Don Tuski, president of the Pacific Northwest College of Art is leaving for the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, a school with roughly twice the enrollment of PNCA.
Tuski has led Oregon’s largest art college since 2016.
During his tenure, the school’s enrollment grew to almost 600 students, and campus leaders grappled with the cost of renovating the school physical plant.
It’s a tumultuous time for higher education in the arts more broadly, with several other Portland-area schools recently cutting back or closing entirely.
Scott Musch, chair of PNCA’s board of governors, says the board is happy for Tuski.
“Many other Oregon colleges have recently or are currently going through that process,” he said. “I think it’s kind of a natural order of how these things [have] got to go. But the news is hard.”
Musch says he hopes the strategic plan Tuski worked on will help guide PNCA’s path forward. He added that PNCA’s enrollment rose 18% over the past two years.
Some of those gains may have resulted from problems at some of PNCA’s peer institutions. Oregon College of Art and Craft is ending its degree program this spring. Marylhurst University and the Art Institute of Portland both closed last year, leaving some students looking for other options.
The PNCA board has launched a transition planning process. Musch says the board does not want to rush and will appoint an interim president to allow time for an unhurried and thorough search.
Tuski starts his new job July 1.