New business programs receive approval

Cody Luk
LV Life Editor

The University’s doctorate in business administration program, and its masters of science in leadership and management online program, were recently approved by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges to start in the fall 2015 semester.

Both programs were passed from the faculty senate to Provost Jonathan Reed and President Devorah Lieberman and finally WASC.

The DBA program is a four-year program designed to fit working professionals with at least five years of experience, such as business consultants, executives and professors.

It currently received interim approval, with full approval pending. The degree requirements consist of 54 semester hours and a dissertation.

Mehdi Beheshtian Ardakani, professor of decision sciences, was appointed by Dean of the College of Business and Public Management Abe Helou as the director of the DBA program. Beheshtian Ardakani has been involved with the program since 2004.

“This is a program a lot of executives and professors want to take to gain more experience to do their job right,” Beheshtian Ardakani said. “That’s the type of student we’re looking for.”

Faculty members are the core behind the implementation of the new programs.

“The faculty decides in the College of Business and Public Management,” said Rita Thakur, associate dean of College of Business and Public Manage­ment. “They had a vision for it, and they worked with the design. Responsibility always goes to faculty; administrators guide them. It’s faculty that makes the decision.”

The idea for the DBA program has been around for 10 years, and faculty members have been actively deciding on it for three years, Thakur said.

Many ULV students and professors have expressed desire to study for a DBA, Thakur said. However, there is currently only one WASC-approved DBA program in Southern California at the University of Southern California.

“I really strongly believe this is a program that is going to fill the need that people have,” Thakur said. “With this program, it would help (the students) with consulting in organizations and viewing the organization from another perspective in order to see the world with different eyes and in a different manner. The idea is not to see the world in one perspective.”

The purpose of the DBA program is to teach how different parts of an organization are all connected, and every decision has potential to cause a chain reaction. For example, one decision may affect the management information system, finance and the future strategy of a company. The program will also focus on forecasting the future.

The masters of science in leadership and management online program requires 33 semester hours of coursework, and its target students are working professionals wanting to improve their leadership and management skills.

“Masters of science in leadership and management has been very, very popular, because that program is basically concentrating on the human side and the management side of the organization,” Thakur said. “(The program is about) how do you get the best out of people, how to communicate and lead people better, how to use resources better and how do you plan with inclusion of people.”

The online program is the fourth such program for the College of Business and Public Management, currently the only school in ULV available entirely online. The first online program was started over 20 years ago.

Thakur previously taught in the online La Verne MBA program. She enjoyed it because many students were from different countries around the world.

“When you have an online program, you can reach a larger audience of students,” Thakur said.

At first, she was hesitant to teach virtually, but after trying it, she found many benefits not present in traditional classes.

“With the online programs, there are different dynamics, but everyone can speak, even the shy people,” Thakur said. “In person, only a few people can participate.”

Greig Locker, senior adjunct instructor of business, teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at the University.

He finds the new programs helpful to ULV as a marketing strategy, especially to students that do not know about the school.

“It’s a reason to attract people from outside that aren’t already here,” Locker said. “We have more products to offer.”

The first meeting for the DBA program was on May 2 with approximately 25 potential students. Many are alumni who learned about it through the ULV website or from word of mouth.

“I’m very excited,” Beheshtian Ardakani said. “We’re getting good responses.”

Although the information was online for only a little over a week and there were no press releases, many people are already aware of it, Thakur said.

“I’m so excited, I even want to join the program,” Thakur said, “Maybe I’ll attend some classes. There’s always something more to learn.”

The next informational meeting is 10 a.m. May 23 on the third floor of the Campus Center.

Cody Luk can be reached at

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