Maryland Institute College of Art

Love at First Sight with MICA’s Online Master of Professional Studies Programs

In 2018, Elsmere Education engaged with Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) to embark on a valuable partnership. MICA Vice Prost David Gracyalny and Elsmere President Justin McMorrow discuss how that partnership has contributed to the success and overall sustainable growth of MICA as an institution.

The Beginning of a Successful Partnership

MICA is recognized as a premier leader in art and design education, deliberately cultivating a new generation of artists. In 2011, they launched their first Masters of Professional Studies program. Although they saw a lot of success with the initial launch of the program, they acknowledged room for improvement after consistently enrolling a small quantity of students. They started investigating new ways to engage, recruit and retain more students, while maintaining a student-centric environment. Elsmere saw an opportunity to address these challenges, bringing their expertise to the table to help MICA grow as an institution and reach their goals.

“We were evaluating other organizations and we saw Elsmere as the best match for us in terms of what our scale was and what our goals were. It was kind of like love at first sight,”


In initial conversations, McMorrow recognized the great program MICA created and the opportunity to repackage those programs to address one of their main goals of enrolling more students into these programs.

Results Matter

With Elsmere’s help, MICA was almost immediately able to increase their start goals and launch two additional programs. In less than a year, MICA went from initially enrolling less than 10 students, to having 101 tuition deposits over two starts.

“We’re delighted with the results and we’re hoping that we can do the same with other programs that we already have, and hope to do the same with new programs,” said Gracyalny.

The Elsmere Difference

From the initial engagement, MICA recognized the different class of partnership Elsmere embodies. Unlike a traditional Online Program Management Company (OPM), Elsmere focuses on internal capacity building and transparency, providing our partners flexibility, ownership and visibility over every decision.

“Other organizations wanted us to really think in large numbers and the world is eager to see more students. We wanted to manage those students so that we didn’t undermine quality pedagogy.”

Elsmere’s approach enables institutions like MICA to quickly tackle challenges of today while laying the foundation for their institutional future.

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