Brooks Institute

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with Brooks College.
Brooks Institute
Brooks logo.jpg
Motto Passion. Vision. Excellence.
Established 1945
Type For Profit
President Edward Clift [1]
Provost Victoria Liptak
Location Ventura and Santa Barbara, California, U.S.
Campus Suburban
Website Brooks Institute

The Brooks Institute is an arts college centered on the visual arts based in Ventura, with a satellite campus and gallery in Santa Barbara, in Southern California. [2] It was formerly known as the Brooks Institute of Photography, originally based in Montecito and Santa Barbara. [3]

Brooks Institute is a for-profit higher education institution, that offers four majors and one graduate program. The programs are: Bachelors of Arts in Professional Photography, Film and Video Production, Graphic Design, and Visual Journalism; and a Masters of Fine Art in Photography. [4] The college is owned by Gphomestay.[1]

The college has consolidated and moved most operations from Santa Barbara to the Ventura Campus. [2]


Brooks family[edit]

Brooks Institute of Photography was founded in 1945 by Ernest H. Brooks, Sr. over a bakery on State Street in Santa Barbara, California. [3][5] The school's first photography students were primarily World War II veterans supported by the G.I. Bill. [5]

In 1952, the Brooks family purchased the former David Gray estate 'Graholm' located on Alston Road in Montecito, a community adjacent to Santa Barbara. [5][3] 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, when he became board chairperson. He died in 1990. [5] His personal passion for underwater photography inspired the underwater still photography and video courses that started in the late 1960s, and continue to the present day.

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 from 1971 until 1999. [5] He continued to expand the Brooks Institute of Photography facilities.

In 1976 Brooks purchased the former Jefferson School in the Riviera neighborhood of Santa Barbara, that had been slated for demolition, and opened the Brooks Jefferson Campus.[5]

Brooks Institute has been involved in many extraordinary projects in recent years, but this forward vision and involvement was happening even in the 1980s when the Institute was permitted to photograph the Shroud of Turin. Professor Vernon Miller, then head of the Industrial/Scientific program, led a team of photographers as they photographed the cloth for documentation and study.

Career Education Corporation ownership[edit]

In 1999 the Brooks Institute of Photography was sold by Ernest H. Brooks, Jr. to Career Education Corporation (CEC), a for-profit higher education corporation. [6] CEC expanded the school. That included the acquisition of an 8 acres (3.2 ha) former movie production studio in Ventura in 2002, from which to base the school's motion picture program, later becoming the Ventura Campus for consolidating the entire school. [3] [7]

In 2007, the school changed its name to the Brooks Institute, from the Brooks Institute of Photography.

In 2011, Brooks Institute moved its programs and offices located on the Brooks Jefferson Campus in Santa Barbara to the new Ventura Campus. [5][3] In 2014 it moved the programs, library, and offices at the Mason Street Campus (Santa Barbara) to the Cota Street Campus in Downtown Santa Barbara, before the final move to the Ventura Campus. [3][7]

Campus consolidation[edit]

In 2013 Brooks announced its consolidation of all its educational programs to the Ventura Campus, and departure from Santa Barbara planned for 2015. [7] [8] From the Cota Street Campus in Santa Barbara, it moved its Professional Photography baccalaureate program in Autumn 2013 and MFA in Photography in Autumn 2014 to its now solo Ventura Campus, where the other baccalaureate programs in Film, Graphic Design, and Visual Journalism were already located.[7]

In May 2015 the Brooks Cota Street Campus in Santa Barbara became a satellite facility, upon final consolidation at the Ventura Campus.[2]

Gphomestay ownership[edit]

In June 2015 the Brooks Institute was sold by CEC to Gphomestay—Massachusetts Homestay Company, a Waltham, Massachusetts-based company that specializes in finding homes for international students studying abroad in the United States.[9] [10] [11] In July Gphomestay announced Edward Clift as president, and Victoria Liptak as provost of Brooks.[12]

Degree Programs[edit]

Brooks Institute has five separate academic programs: [4]

Main entrance to the Brooks Ventura Campus.

Campus and student life[edit]

Brooks Institute completed consolidating all its visual arts education programs and facilities for new students onto one campus in the Autumn of 2014, the Ventura Campus, located on North Ventura Avenue in the city of Ventura. [7][2] The Professional Photography Program and MFA, Visual Journalism, Film and Video Production, and Graphic Design programs' classes share the single campus, "providing cross-platform opportunities in one location." The Brooks Library is on the campus, containing thousands of books, journals, and other publications and media.

Brooks Institute has two public art galleries that display student, faculty, alumni, and guest photographer work: the Gallery 27 at the former Cota Street Campus in Santa Barbara; and the Visions Gallery in Ventura, operated in conjunction with the Marriott Ventura Beach.[13]

Ventura Campus[edit]

The Ventura campus houses faculty and administrative offices and offers services such as counseling, financial aid, academic affairs, admissions, accounting, career services and the library.[2]

Students filming a project on the on-campus movie set "The Mexican Village".

Before Brooks Institute acquired the Ventura Campus and renovated its buildings into for the school, the property was used by 'Hollywood' movie production companies to shoot motion pictures. The Ventura Campus contains professional sound stages, a screening room, digital video editing studios, a post-production facility, and a movie backlot with an outdoor movie set. [2]

Scenes from both Titanic and Cast Away were shot on there. In 2010 "The Mexican Village" movie set was used for filming the feature film Without Men, directed by Gabriela Tagliavini.

Visual Journalism

The Visual Journalism Program has a documentary focused class. This is a class based program that all Brooks undergraduates can participate in. The documentary class takes students all over the world to document various cultures. Students spend a scholastic session (approximately 2 months) in another country and return to California to edit a multimedia presentation. The documentary class has taken students to many countries, including: Ireland, India, Mexico, Cuba, West Africa, Czech Republic, Costa Rica, Australia, Argentina, China and Chile.

In 2010, documentary program students went to Vietnam, led by photographer Nick Ut. Also in 2010, documentary program students went to Chile, and raised nearly $7,000 for the Chile Earthquake Relief Program.


Brooks is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools which offers accreditation to mostly vocational schools. [14]

National accreditation should not be confused with regional accreditation, such as the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). 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.[15]

In August 2008, Brooks Institute successfully completed, "Eligibility," the first step to receiving regional accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).[14] [16] This application process takes several years and is not a guarantee that the school will ever receive regional accreditation. As of Autumn 2015 Brooks was still without regional accreditation.[14]


In July 2005, the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education (BPPVE) accused the Brooks Institute of Photography and its then parent corporation Career Education Corporation of persuading prospective students to enroll by "willfully misleading" them, and "falsifying and omitting critical information." [17][18][19] 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.[20] Although Brooks ultimately received unconditional renewal of its license, it settled with a class action lawsuit for $12,250,000.[21][22]


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.[23] The restructuring was in addition to the faculty who had been 'seemingly dismissed' in recent years. Together these created tensions at Brooks Institute going back to January 2007.[24]

In 2015 Gphomestay purchased the Brooks Institute from Career Education Corporation, and appointed new leadership. [10][1]

Notable faculty + alumni[edit]

Some notable alumni and faculty include:


  • Cecily Rhett, Film faculty, editor A&E’s “Biography,” ABC’s “The Bachelor,” FOX’s “Hell’s Kitchen,”.
  • Paul F. Ryan, Film faculty, director of Home Room
  • Bill Robbins, Pro Photo faculty, award winning advertising photographer based in Los Angeles, see CA Magazine Photo Awards (
  • Paul B. Margolis, writer of MacGyver and The Sentinel.
  • Judy Trotter, Film faculty and member of The Director's Guild of America for over 20 years; and a working member of the film industry for 35 years as an associate director, assistant director, stage manager and producer.[25]
  • Tracy Trotter, Film faculty member and principal of Trotter Productions, received his third Emmy in 2008 for directing the Public Service Announcement, "Voter." [26]
  • Karl Ulrich, Film Faculty, he directed two award-winning short films and is currently directing and producing a feature-length documentary on the art of cinematography, with over 30 prominent ASC members participating. [27]


  • Douglas Bizzaro, Fashion photographer, clients include Jean Paul Gaultier and Chrome Hearts. [28][29]
  • Emy Kat, 1997, photographer.
  • Javier Manzano, winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for his work in Syria.[30] He has also won two World Press Photo awards.[31]
  • Stephen McGee, Visual Journalism alumnus, earned his third Emmy in 2008 for his project, "Forty Years of Respect." [16]
  • James Neihouse, 1976 Professional Photography graduate, works with IMAX as their Director of Photography.[32]
  • Matt Revolter, film producer & photographer.
  • Mike Sroka, photographer and author of the book Snowbirds: Behind The Scenes With Canada's Air Demonstration Team. [33]
  • Michael Thompson, photographer; clients include W, Details, Allure, Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, Tiffany & Co., and DeBeers.[34]
  • Cornelius Uliano and Bryan Schulz. Writers and Producers of the upcoming "Peanuts" movie in association with 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios.
Film program alumni

The film program at Brooks Institute began in the mid-1950s. Graduates include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Brooks Institute Announces New President". July 2, 2015. Retrieved July 31, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Brooks Brooks Institute Campuses . accessed 9.25.2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Brooks History . accessed 9.25.2015
  4. ^ a b Brooks Degree Programs . accessed 9.25.2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Santa Barbara "Brooks Institute History", by Michael Redmon, 21 June 2012.
  6. ^ Career Education Brooks Institute homepage . accessed 9.25.2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e Noozhawk Santa Barbara: "Brooks Institute Consolidating Campuses in Preparing to Leave Santa Barbara", by Gina Potthoff, 20 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Brooks Institute to Begin Multi-Year Consolidation of Santa Barbara Campuses into Ventura Location", Business Wire via The Motley Fool, 14 June 2013.
  9. ^ Noozhawk Santa Barbara: "Brooks Institute Sold to Massachusetts Homestay Company", by Gina Potthoff,, 18 June 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Career Education Corp Transfers Ownership of Brooks Institute to gphomestay", 18 June 2015.
  11. ^ Gphomestay website
  12. ^ "New Leadership Announced at Brooks Institute". July 1, 2015. Retrieved July 31, 2015. 
  13. ^ Brooks Galleries . accessed 9.25.2015.
  14. ^ a b c Brooks Accreditation & Affiliations
  15. ^ [1][dead link]
  16. ^ a b "Photography School and Film School - Brooks Institute". Retrieved 2015-07-02. 
  17. ^ "Dennis Dunleavy". Retrieved 2015-07-02. 
  18. ^ "Calif. Reins In a For-Profit College". Retrieved 2015-07-02. 
  19. ^ Morgenson, Gretchen (2005-07-24). "The School That Skipped Ethics Class". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  20. ^ [2][dead link]
  21. ^ [3][dead link]
  22. ^ [4][dead link]
  23. ^ [5][dead link]
  24. ^ "Ventura County Reporter - Tensions flare at Brooks Institute of Photography". Retrieved 2015-07-02. 
  25. ^ "Brooks Institute". Retrieved 2015-08-19. 
  26. ^ [6][dead link]
  27. ^ "Brooks Institute". Retrieved 2015-08-19. 
  28. ^ McNally, Greer, “Douglas Bizzaro + Elizabeth Moss”, Digital Photographer magazine, 2005, (p. 42) Issue 31 Highbury Entertainment Ltd, Paragon House
  29. ^ "Douglas Bizzaro Photography". 
  30. ^ "The Pulitzer Prizes | Works". 2012-10-18. Retrieved 2015-07-02. 
  31. ^ "Javier Manzano". Retrieved 2015-07-02. 
  32. ^ "News Government & Politics - FLORIDA TODAY -". FLORIDA TODAY. 
  33. ^ "9781894856867 Snowbirds: Behind the Scenes with Canada's Air Demonstration Team by". Retrieved 2015-07-02. 
  34. ^ "Containers". Retrieved 2015-07-02. 

External links[edit]