The Art of SFCC’s Dual Credit

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Max Tischler wasn’t exactly sure about his career path when he signed up for SFCC’s Dual Credit Program as a sophomore in The MASTERS Program. Now, after taking art classes that sparked his creativity, he not only received Best of Show in SFCC’s first regional high school competition this year, he’s also headed to the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago this fall as a college freshman.

“I’m very excited,” Tischler said. “I haven’t been doing visual art my entire life, in the sense of being very passionate about it and seeing it as an actual career choice. But it definitely did click in my brain through the typography class in the Dual Credit Program. I was already drawn to graffiti and I had a sense of what I liked visually, and that had to do with typography. Taking that typography class showed me that I had good intuition when it came to typography but also design and composition and different elements of visual art.”

Tischler’s SFCC teacher, Arlyn Nathan, played a big role in encouraging his pursuit of art. “She reached out to me and my mom and told me that I could really go somewhere with visual art and design,” Tischler said. “She was very knowledgeable, and you could tell she was passionate about spreading her love for typography, not just the elements of letters but what they mean to her and how they can change the way we go about our lives just by appreciating letters more. She really pushed me, gave me a lot of support, and made me feel confident in my ability in visual arts. It wasn’t until then that I realistically considered going to art school.”


With more than 400 classes available to Dual Credit students at 20 partner schools in the Santa Fe area, SFCC’s program is a popular and successful way for high school students to experience college learning, while earning college credit and saving money. Last year, some 90 students enrolled in Dual Credit art classes. “What’s great about the arts program is that it’s very friendly to our Dual Credit students and what their interests can be,” said Marcos Maez, Director of Student Engagement & Recruitment. “We have a plethora of art classes. Drawing is a popular art class for students coming in because they don’t really have experience in art classes. If they want to continue down the pathway of a fine arts degree, they’re going to find that out in drawing class.”

“This spring, 760 students enrolled in Dual Credit, a strong showing considering the effects of the pandemic”, Maez said. And while the art classes are popular among Dual Credit students, there’s one program that consistently draws more students than any other. “Historically, the most popular Dual Credit classes over the last five years have been in our Film Program,” he said. That makes sense, given the many movie, television and other productions filming in the state and the exciting job opportunities they bring.

Whatever interests the high school students bring to their Dual Credit experience, they have ample opportunities to explore them. “Really the sky’s the limit,” Maez said. “The program gives them first-hand experience in freshman and sophomore college classes.”