Confirmation on SU MA Illustration Program's Demise

Just got a note from the Dean of the College of Arts declaring the termination of the ISDP MA Illustration program at the end of next year (2008). They will honor their committments with the currently enrolled students, but will not admit any new students. Here is an excerpt from Dean Carole Brzozowski, College of Visual and Performing Arts:

"Due to a decline in student enrollment, I regret to inform you that we will begin a phased process of closing Syracuse University's Independent Degreee Study Programs (ISDP) in Advertising Design and Illustration. We will fulfill our obligation to you and all currently enrolled students to complete the program in a timely manner, but we will no longer admit new students to the program."

"The decision to close the programs was a very difficult one, particularly in light of the historic contributions to mid-career graduate education and the industry leadership these programs have provided to a generation of professionals in advertising design and illustration fields."

This is a very sad moment for this school to close a program they chose not to promote and not to maintain.They chose not to promote and build the program continually--but only at the last moment as the flame of the program flickered. Simple stuff like showing the thesis work at the Lubin House or mounting a Best of Show at the Society of Illustrators. Or posting something about the program on the bulletin boards of the Society and AIGA in NYC. Or something as simple as giving each alumni and current students 6 postcards to send to friends with a note. Nothing of note, nothing of creativity, nothing of effort. For a school who prides itself in its communications programs--this is beyond shameful.The feeble attempt of a single ad placement last year wasn't enough to even merit notice.

The Illustration program has 27 years of graduates, many who are the top of their fields (education, illustration, design)--an alumni base they choose not to promote or support-- who by their very actions and endeavors shine light on SU's undergraduate programs.It is through sheer neglect by SU to allow this program to slip away and allow others to pick up the pace (Marywood and the newly formed ISDP MFA program at the University of Hartford with the talented Tinkelmans leading the way) through their inabilty to solve a simple problem--being able to grant an MFA in this sort of ISDP format. Their loss is someone else's gain. Carpe Diem!

It is of great sadness to me as this program has been instrumental in changing my thinking, my work and my work for clients. I would want others to have the same opportunities I have had--and they will, just not through the Syracuse Program. Others, as noted in another letter circulating out there, will pick up the baton--and transform this ISDP concept into something tailored for now--and speaking to the true needs of the current student base.

I don't know about you, but when there is competition--everyone gets a little better, tougher, stronger. Real competitors don't drop out.