New Paltz Fine Arts Grad Program Rises in Rankings

SUNY New Paltz has recently been ranked as one of the Best Graduate Schools for Fine Arts by US News and World Report in the 2013 rankings.

New Paltz’s Master of Fine Arts program was ranked 83rd in the report, and was only one of four SUNY schools to place in the top 100.

Vice President of Enrollment Management L. David Eaton and Dean of Fine and Performing Arts Mary Hafeli have confidence that this recognition is an accurate representation of the Master of Fine Arts program, which is the equivalent to a terminal degree, otherwise known as a Ph.D, Eaton said.

“We love being on lists,” Eaton said. “The largest room is the room for improvement. [The art program] is part of the DNA of New Paltz.”

Hafeli said New Paltz has been making improvements, as this year’s ranking is 11 spots higher than 2008.

The school was evaluated on the kind of work created by teachers and students, where their work is being shown and where the students go after graduating from the masters program, Hafeli said.

Rankings such as this influence the success of the graduate program at this school because “applicants do a considerable amount of research when choosing a graduate school and the award serves as validation of what we do well and how we’ve improved in the recent past” said Hafeli.

She also said rankings indicate the quality of work being done at New Paltz and outside perspectives, which, she said, is an important aspect for any school.

Hafeli noted that there has been a “collective move forward” which is due in part to the faculty that the program attracts, the assessments and appropriate adjustments made to improve the curriculum by faculty and students and the luck of being so close to New York City and the Hudson Valley, which are notable artistic regions of the country.

Since this award is due to third party endorsement and “comes from peers,” others are  aware of the program’s strength as well, Hafeli said.

“While one could dispute how accurate the list actually is, we have to be doing something right to be recognized,” Eaton said.

Eaton also said that the recognition is also good for the school as a whole.

“A rising tide raises all boats,” Eaton said.

For New Paltz, this rising tide is particularly helpful because “it brings awareness to the broad array of programs offered here for its small size and its quality overall,” Eaton said.