Education

USC Roski MFA program suffers another blow to rebuilding effort

File photo: The resignation of a well-known arts professor from USC's Roski School of Art and Design deals another blow to the embattled school.
File photo: The resignation of a well-known arts professor from USC's Roski School of Art and Design deals another blow to the embattled school.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

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USC Roski School of Art and Design’s effort to rebuild its troubled master of fine arts program suffered another hit Friday with the resignation of a professor known for her cutting-edge films and photography.

"It was 100 percent the dismantling of the MFA program at USC that lead me to seek another job," said USC professor Sharon Lockhart in an email. She said she accepted a job at Cal Arts for the fall.

Her resignation follows the decision by all seven students of the first-year MFA program to resign in May after a dispute arose about changes in the school curriculum, tuition subsidies and assistantships.

Lockhart's resignation shocked UCLA art professor Catherine Opie. “Oh, wow. That’s huge,” Opie said when contacted. “The program is truly gutted.”

Lockhart is one of L.A.'s most important artists, Opie said, and is the second major art professor to leave USC.

USC did not respond to a request for comment.

Two months ago, the art school's dean, Erica Muhl, told the Los Angeles Times that her plans to rebuild the program included keeping core faculty professors.

Only one student had enrolled for the fall. 

Earlier this week, the MFA Class of 2015 delivered a letter to university's administrators and reported the results of a Change.org petition calling for Muhl's resignation, according to ArtNews.com.

As of Friday evening, 788 signatures had been collected.