The School of Business was previously housed in a building that was built in 1968 and designed for use by other types of academic programs. While the remodeled building had served business students adequately for 22 years, dynamic changes in the business world—including technology, regulation, and globalization—have changed the nature of today’s business education requirements. But given the outstanding record of achievement and growth in recent years, some might wonder why a new building was such a key component of the plan to meet these challenges.
Our facility was too small by the university’s own standards. For instance, one of the core components of a La Sierra University education is research, both on the graduate and undergraduate level. The new building now facilitates business research in several ways.
First, our graduate professors must carry a smaller academic load, allowing them to be more active in their research. The additional office spaces in the new building will provide bases for expansion of the graduate level professor group, enabling research while keeping academic loads appropriate. And by keeping our professors’ offices in close physical proximity, there’s increased potential for sharing ideas, and creative approaches to joint research projects
Second, the new building now supports the infrastructure necessary for new, more powerful technology that is so necessary in today’s research methods. It’s vital that the information processing and information gathering technology used by Zapara School of Business faculty and students be kept at state-of-the-art levels now and in the future.
The new building’s ability to support program growth will generate new income to support research activities. And the facility’s high visibility on campus will be a factor in raising the School of Business’s profile in the business community, making it easier to attract donor support to fund research activities.
This new facility will allow us to double our on-campus enrollment of undergraduate and MBA students—a target student population of roughly 750. Our previous building was bursting at the seams. There had been situations where we have had to limit enrollment in certain classes, or use less than ideal space in the current building just to have sufficient square footage to accommodate the student demand. We know from experience that teachers and students alike benefit when class sizes are small. Our enrollment targets are simply unachievable without additional classroom space.
Clearly, La Sierra’s School of Business needed a world-class facility—one that will fit current needs and serve students and faculty well in the future. Our needs are many. Additional space allows us to better collaborate and engage with the campus and our community, as well as accommodate increasing student enrollment. State-of-the-art technology will allow us to offer different approaches to education, and greatly expand our on-line offerings to students around the world.
The many strengths our new building brings to the School also will enhance the process of securing accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Students graduating from AACSB-accredited schools gain employment opportunities they might not otherwise have. At the same time, La Sierra University gains access to new groups of potential students, as many employers will sponsor students to attend accredited schools.
Our students deserve nothing less if we are to be successful in educating business leaders trained to act with integrity, while at the same time motivated to develop effective business solutions to social problems for a more just, sustainable world.
La Sierra University’s Zapara School of Business has arrived at a moment where we must rely on the commitment and dedication of all who believe in the School’s focus to create value, and make a difference. We recognize our obligation to create a better world. Students and faculty members will continue to play a vital role. But now our alumni and friends have before them an exciting chance to make a significant statement about the School’s contribution to their lives and careers. We thank them for their continued support.