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Like so many institutions of higher education, Cornish is facing unprecedented challenges, some brought on – and others exacerbated – by the COVID-19 pandemic. By continually evaluating and evolving our 4-Year Opportunity Plan, Cornish is paving a sustainable pathway to remain a dynamic and vital college of the arts in the Pacific Northwest.  

As part of that plan, Cornish will stop accepting applications for two Bachelor of Fine Arts programs: Performance Production and Interior Architecture. Students currently enrolled in these programs will be able to complete their degrees and graduate with their selected major. Cornish will actively assess options to repurpose these programs so students can continue to pursue studies in these areas.

Additionally, Cornish is consolidating all programs at the South Lake Union campus, officially moving the dance and music programs from Kerry Hall on Capitol Hill after the 2021-2022 academic year. Cornish leadership will explore opportunities for Kerry Hall and other college assets as an element of our long-term strategic planning. 

Cornish will work closely with faculty and students to mitigate the impact as these changes are implemented and to ensure Cornish can continue to cultivate talented artists for years to come.

 What programs at Cornish are no longer being offered?

Cornish has made the decision to retire two Bachelor of Fine Arts programs: Performance Production and Interior Architecture.

Why did you choose to retire these two BFA programs?

Though the Performance Production and Interior Architecture programs are valued programs that offer world-class training to our students, low enrollments—exacerbated by the pandemic—are not sufficient to sustain BFA programs in these emphases. 

When do these changes take effect?

Effective immediately, Cornish will no longer accept applications for these two programs, however Cornish remains committed to all students currently enrolled in these two programs. They will be able to complete their degrees and graduate with their selected majors. 

Who will be impacted by these program changes? 

Current students in these programs will be able to complete their degrees, but no new students will be accepted into the programs.

We will work closely with faculty and students to mitigate the impact as these changes are implemented and take steps to restructure both BFA programs, rather than eliminate them altogether. We regret that these program changes will impact a select number of our valued faculty members.

Are these changes permanent or will the programs become available again in the future?  

Cornish is actively assessing options to repurpose these programs so students can continue to pursue studies in these areas, however, they will no longer be offered as Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees.

We are exploring ways with the faculty to make the areas of focus in performance production available as second majors or minors for students pursuing other artistic disciplines. We will conduct a feasibility study in the 2021-22 academic year to potentially redesign the interior architecture program to appeal to adult learners, working adults, and online students.

Are these changes an indication that more program cuts are coming?

Like so many institutions of higher education, Cornish is facing unprecedented challenges, some brought on—and others exacerbated—by the COVID pandemic. We have been evaluating every aspect of our Four-Year Opportunity Plan and all academic offerings and decided to retire these two BFA programs. At this time, we do not plan to retire any other programs.

Why is Cornish consolidating all programs to the South Lake Union campus?

In 2020, the leadership of Cornish, with the support of the Board of Trustees, made the decision to declare financial emergency and financial exigency to help sustain our future as a world-class institution. As part of this process, we have decided to expedite the consolidation of our programs at the South Lake Union campus, officially moving the dance and music programs from Kerry Hall on Capitol Hill after the 2021-2022 academic year. This change will help ensure Cornish remains a world-class performing and visual art institute in the heart of the city’s urban core.

Is Cornish planning to sell Kerry Hall? 

Kerry Hall will remain in use by the college through the 2021-22 academic year. Cornish leadership will explore opportunities for Kerry Hall and other college assets as an element of our long-term strategic planning.

Can we expect additional changes or cuts to Cornish’s offerings? 

The COVID-19 pandemic has put significant financial constraints on the institution and suppressed enrollment, but we are paving a sustainable pathway to remain a dynamic and vital college of the arts. We are committed to appropriately evolving and innovating to move into the 21st century and ensure we provide students training and programs that prepare them to be successful professionals in today’s workplace.