By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Changes to the H.L. McLaughlin Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Organizational Leadership (MOL) programs took effect May 22 at St. Ambrose University.
During a press conference May 15, Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, St. Ambrose University’s president, noted that the university is keeping up with the ever-changing business landscape.
That response includes reducing the tuition to $675 per credit hour for seated, online or hybrid classes, she said. Previously, the rates varied. Additionally, the MOL program reduced its credit hour requirement from 36 to 30, which allows working professionals to complete the degree in five semesters.
She referred to St. Ambrose University’s spring commencement address May 11, when Samuel Allen, chairman and CEO of Deere & Co., said that 800 St. Ambrose alumni work at Deere. An additional 176 students were working at Deere and taking classes at St. Ambrose. More than 1,000 Deere retirees graduated from St. Ambrose.
St. Ambrose started its MBA program in 1977. Deere & Co. was its primary supporter. Companies throughout the Quad-City area encourage their employees to take learning opportunities and St. Ambrose helps meet that need, Sr. Lescinski said.
“We have listened and we have responded to make our programs more affordable and more accessible,” said Jamie Loftus, vice president of enrollment management. The reduction of electives saves time and money for students. “This is what the community is asking.” Loftus said students may take classes in person, on campus, online or a hybrid of face-to-face and online.
Maritza Espina, the College of Business dean, said St. Ambrose also offers a doctor of business administration (DMB) and master’s in accounting in addition to several undergraduate degrees. “Now, more than ever, graduate business education must adapt to the changing needs of the students. Students need flexibility in program delivery to account for the demands of work and home,” she said.
During the 2018-19 academic year, 100 students enrolled in St. Ambrose’s MBA program and 80 in the MOL program. The MBA program helps students desiring to build on their organization skills and to improve their performance. The MOL helps students develop leadership skills.
The changes to the MOL and MBA programs are being introduced as the College of Business prepares to make its home in a modernized McMullen Hall. At present, business classes are not centrally located.
The new design reflects a contemporary corporate business setting. The hallmark of the new construction will be a two-story, light-filled atrium, Espina said. Major design features will include six classrooms to accommodate new methods of learning and teaching, along with multiple lab spaces, a tiered lecture hall and a student commons area.
A state-of-the-art finance lab will give students in-depth experience with some of the leading technology and software in use by professionals today, Espina said. “This will better prepare our graduates and give them a competitive edge in the workplace.”
“Agility is not just for entrepreneurs,” Sr. Lescinski said. “A successful university must continually visualize and execute strategies that will improve the student experience and outcomes.”