Brooks Institute

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Brooks Institute
Brooks logo.jpg
MottoPassion. Vision. Excellence.
TypeFor Profit
PresidentSue Kirkman
LocationSanta Barbara, California, USA
WebsiteBrooks Institute
  (Redirected from Brooks Institute of Photography)
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Not to be confused with Brooks College.
Brooks Institute
Brooks logo.jpg
MottoPassion. Vision. Excellence.
TypeFor Profit
PresidentSue Kirkman
LocationSanta Barbara, California, USA
WebsiteBrooks Institute

Brooks Institute is a system of two for-profit arts colleges based in Santa Barbara, California and Ventura, California, owned by Career Education Corporation.[1] Formally known as Brooks Institute of Photography, Brooks Institute offers four majors and one graduate programs. The Professional Photography and Masters of Fine Arts in Photography programs are based in Santa Barbara. The Design, Film and Video Production, and Visual Journalism programs are based in Ventura.


Brooks Institute of Photography was founded in 1945 by Ernest H. Brooks, Sr. over a bakery on State Street in Santa Barbara, California. The school's first photography students were primarily World War II veterans supported by the GI Bill. In 1952, the Brooks family acquired the Graholm Estate in present-day Montecito, California. This served as the home of Brooks Institute of Photography, as well as for Ernest H. Brooks, Sr.'s growing family.

Ernest H. Brooks, Sr. stayed on as president of the school until 1971 and died in 1990. At the time of his retirement as president, his son, Ernest H. Brooks, Jr. stepped into his father's shoes and served as the school's president. During his tenure as president, Ernest Brooks, Jr. continued to expand the school. His personal passion for underwater photography inspired the underwater video and still photography courses that started in the late '60s and continue to this day.[2]

The school was sold by Ernest H. Brooks, Jr. to Career Education Corporation (CEC) in 1999. Since then, CEC has expanded the school, including the acquisition of a former production studio in which to base the school's motion picture program. In 2007, the school changed its name from Brooks Institute of Photography to Brooks Institute.[3]

In June 2013 Brooks announced that it will consolidate its educational programs on its Ventura campus by moving photography to the same campus as visual arts.[4]

Programs of study[edit]

Brooks Institute has eight separate academic programs.


Professional Photography, based in Santa Barbara, focuses on the following areas of specialization: Digital Imaging, Commercial, Advertising, Industrial/Scientific, Portraiture and Digital Media.

Film and Video Production, based in Ventura, is a study of filmmaking and production techniques, including proposals and budgeting, scripting, directing, and editing. Majors include, Feature Filmmaking, Commercial Filmmaking, Visual Effects and Animation.

Visual Journalism, based in Ventura, concentrates on teaching photojournalism.

Design is based in Ventura.

Master of Fine Arts in Photography, based in Santa Barbara, is a 61 credit, two-year program. The MFA program allows students to benefit from higher technical, aesthetic and practical knowledge.

Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting, based in Ventura, the new graduate program established in 2009 focuses on Hollywood standard screenwriting.

The Santa Barbara "Jefferson Campus"
The Entrance of the Ventura Campus

Campus and student life[edit]

Brooks Institute has two main campuses, both located in Santa Barbara, California and Ventura, California. The Professional Photography Program facilities are located at the Santa Barbara campus. The Visual Journalism, Film and Video Production and Graphic Design classes are located at the facilities in Ventura. Brooks also has two libraries, one in Santa Barbara and one in Ventura, that contain thousands of books, journals and other publications.[3]

Brooks Institute also has two public art galleries that display student, faculty, alumni, and guest photographer work. Brooks Institute's Gallery 27 is located at the Cota Street campus in Santa Barbara. The Visions Gallery is operated in conjunction with the Marriott Ventura Beach in Ventura.

In 2011, Brooks Institute removed its facilities from the Jefferson campus and is now primarily located in the Cota and Mason Street campuses. Respectively, the Ventura campus is still running its usual programs.


Brooks is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools[3] which offers accreditation to mostly vocational schools.

National accreditation should not be confused with regional accreditation. Regionally accredited public and private colleges, such as UCLA, USC, UC Santa Barbara, Harvard and Stanford University, often do not accept transfer credits from nationally accredited schools. Credits earned at a nationally accredited school are not transferable to most four-year institutions.[5]

In August 2008, Brooks Institute successfully completed, "Eligibility," the first step to receiving regional accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).[6] This application process takes several years and is not a guarantee that the school will ever receive regional accreditation.


In July 2005, the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education (BPPVE) accused Brooks Institute of Photography and its parent corporation Career Education Corporation of persuading prospective students to enroll by "willfully misleading" them, and "falsifying and omitting critical information." [7][8][9] Brooks was given only a conditional approval to operate for the next two years with a hearing scheduled for February 2006, and ordered to provide "equitable restitution" to students going back to 1999. However, Brooks appealed the decision and at the hearing the judge determining that BPPVE had not complied with the mandatory provisions of the Education Code, and that it had wrongly denied Brooks Institute an opportunity to contest the Bureau's action prior to the time it was imposed. The California Department of Consumer Affairs (which oversees BPPVE) later reached the same conclusion.[10] Although Brooks ultimately received unconditional renewal of its license, it settled with a class action lawsuit for $12,250,000.[11][12]


In November 2008, Brooks laid off five faculty members and 12 staff members as part of a restructuring. The school reports that its enrollment dropped from 2,300 in 2004 to 1,200 in 2008.[13] This recent restructuring is in addition to the faculty who had been 'seemingly dismissed' in recent years; together these created tensions at Brooks tracing back to about January 2007.[14]

In May 2010, Roger Anderson left his post as president of Brooks Institute. Respectively, Sue Kirkman was hired shortly after. As of late 2010, Kirkman plans to continue the reconstruction of Brooks, which includes the transition of accreditations and repairing the school's public reputation to the prestigious title it once held.

Notable alumni, faculty, and students[edit]

Students shooting a project on the on-campus film set called "The Mexican Village".

The film program at Brooks Institute began in the mid-1950s. Graduates include: Isidore Mankofsky, Cinematography for The Muppet Movie and Somewhere in Time; Dominick Palmer, Cinematography on the TV series M*A*S*H; Robert Legato, Academy Award winner for Best Effects (Digital Domain) on the movie Titanic, Visual Effects Supervisor for The Aviator and Visual Effects on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone; and most recently, graduate Boris Undorf, Best Cinematography at Visionfest for his film Sonata.[15]

Some notable alumni and faculty include:



Coordinates: 34°25′05″N 119°41′48″W / 34.4181°N 119.6968°W / 34.4181; -119.6968[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ CEC directory of schools
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c Brooks Institute website
  4. ^ Santa Barbara News Press: Santa Barbara will lose Brooks Institute to Ventura[dead link]
  5. ^ Types of Accreditation U.S. State Department website
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ California Agency Alleges Brooks Institute of Photography "Willfully" Misled Students, The Big Picture, July 28, 2005
  8. ^ Calif. Reins In a For-Profit College, Inside Higher Education, July 20, 2005
  9. ^ Morgenson, Gretchen (2005-07-24). "The School That Skipped Ethics Class". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  10. ^ Department of Consumer Affairs Invalidates Actions of California Bureau against Brooks Institute, Career Education Corp. press release, May 16, 2006
  11. ^
  12. ^ Career Education Corporation Announces Renewal of Unconditional Licensure for Brooks Institute of Photography, Yahoo Business, April 21, 2007
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ McNally, Greer, “Douglas Bizzaro + Elizabeth Moss”, Digital Photographer magazine, 2005, (p. 42) Issue 31 Highbury Entertainment Ltd, Paragon House
  20. ^ “Official website”
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ "agent official site"
  24. ^
  25. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Brooks Institute Cota Street Campus
  26. ^ The 2013 Pulitzer Prize Winners
  27. ^, 

External links[edit]