Robert Harper, dean of the Craig School of business
Written by Donald A. Promnitz
The Craig School of Business at Fresno State is getting ready for big changes as it adds new class space to accommodate its programs at the university.
Robert Harper, dean of the Craig School of Business, said the new class space is being built to accommodate its executive MBA and accelerated bachelor’s program. Ground is expected to break in June and will be ready by January 2019, when spring classes begin.
“In order to have enough space for the students to have their classes to graduate in a timely fashion — and certainly having students graduate in a timely fashion is a major priority for the whole campus and us — this will help a lot. Tremendously,” Harper said.
Harper elaborated that the accelerated bachelor’s program provides students with the last 60 units of a general business education in 15 months, with two classes taken on an accelerated basis two nights a week and every other weekend. The EMBA, meanwhile, meets on Saturdays for eight hours. Classroom space for the EMBA students, however, has become limited.
“We have to put them in a regular classroom, which is okay, but it doesn’t meet the quality we’d like to present, so we’ve been working towards two new classrooms — that’s what the project is,” Harper said. “And they will be somewhat similar to the current executive-style classroom we have.”
The 4,800-square-foot project is expected to cost $3.5 million and is being paid for by special program funding and private donations. Ruiz Foods pledged $1 million to the project last year.
“We are committed to giving back to our community. And what better way to build a future than by investing in our young people and their education,” said Kim Ruiz Beck, chairman for Ruiz Foods. “Not only are many Ruiz family members graduates of Fresno State, but so are quite a few Ruiz Team members in a wide variety of departments: research and development, IT, accounting, operations, etc.”
The new spaces, however, will not be exclusively for these programs and will be used by other students.
“It wouldn’t make any sense to build it and leave it empty for the week,” Harper said. “So it gives us additional space for regular classes as well.”
The Craig School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and has been since 1958. This is the same accreditation as Harvard Business School. Fresno State has also reached out to the Central Valley community by enlisting local businesspeople for part time teaching positions.
Harper said that there were between 25 and 30 professors working in this capacity in all of the school’s departments.