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Meeting of the Board of Regents | June 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 9:35am

sed seal                                                                                                 




To:                                             The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents


From:                                        Joseph P. Frey


Subject:                                    Master Plan Amendment: Art Institute of New York City to authorize the college to offer an A.A.S. degree in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing


Date:                                         June 3, 2010







Issue for Decision (Consent Agenda)

Should the Board of Regents approve an amendment to the master plan of the Art Institute of New York City authorizing the Institute to offer an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing? Master plan amendment is required because this will be the institution’s first associate degree in the discipline area of Business.


Reason(s) for Consideration


Required by State regulation


Proposed Handling

The question will come before the full Board at its June 2010 meeting where it will be voted on and action taken.

Background Information

The mission of the Art Institute of New York City, formerly known as the New York Restaurant School, is to provide career-focused education that meets the needs of the business community through an industry-driven curriculum subjected to continuous process review. The Institute currently offers A.A.S. and A.O.S. degrees in Graphic Design, Fashion Design, Interior Design, Web Design, and Digital Filmmaking. A.O.S. and certificate programs in Culinary Arts are currently being phased out.


The purpose and goals of the proposed Fashion Merchandising and Marketing program are to develop students’ skills relating to fashion merchandising and marketing, communications, human relations, information literacy, and computer technology. The purpose of the proposed program supports the Institute’s mission to provide career-focused education that meets the needs of the business community through an industry-driven curriculum.  In developing the program, the Institute engaged in extensive communications with representatives from the fashion industry in the New York metropolitan region to develop a program that will meet their needs for competent personnel. 

The curriculum of the proposed program comprises 108 quarter credits of coursework, including 36 quarter credits of liberal arts and science requirements and 72 quarter credits of major requirements.  The program also includes a three quarter credit optional internship. Students will work toward achieving competencies in visual merchandising and store development, marketing and branding, retail management, buying, merchandising, special events and public relations, product development and entrepreneurship. Students will also complete a portfolio designed to synthesize and apply the knowledge developed in their coursework. Graduates of the proposed program will be prepared for entry level positions in the field or to pursue a baccalaureate degree in the fashion merchandising, marketing, and related fields.

Courses will be taught by faculty with appropriate graduate degrees as well as relevant industry and teaching experience.  Sixteen faculty at the Institute are qualified to teach in the program.  The Institute anticipates hiring an additional six faculty prior to the launch of the proposed program.

Applicants to the proposed program will follow the same admissions and testing procedures as those in the Institute’s other programs: interview, documentation, essay, and placement assessment.  The Institute anticipates enrolling 50 students in year one of the program, increasing to 250 students by year five.  It expects the majority to be full-time and that about 56 percent will be New York State residents. The Institute also anticipates students transferring internally, particularly from its Fashion Design program.

To support the proposed program, the Institute has created a Fashion Resource Room, a program-specific space for the Fashion Department, on the sixth floor of its Beach Street facility.  This room will provide access to a number of resources students can use to augment their education and faculty can use to enhance instruction.  Library resources, facilities, and services are shared with Metropolitan College of New York. The Institute has invested a substantial amount annually for the library collection development, including a strong digital collection, and will allocate additional amounts in future years. 

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the prospects for hiring in the fashion buying field as having little growth, emphasis is placed on the individual’s education qualifications, forecasting abilities, analytical skills, and strong communication skills as qualities that will help them become more gainfully employed.  Prospects for hiring in the public relations, special events, and marketing field have average job growth, with the ideal candidates having a mix of education, creativity, industry experience, and communication skills.

Following standard procedure, the Department canvassed the colleges and universities in the New York City Region of New York State. Eight responses were received. Four expressed support for the proposed program. Three had no comment or stated that the program would have no impact on their institutions. One institution, Fashion Institute of Technology, expressed concern at the proposed program’s similarity to its own A.A.S. program in Fashion Merchandising Management and the proximity of Art Institute to the campus of FIT, thus raising the issue of potential competition for internship sites, job placements, and adjunct faculty.

In responding to FIT’s concerns, the Art Institute of New York City stated that what demarcates the Institute’s proposed program from others offered in the New York City Regions is its interdisciplinary approach, where students will take a broad range of required courses in the major, including special events and public relations, product development and entrepreneurship.

Concerning competition for student internship sites and employment possibilities, the Institute states that it has received numerous Fashion Merchandising and marketing student internship opportunities, but has not been able to fulfill this market demand. In addition, the Institute offers internships on a quarterly basis, as opposed to a more traditional semester schedule. This schedule enables employers the opportunity to hire interns throughout the entire year, not just during the spring and fall academic terms. The Institute has a dedicated career advisor for all Fashion Design students and graduates, and will offer the same opportunity to all Fashion Merchandising and Marketing students and graduates.  

Lastly, given the comparative size of the proximal institutions and the density of population in the New York metropolitan area, it is unlikely that the market has reached maximum penetration, and the area could thus support another institution offering a Fashion Merchandising and Marketing degree program.


It is recommended that the Board of Regents approve a master plan amendment to authorize the Art Institute of New York City to offer its first associate degree in the discipline of Business. This amendment will be effective until June 30, 2011, unless the Department registers the program prior to that date, in which case master plan amendment shall be without term.