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Process and Progress: Unifying academic programs in San Francisco

Posted December 15, 2021, 3:50 PM

Updated December 16, 2021, 7:48 PM

Planning for unification of academic programs and support services in San Francisco by the start of the fall 2022 semester continues, with progress and forward momentum to report on many different fronts.

In anticipation of the planned move off of the Oakland campus and unification in San Francisco, the Unification Working Group has been seeking input and has begun sharing the many logistical details that will facilitate a smooth transition process for our students, faculty, and staff. Over the past several weeks, the team has met with programming staff from every impacted program to discuss their proposed locations for fall 2022. The team is also meeting regularly with the deans of each division to ensure that academic leadership is engaged in prioritization and problem solving as we take concrete steps to move forward.

While there are many decisions yet to be made, following are some of the key ideas being considered, based on faculty feedback. Details may change, but we want to share with you our most current thinking to provide insight into the process and progress as planning continues. Over the past month, Mara and Leigh met individually with deans and department chairs of impacted academic departments. The following solutions were influenced by input provided by those faculty leaders.

  • Painting and Graphic Design may stay in their current locations, with minimal reconfiguration.
  • Architecture and Industrial Design will remain on the second floor of 1111 Eighth Street, with the Digital Fine Arts Studio (DFAS) lab placed on the mezzanine, next to an additional drawing studio. Our goal is to have three drawing studios.
  • Fashion Design and Textiles will be co-located in the Nave “N” classrooms, along with the Soft Lab. Animation will move to the space vacated by Fashion.
  • After reconfiguration, the DMBA and MFA in Design graduate programs will be located in the space that was formerly the student lounge and Admissions office in 1111. Game Arts will be located above, in the space DMBA currently occupies.
  • A new painting and drawing studio and senior studios will be created in the Hubbell Street galleries.
  • Exhibitions will move to the ground-floor retail spaces of Blattner Hall, providing improved walkability, visibility, and street frontage.
  • Various off-campus spaces are under consideration to provide high-quality facilities for Ceramics, Sculpture, Jewelry and Metal Arts, Photography, and Printmedia. Chairs and key faculty from these programs have joined the tours of these spaces, and have expressed their insight and preferences. As we confirm plans and locations, we will continue to update the community.

Due to the amount of work and the number of discrete projects taking place, the start dates to construct or reconfigure spaces for each program will be staggered. Detailed plans are underway to document equipment needs, curricular needs, and space needs for each program, irrespective of the project’s start date. No one will be left behind!

Four major projects (Animation and Game Arts, First Year Program, Jewelry and Metal Arts, and Exhibitions) are currently in an active design phase. Project teams that include representatives from the faculty, usually program chairs, as well as divisional directors and staff from Studio Operations, Technology Services, Operations, and Capital Projects are meeting regularly with the architect and the project team. In addition, engineers are doing walk-throughs as the design progresses, and contractors will be brought in for pricing as soon as the drawings are finalized. These meetings have been productive, with all members bringing creativity and thoughtfulness to the design process.

If you have questions, please contact