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Annual Report Fall 2021

MDes Bootcamp © Rebecca Morrison

Strategic planning has helped our campus collectively craft a shared vision, consistent with our mission and values, that defines the work of the College. Through this process, we are positioned to better serve the Commonwealth and our students. 

A few of our recent accomplishments include:

  • Continued to support technological successes discovered this past year, such as remote meetings and invest in campus wide licenses, such as Zoom, Adobe, and LinkedIn Learning

  • Conducted an assessment of student learning and pedagogical best practices during COVID via a collaboration with Colleges of the Fenway and Deloitte

  • Launched the Creative Economy Business Incubator at MassArt, a new course to support student entrepreneurship with guidance from faculty, industry experts, and visiting entrepreneurs

  • Completed 5th year interim accreditation report for January 2021 accepted by New England Commission for Higher Education (NECHE), our regional accreditor

Read the 2021 Annual Report


We pursue a just, compassionate, and equitable learning environment is the first phrase of our values statement and is the clear driver of our community to ensure that MassArt moves deliberately to be more just and equitable, and to do so with compassion.

Recently, we have worked to address retention and completion by:

  • Photography and Communication Design worked with Agncy to pilot a student-centered approach to creating a more equitable experience for students of color (part of Lumina grant). Agncy Consultants engaged academic areas in exploring inclusive pedagogy and curriculum through a community based lens. These studies are intended to build capacity to cultivate systemic equity throughout our academic areas.

  • The Board of Higher Education made a $10,000 FY22 Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Partnership (CDEP) award to MassArt’s Artward Bound program. CDEP provides opportunities to take college-level courses and get a head start on college careers to high school students who otherwise may not have access to an early-college experience.

  • Launched the senior BIPOC fund to provide financial support to students of color in their studio art practice, senior degree, and thesis projects. Inaugural fund awarded 21 students $100-600 in 2020-21.

  • Documented recent efforts and accomplishments to undo institutional racism in Racism, Response, and Renewal: 2016 MassArt Artists of Color Demands and 2021 Updates.

  • In October 2021, every MassArt student received a Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund grant check. A total of 1,852 checks representing $2,319,250 in funds were distributed to all students currently enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs. These grant funds, which students may use to cover any education-related expenses, were provided to the college through federal relief funds tied to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Mentoring programs were established in three academic departments, Communication Design, Illustration and Photography to provide support in career advice, affinity based critique through a cultural lens and skills to build confidence. This program was funded by the Lumina foundation and became a part of the operational budget Fall 2021.

MassArt’s first-year to sophomore retention rate for the 2019 entering cohort was 73%. Due to the pandemic, 60 students from the cohort of 2019 took a leave of absence in fall 2020.

For the most recent comparative data available, we have the fifth highest retention rate of our AICAD peers. The fall 2018-to-2019 rate also places MassArt among the top three Massachusetts state universities for fall-to-fall retention with the University of Massachusetts Amherst (91%) and Massachusetts Maritime Academy (87%). Maintaining a high first-year retention rate is a critical element in our commitment to increase both the six-year and four-year graduation rates.

MassArt’s six-year graduation rate for the 2013 entering first-year cohort was 71% — the third highest of our AICAD peer group. Our six-year graduation rate increased to 74% for the 2014 entering cohort. Aside from an anomaly in 2012, the six-year graduation rate has remained over 70% for first-year students entering MassArt since our partnership plan with MA renewed in 2016. The rate consistently ranks above the median for our AICAD peer group and in the top three of the Massachusetts state universities. The college affirms our commitment to maintain an average six-year rate above 70%, and to increase the number of students who complete their degrees in four years. The four-year graduation rate has increased in recent years, and is 60% for the 2014 cohort.

MassArt and the Board of Higher Education are committed to partnering together to close opportunity and completion gaps, and center our work on pursuing systemic equity on our campus and throughout the Commonwealth.