KCAI enrollment reaches all-time high

23 August 2010
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Aug. 23, 2010) — The Kansas City Art Institute, one of America’s most renowned four-year colleges of art and design, is welcoming the class of 2014 to its campus this week. The 247 freshmen and 52 upper-class transfer students will join 447 returning students, boosting total enrollment to 746.
“In recent years, enrollment has ranged from about 650 to about 670, so we are extremely happy at the growth in enrollment for the 2010-11 academic year,” said Kathleen Collins, president of KCAI. “Many factors have played into this success, including an outstanding recruitment team under the direction of Bambi Burgard, Ph.D., vice president for enrollment management and student achievement.”
Burgard said students enrolling this fall at KCAI come from 34 states across the United States. About 39 percent come from Missouri, with another 21 percent from Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska. About 18 percent are from Texas and Oklahoma, and 22 percent come from other states ranging from New York to Florida to California.
The KCAI Student Living Center is overflowing this fall, and the college made arrangements with the University of Missouri-Kansas City to house about 40 students in the UMKC Oak Place Apartments about two blocks south of the KCAI campus. A shuttle bus will ferry KCAI students from the Warwick Blvd. campus when KCAI studios close in the evening, Burgard said.
“We are excited that 20 percent of our students are students of diversity,” Burgard said. “Our demographics include African-American, Hispanic and Asian students, among others. Increasing the diversity on our campus has been a strategic priority for us, and we feel this year’s enrollment shows progress on that score, as this number has increased about 54 percent from prior years.”
Burgard said retention has played a key role in total enrollment. About 90 percent of eligible upper-classmen are returning to campus this fall to continue their studies as sophomores, juniors and seniors.
She also cited the work of the college’s regional counselors, who call on high school art and design students nationwide, making presentations in classrooms as guests of the schools’ art teachers. She also lauded the KCAI faculty, who play an active part in reaching out to prospective students. Other factors contributing to the surge in enrollment include the launch last year of a newly redesigned website (www.kcai.edu) and publication of a new viewbook, which featured a 3-D cover.
“We’ve never had a stronger group of counselors,” Burgard said. “All of them have B.F.A. degrees, and many of them have M.F.A. degrees, and they serve as a wonderful resource for high school students who are building their portfolios and seeking feedback and guidance.”
Prospective students visit the campus each year for National Portfolio Day (coming up again on Oct. 30 at KCAI), and another big draw was an Open Studios day, which the college hosted in April.
Burgard said offering programs that students want is crucial in building enrollment, as well as providing career counseling to help students prepare for life beyond completion of the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. The college offers 13 majors and has a Career Center located in its Jannes Library and Learning Center.
“Our programs obviously appeal to high-school students nationwide,” Burgard said, noting new programs in digital media and the return of the illustration major, as well as the college’s animation program, which launched five years ago and has already yielded a Student Academy Award this summer. Studio majors ranging from ceramics to painting also are broadly popular, she said, and students and their parents place a high value on the strength of the college’s programs in liberal arts, including majors in art history and creative writing. Other programs that have been introduced in recent years include certificates in Community Arts and Service Learning and in Asian Studies.
“The CASL program has been in place for several years, and it has proven to be especially popular with students,” Burgard said. “Students today are very interested in making a difference, and through CASL they have had opportunities to get involved with Rose Brooks, Mattie Rhodes, the DeLaSalle Education Center and many other local organizations, where their passion and talents have made real contributions.”
Burgard said the Asian Studies program is launching this fall and dovetails with foreign language classes the college offers in Chinese and Japanese.
“Our next step will be to reach out to institutions in Asia that might have an interest in collaborating with us, including opportunities for student exchanges,” she said. She noted the college has hired an international studies coordinator to oversee its international programs and outreach.
Celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2010, the Kansas City Art Institute is a private, independent four-year college of art and design awarding the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with majors in animation, art history, ceramics, digital filmmaking, digital media, fiber, graphic design, illustration, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and studio art with an emphasis on creative writing. The college also offers certificate programs in Community Arts and Service Learning and in Asian Studies for students enrolled in the B.F.A. program. KCAI hosts “Current Perspectives,” a free public lecture series; free exhibitions at the H&R Block Artspace gallery; and evening, weekend and summer classes in art, design, multimedia studies and desktop publishing for children, youth and adults. Founded in 1885, KCAI is Kansas City’s oldest arts organization. For more information, visit KCAI on the Web at www.kcai.edu.
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Contact: Anne Canfield, 816-802-3426 or acanfield@kcai.edu