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Kendall College of Art and Design makes changes due to low enrollment

The college will combine degrees and eliminate another.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) has seen a drop in enrollment. In response, the school is making changes to multiple degrees.

First, three degrees will be combined into one; Industrial Design, Furniture Design, and Metals and Jewelry Design programs will become Product Design. KCAD is seeking program accreditation for this new program, and it expects approval by Spring 2020.

“There’s a blurred edge between different design disciplines today in the world of industry,” said Tara McCrackin, the President of KCAD, “We’re responding to that. We’re consolidating some programs that use similar processes, products, and materials, but create a different thing, artifact or product.”

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Second, there will be a change to the fine arts programs. That includes photography, drawing, sculpture and functional art, and printmaking and painting. They will be combined; however, the administration is still putting together a plan. There is no timeline set for the fine arts programs yet.

Third, the art education program will be dissolved. There are currently 18 out of the 823 students enrolled in the art education program. Those students will finish their degrees, but no further students will be enrolled in the program.

“If we look at education programs across Michigan,” said McCrackin, “they’ve seen as steep decline of roughly 7%. Our education program in the past five years has seen a decline by 62%. We have a fabulous program, but without students we don’t have a program at all.”

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Eliminating the art education degree will also eliminate two staff positions.

Ninety-two percent of students are pursuing degrees in design and commercial art, not in the Fine Art and Art Education programs.

“I think this is an opportunity for us to collaborate in ways we haven’t even thought about,” said McCrackin. “We’ve got some rockstar talent in the faculty and student body, and we’ll find ways to work together we haven’t even considered.”

KCAD opened in in Grand Rapids in 1931.


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