Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Graphic Design Celebrates Tenth Anniversary

In 2011, the Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) created the first low-residency MFA in graphic design. Founding Faculty Member and Academic Dean Matthew Monk likens curriculum design to exploring uncharted territory: “An educational model and pedagogical approach such as ours had never been attempted in graphic design education.” But the faculty believed that a student-centered, research-based graphic design program could thrive.

“We approached what we were doing as a massive experiment,” Monk explains. “We were so far removed from how any of us had ever taught or been taught. But we trusted our intuitions that the old ways of teaching design were not only outdated, but might never have been as effective as many would have us believe. VCFA’s program was built from the ground up, challenging the authority of mainstream voices and canons from day one.

Ten years later, this “massive experiment” has grown into a premier program for design education, thanks to a diverse and engaged global community of bold and curious teachers and students.

Bonita Tanaka (’13) recalls: “My first adviser was Nikki Juen. His verbal and visceral acknowledgment of me as a designer allowed me to breathe more deeply, move on from the external pressures of being a design professional, and become my own creative director and content creator.

Vic Rodriguez Tang (’22) joined the program amid the COVID-19 pandemic when residencies were forced to move online. However, Vic says, “I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything so far at VCFA. Faculty and other students provide a safe space during residency. My work just keeps getting better, mostly because I can really show up and do my best in that type of environment.

As a faculty member Ian Lynam note: “Other schools have changed the course of society aesthetically or through literature, but I feel that our collective efforts are changing society as a whole.”

About Vermont College of Fine Arts
Vermont College of Fine Arts is a global community of artists continually redefining what it means to be a college of the arts. It is accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and offers Master of Fine Arts degrees in Film, Graphic Design , music composition, visual arts, writing and writing. for children and young adults.

To learn more, visit

Abdul J. Gaspar