Date
Volume 17, Number 2
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The School of Visual Arts first offered a Master of Fine Arts degree program in 1983, following more than a decade of awarding undergraduate degrees. Since then, the College has continued to add graduate-level programs in studio and academic disciplines, broadening the educational choices we make available to practitioners in a broad variety of fields.

Over the last several years I have worked with Steven Heller (who serves as both MFA Design Department co-chair and a special assistant to my office) and other members of the SVA staff and faculty to accelerate the growth of our graduate division, with an emphasis on specialized programs that address the needs of the contemporary art, design and related marketplaces. Following the opening of the MFA Art Criticism and Writing Department in 2005, we began to offer MFA degrees in design criticism, interaction design and social documentary film, as well as an MPS in digital photography. In the fall 2010 semester, we will open the doors of the MPS Branding and MPS Live Action Short Film departments (see "Departmentalized").

The rationale for this expansion is, I think, quite clear: there are great returns for those who acquire these degrees, both in terms of reaching a level of mastery and maximizing their potential in the professional world. And having studio and academic practices working side by side strengthens both, as the artist and the critic each occupy crucial roles in the ongoing discourse of creative evolution.

Our society continues to grapple with issues involving everything from the sustainability of the physical world to the stability of educational, political and personal realms. I am eager to see members of the SVA community assume leadership roles in understanding these issues and designing solutions to the challenges they present. The high-level, specialized education provided by the current and future MAT, MFA and MPS programs at SVA will help ensure that those who wish to excel at the highest levels will have all the tools necessary to do so.

David Rhodes
President

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