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Potsdam Prepared: Spring 2022 Updates

SUNY Potsdam Announces New Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Art Education

August 12, 2021

SUNY Potsdam Launches BFA Program in Art Education (Pre-K to Grade 12) 

SUNY Potsdam is proud to announce its new Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program in art education, leading to New York State teaching certification for Prekindergarten to Grade 12. The rigorous BFA program will prepare students for creative and fulfilling careers in art education. 

This program is a natural extension of SUNY Potsdam’s long history (205 years and counting) in teacher education and its status as one of three arts campuses within the SUNY System, said Professor Caroline J. Downing, chair of the Department of Art. 

“I am sure that this new program will be a success, just like our degree in music education. SUNY Potsdam will continue to be a leader in the arts and education, in New York State and beyond,” Downing said. Art education students will receive guidance and support from both our experienced art faculty, and from our nationally recognized School of Education and Professional Studies.” 

Art education majors will immerse themselves in the unique artistic environment offered at SUNY Potsdam, with many opportunities to hone their craft in the traditional fine art studio areas and complete foundational coursework in art history, theory and criticism. They’ll also benefit from interactive classes in pedagogy and curriculum design, as they go on to complete student teaching placements and field experiences in districts across the state and beyond, as well as with local organizations such as the North Country Children’s Museum. Students will be able to develop close relationships with faculty mentors and work with Potsdam’s broad network of alumni working in art education and creative fields across the country. 

SUNY Potsdam previously offered a joint art education program, in which students could earn certification in the field by completing their degree at St. Lawrence University. Potsdam began developing its own standalone program a couple years ago, after learning that St. Lawrence would soon be making changes to the major. The last students to complete the joint program will graduate in Spring 2022, and all new students will now earn their BFA degrees entirely at Potsdam. 

“I’m very happy that they’re switching the program to be all here. It feels like you’re really getting your degree from SUNY Potsdam, so it’s nice to keep it all in house,” said Cashlynn (Jaggers) Colbert ’19, who majored in art education at SUNY Potsdam and is now teaching art at Salmon River Central School. “Being able to study with the groups together on campus at SUNY Potsdam without having to go back and forth will be really nice.” 

Cashlynn (Jaggers) Colbert ’19 poses for a portrait with one of her paintings.

Students intending to pursue the degree must first declare the studio art major and then apply for the program. They must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher to be admitted and must maintain that average throughout their time in the program.  

SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Art offers both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degree programs in art history, art education, studio art, fine arts, and graphic design and new media. Graduates have gone on to pursue professions in the fine arts, art administration, art therapy, digital design, K-12 and university teaching, museum curation, audio/visual administration, publishing, gallery ownership, interior design, architecture, commercial printing, pattern making, photojournalism, studio ceramics and more. For more information, visit 

The School of Education and Professional Studies at SUNY Potsdam has been preparing educators for more than 200 years. To learn more, visit 

About SUNY Potsdam:  

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit 

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