University Discontinues Programs with Lyme Academy

Pres. Steven H. Kaplan announced, in an email sent to students on Aug. 13 that the university would discontinue its degree programs offered at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts.

This will not affect students enrolled in the programs for the 2018-19 school year, but beginning in the fall of 2019, these programs will no longer be available. Instead, the bachelor of fine arts program in illustration will be housed in the College of Arts and Sciences on the university’s main campus. The programs for drawing, painting, and sculpture will be discontinued.

Kaplan said that the challenges the university faced at Lyme were too much to justify continuing the partnership.

“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,” said Kaplan in the email.

However, some students said the decision was made hastily and without consideration of the students. Senior Emily Powers said she thought  the university lacks transparency when it comes to this kind of decision.

“What’s going to happen to the students that just got accepted into Lyme this year?” said Powers. I feel that this is was rash decision that was made without any of the student’s interests in mind.”

Senior Annasse Rajeh feels that the decision was “disheartening,” but not surprising.

“I think it was foolish to believe a 40-mile-away art campus would work in concept as opposed to if it was on main campus,” he said.

Despite the discontinuation of degree programs at Lyme, university officials said that the school is dedicated to helping students displaced by the decision.

“Our objective, above all, is to offer a path for all Lyme students to complete their degree in the fine arts as intended,” said Kaplan in the email sent to students.

The university has assembled a Lyme Transition Task Force to explore options for students pursuing the three degrees that will be discontinued. Currently, students can either switch to another art-centered major offered on campus or continue their studies through a program being worked out with the University of Hartford, where the program is closely aligned with Lyme’s.

“Regardless of these challenges at Lyme, our commitment to Lyme students is unwavering,” said Kaplan. “Our goal is to create individualized plans that will encourage, empower, and, we hope, ensure success for all of our students in achieving their educational goals.”

Powers expressed disappointment because the university’s art programs on the main campus are also suffering and cannot handle welcoming any new students.

“As an art major, however, I was told to take the same class twice so it would cover another major required class that isn’t offered anymore,” said Powers.  “As a student, I feel that UNH doesn’t care about arts education at all. Otherwise my classes would still be offered and I could graduate on time.”