todd Jokl, associate professor and past chair of the UNH Department of Art and Design, was named campus dean at Lyme Academy College.
Lyme Academy College has been searching for a partner for about two years, due to declining enrollment, May said. The affiliation with UNH will afford the college better financial stability and more resources in terms of marketing and recruitment, Kaplan said.
"This change is something that enriches us," Kaplan said.