Elms College adds three new MBA programs in Chicopee

CHICOPEE – Elms College is adding a master’s degree in business administration this fall, which will include specialized programs for health care and accounting.

The master’s program was created because undergraduate accounting students who pass the exam to become certified public accountants still need 30 graduate credits to hold the title, said Kerry L. Calnan, director of master’s in business programs.

“We knew the need was out there. We worked with a trustee and it expanded,” she said.

At the same time, college officials learned from local business leaders that there was a need for a master’s program for health care employees, including nurses, who want to move into leadership jobs, said Walter C. Breau, vice president of academic affairs.

Since the bachelor’s degree for nursing is one of the top programs at the college, officials decided it would be a good fit, he said.

“We are building on something we already have,” Breau said.

The third program is a master’s degree in management, said Andrea L. Huston, a certified public accountant and assistant director of the degree programs.

Students in all three programs will take the same five core courses which include subjects such as managerial finance and leadership and current events and its impact on the economy. Students will also take courses related to their concentrations such as budgeting in health care, said David C. Kimball, professor of management and the chairman of the division of law.

Courses were created with the help of a panel of local business leaders who work in different fields. It will continue to meet four times a year to review course curriculums and discuss if new courses should be added, he said.

Some of those people will also serve as adjunct professors to give students a more hands-on feel for business. Others will be taught by existing faculty, Huston said.

There are some unique parts to the program, which were recommended by the team of business leaders.

“There will be a real focus on ethical and social responsibility,” Huston said. There will also be classes about legal issues business leaders will face and a community service component, she said.

Officials were expecting about 10 students for each track, but interest seems to be growing. Professors will know more after an open house about the new major is held at 6 p.m., Feb. 23 on the campus, Beau said.

The accounting program will be 30 credits and the other two will be 36 credits. The cost will be $650 for each credit, which is about average among colleges in Western Massachusetts, Calnan said.

Classes are designed to be flexible. A number will be so-called hybrid courses where a professor conducts lectures in person one week and does an online assignment a second week, Huston said.

The plan is to offer 11-week semesters and allow students to take two courses a semester, she said.

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