SUNY Oswego's art department recently received accreditation
from the National Association of Schools of Art and
Design, an achievement that puts the college on two
Drawing knowledge — Kimberly Street discusses an exercise on perspective with Nathan Sullivan, who teaches Summer Session drawing classes at SUNY Oswego. The college's art department recently earned national accreditation through the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
The latest recognition means that all three of Oswego's
creative arts departments — art, music and theatre —
are nationally accredited. Oswego joins New Paltz as
the only SUNY schools where all three programs hold
this distinction, according to data on the Council of
Arts Accrediting Associations' Web site. The college
is also one of only a half-dozen SUNY institutions with
"I think it gives us external recognition," SUNY Oswego
Dean of Arts and Sciences Sara Varhus said of the NASAD
accreditation. "It's a distinction that prospective
students and faculty and members of the community can
see as indicative of the quality of our program."
The art department's thorough accreditation process
started almost five years ago with the initiation of
department self-study, said Dr. Helen Zakin, professor
and chair of art at SUNY Oswego.
"It was a real learning experience," Zakin said. "We
were forced to not only learn about ourselves but also
how this department functions within the college. That
was very positive and helpful."
The self-study was also "a morale-booster, especially
when we were able to show the team the student work
and what we accomplished," while the observers "were
very favorable in their review, by and large," Zakin
A two-person NASAD visiting team, which came to campus
in March 2005, offered praise in several areas, Zakin
noted. The visitation report cited "a dedicated, productive
and student-centered faculty," "enthusiastic and supportive
students," "good facilities that are well maintained,"
"a respected print collection and exhibition program"
and "an understanding, supportive administration" dedicated
to making whatever enhancements were required.
The NASAD team was also impressed with the student creations,
Zakin said. "Specific to art, they wanted to see as
much work as possible," she said. When the accreditation
team visited, student work was stacked floor to ceiling
on the second floor of Tyler Hall, and the result "was
really quite amazing," Zakin noted.
In terms of recommendations, the visiting team wanted
to see more interdisciplinary activity in the arts.
This suggestion dovetailed with plans in the works like
the Squonk Opera project, where students in several
disciplines will help create a new theatrical production,
and a living-learning arts community.
On top of the accreditation, the research and self-study
bring about "a process of improvement," Varhus said.
Oswego's music department earned national accreditation
in 1987, with the theatre department gaining this distinction
"Having all three programs accredited shows we
place an emphasis on creative arts, which I think is
very timely," Varhus said. "I hope that with the interdisciplinary
work, prospective students will see that if you're interested
in working in a variety of activities, then this is
a place where you can bring it all together."
To August 2006 E-Newsletter