Campus & Community

Radcliffe sends arts seminars to Lesley

3 min read

The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study is sending its Radcliffe Seminars in Creative Arts to Lesley University so the institute can focus on its new, postmerger mission.

The move, announced Wednesday (Jan. 16) by Radcliffe Executive Dean Louise Richardson and Lesley University President Margaret McKenna, will shift the remaining seminars in fine art, art history, and creative writing to Lesley on July 1. Lesley has extended offers to current faculty to continue their duties in the new Lesley Seminars.

“These have been fabulous courses, which should have a chance to thrive elsewhere,” Richardson said.

Founded in 1909, Lesley is a multisite university with 13,000 students studying education, human services, management, and the arts. It has campuses in Cambridge and Boston and offers courses online and at sites in 15 states.

In a letter to current faculty of the seminars, McKenna, a former director of the Bunting Institute, said Lesley’s commitment to both the arts and to adult education will serve it well in preserving the best the seminars offer.

“The transfer of the Radcliffe Seminars programs in Creative Arts to Lesley University is an exciting development for all of us,” McKenna said. “We are grateful for the confidence the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study has shown in Lesley’s ability to be a good steward of these high-quality programs.”

After its merger with Harvard in 1999, Radcliffe College became the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Since then, its goal has been the creation of a scholarly community focused on developing new knowledge across a wide range of academic disciplines.

Richardson said the institute’s new educational offerings are still on the drawing board, but said they would be tied more closely to the research being done by institute faculty and fellows.

In December, the institute announced the move of the Seminars’ Landscape Design and Landscape Design History programs to Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, also effective July 1. The seminars were established in 1950 as a flexible, part-time continuing education program.

The move should benefit students in several ways, Richardson said. Students will be able to earn class credit for the courses, something they could no longer do at Radcliffe after the merger, Richardson said. In addition, Lesley’s existing programs, particularly those in art, should allow students to learn in more modern studios and facilities than were available at Radcliffe.

“Lesley University was our first choice when we began seeking a home for the visual arts and writing programs of Radcliffe Seminars,” Richardson said. “Lesley University’s emphasis on the arts, its commitment to adult education, as well as its nearby location in Cambridge all appealed to us. We believe that this is an exciting new step for continuing education in our community.”