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ARCHIVED  December 1, 1995

UNC, UCD collaborate on joint MBA program

Call him a cheerleader, if you like, but Yash Gupta can hardly contain his enthusiasm.
He’s excited about a high-tech system that will bring the University of Colorado at Denver’s MBA program to the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and UNC’s undergraduate business courses to the downtown Denver campus.
Fueled by a $138,000 grant from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education that may be renewed for five years, the joint business-education program uses a two-way audio visual link to “beam” courses taught in Greeley to the UCD campus and vice versa.
“No state institution has the resources needed to put in brick and mortar, so the time is coming when we need to be able to pull in the best possible pieces from wherever it is available using technology, and that’s what we’re trying to do,´ said Gupta, dean of UCD’s College of Business Administration.
Gupta and Bob Lynch, dean of UNC’s College of Business Administration, expect to have the link on-line by fall 1996.
The high-tech component of the project will not increase the cost of taking courses for either degree program, Gupta said. Graduate courses now run $630 each, with 16 classes required to earn a masters of business administration degree.
UNC has a fully accredited undergraduate business-administration and accounting sequence that offers a broad spectrum of business courses and specialty programs, including a student-managed fund. The senior-level course in investments allows students to manage and invest a $300,000 fund. Lynch said UNC’s offerings complement UCD’s general business degree.
“We add a dimension to [UCD’s] undergraduate program, add a depth and quality to their undergraduate offerings,” Lynch said. “At the same time, they bring a first-class master’s program into this region. You’re seeing two different institutions share resources and cooperate in delivering academic programs. Rather than us build a masters, it becomes a win-win situation for both of us.”
UCD’s master’s program is well regarded nationally, especially for its work in accounting research and scholarly publishing in the field of management information systems. The program was recently reaccredited by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business — a ranking attained by only about 22 percent of American business schools — and recently applied for a separate accreditation for its accounting program. It is the largest graduate program in business in the state, with more than 1,400 students enrolled in the program geared for nontraditional students, Gupta said.
R”We specialize in helping companies to upgrade their human wealth,” Gupta said. “Look at the Greeley area. There, you have HP, Monfort and other major high-tech corporations, yet those employees have no access to a masters program of a very high caliber.”
While nontraditional students may be highly motivated to enroll in a graduate program, that desire may be significantly chilled by family and work pressures combined with a 100-mile round-trip drive to the Denver campus.
“Traditionally, we said, RYou come to the university,’ ” Gupta said. “Now the university will come to you.”
Gupta views the experiment in real-time distance learning as an investment in the state’s economic future.
“Eighty percent of our students after graduating stay in Colorado,” Gupta said. “If the State of Colorado invests in them, it will get a return.”
Though some of the logistics of the program are still being hammered out, Lynch said about two-thirds of his 40-member faculty has indicated interest in participating in the program, even though it will mean revamping the way courses are delivered.
“We will be expanding the size of the classroom to include those students in Denver via technology,” Lynch said. “The technology requires a little different presentation format because the professor is dealing with two groups of students, one a live group in front of him, and one a live group he sees on a group of monitors.”
Faculty members will be assisted by a remote-site administrator, who will collect assignments and proctor exams, for example. Office hours and conferencing will be handled via telephone, Internet and e-mail, on-site office hours and perhaps by video conferences before and after class.
Both schools will acquire technical equipment and use existing campus video set-ups.
Lynch said that although he has not made any formal recruiting announcements about the two UCD classes that will be offered at Greeley next fall, he has already had a half-dozen inquiries about the program.
The response is no surprise to Gupta. This spring, UCD will offer its first telecommunicated classes at Mesa State University in Grand Junction, where he expects about 15 Western Slope students to enroll in a course on managing teams. The offering is sort of an introduction to Mesa’s stand-alone MBA program, which will debut next fall.
Noting that at the moment, the MBA programs closest to Grand Junction are in Denver and Boulder, Gupta said the arrangement with Mesa, again, was born out of UCD’s mission statement.
“None of the universities really cared that the Western Slope existed. Yet it has the highest growth potential in the state, and it is a hot-bed of entrepreneurship.
“The program is self-funded, and the reason is simple: We really mean what we said in terms of our mission. We truly believe those individuals should have equal access to education, whether they are on the Front Range or the Western Slope.”

Call him a cheerleader, if you like, but Yash Gupta can hardly contain his enthusiasm.
He’s excited about a high-tech system that will bring the University of Colorado at Denver’s MBA program to the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and UNC’s undergraduate business courses to the downtown Denver campus.
Fueled by a $138,000 grant from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education that may be renewed for five years, the joint business-education program uses a two-way audio visual link to “beam” courses taught in Greeley to the UCD campus and vice versa.
“No state institution has the resources needed to…

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