At Brooks Institute, we offer more than an education. We provide a learning experience that attracts a diverse student body of aspiring professionals with one common goal: to pursue careers in the visual, new media, and communication arts. Our specialized bachelor’s and master’s degree programs combine the rigor of classroom instruction with real-life, practical application to help develop well-rounded graduates who prepare for the complex and changing demands of their chosen career.
Get To Know Us
As a student at Brooks Institute, you can join a thriving community of professionals, faculty and alumni who share your enthusiasm and excitement for visual arts. Use the links below to explore more about us, as well as the beautiful, rich surrounding Ventura community where we live.
Brooks Institute Mission
Brooks Institute educates a diverse student body of aspiring professionals to pursue careers in the visual, new media, and communication arts.
Our multi-disciplinary approach promotes collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity to develop graduates who are technologically adept and visually sophisticated with high standards of professional ethics.
Brooks Institute’s faculty of industry professionals and academics offer experiential learning to prepare students for a life of continuous learning in complex and changing environments.
Institutional Student Learning Outcomes
Brooks Institute’s expectation is that all graduates meet our Institutional Student Learning Outcomes to be prepared for their careers.
In support of the Institute’s mission, Brooks Institute’s goals and learning outcomes are:
Visual Literacy: Graduates are visually sophisticated.
Adept: Graduates are career-ready as demonstrated by their ability to apply their body of knowledge using relevant tools and diverse skills.
Ethics: Graduates are able to identify, articulate, and apply ethical principles in their community and professional life.
Communication: Graduates are able to communicate clearly and effectively.
Problem Solver: Graduates integrate ideas, methods, practices, and theories across broad and specialized knowledge realms using critical thinking and analytical skills.
Collaboration: Graduates work collaboratively to achieve a common goal.
Global: Graduates exhibit an understanding of the interconnectedness and diversity of cultures and environments in a global society.
History of Brooks Institute
Brooks Institute has a rich history since its inception in 1945. Learn more about this California film & photography school. Originally established as the Brooks Institute of Photography, Brooks Institute has a longstanding history that began when Ernest Brooks, Sr., founded the school in 1945 in Santa Barbara, Calif. Brooks, who served in the army air force during World War II as a procurement officer, developed a training program for bomber gunners in which he had them use cameras to “shoot” fighter planes, and the filmed results could then be evaluated.
Brooks Institute’s first group of 12 students were World War II veterans seeking to learn photography skills on the GI Bill. Brooks felt that the discipline of photography was becoming ever more specialized and technical. He established a teaching model still used today, in which students are taught by specialists with an emphasis on hands-on experience and individual initiative.
The original core curriculum was developed around economics, public speaking, and business management. Brooks passed his legacy on to son Ernest Brooks II, who added portraiture, underwater and scientific photography, and motion picture production.
Since then, Brooks Institute has evolved with the rapidly changing climate of the visual arts industry and currently operates as a private, four-year media and communication arts college. The college houses two campuses, one in Santa Barbara and one Ventura, Calif., where staff, faculty and students still reflect the vision of its founder through the college’s “learning by doing” approach.
Ernest Brooks, Sr.’s goal was always to develop photographers into successful people both in business and in life. Brooks Institute continues to pursue that goal through an expansive offering of degree programs including a Masters of Fine Arts in Photography, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Professional Photography, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film, Bachelor of Science in Visual Journalism and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design.
Today, Brooks Institute stands firmly on its more than 70 years of foundation of innovative education, built carefully over the years by its presidents, including Ernest Brooks, Sr., and Ernie Brooks II, as well as a dedicated faculty and staff. Over the years, there also have been many industry “friends” that have joined and supported the school’s efforts, among them Samy’s Camera, Kodak, Mole-Richardson, Epson, Nikon, Canon, Leica, Hensel, Mamiya, Calumet, the National Press Photographer’s Association, the American Society of Media Photographers, The Travel Channel and many others.
Also integral to the Brooks Institute history are those who have passed through its halls – the thousands of alumni who have gone on to achieve success in their work and lives. Many have garnered high acclaim and won national and international awards for their outstanding work. Many have shaped the future of the photography industry through their use of new techniques and technologies. Many have made a difference in other ways as well, by giving back to their communities through their photography, film or video and graphic design abilities. They are, figuratively speaking, part of the emulsion that binds the image of the past with the promise of the future.
Brooks Institute thrives, and Ernest H. Brooks, Sr. would have every right to be proud of the school he created, a school that is truly a legacy to generations. If he were here today, perhaps he would offer his familiar close-lipped smile and the standard Brooks sign-off …
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