Now personally, I work in a far more free-form way than the academics ever did, in a manner of painting and drawing taught to me by teachers who'd be considered an anathema to the academics. But the AAA teaches a fine way to paint and its classes and instructors produce some amazing results. If it had been around at the time, or if I'd known of it, I would have been happy to undergone their rigorous three year curriculum and then later become more expressive with my own work.
Enjoy . . .