The University Assembly voted late Wednesday to approve recommendations made by the university's Academic Council and Curriculum Committee to delete the Craft Center's five media options -- clay, glass, wood, metals and fibers -- and retain only bachelor of fine arts (BFA) degree options that can be taught on the main campus. The assembly's action passes the recommendation on to Tennessee Tech President Angelo Volpe.
University officials are still holding out hope, however, that the state legislature will provide complete funding for the facility and programs when it convenes early next year. It is expected that Volpe will delay passing the recommendation on to the Tennessee Board of Regents until legislative funding is no longer a viable option.
The Craft Center facility, which includes art studios, show and sales galleries, and student housing, is located near Center Hill Lake in Smithville, about 20 miles away from the university's main campus. The center was completed in 1979 and operated by the Tennessee Arts Commission as a regional entity with an academic program offered by Tennessee Tech. The university was assigned to operate the facility and the academic program in 1986.
Tennessee Tech began considering the elimination of the Craft Center's academic program earlier this year as a result of the university's $1.8 million budget shortfall for 1996-97 and predictions of another lean year ahead.