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Regional Body Approves Desert Programs

Accrediting Body Okays UCR Palm Desert Programs

Western Association of Schools & Colleges approves MBA and Master of Fine Arts programs

(May 4, 2005)

The Richard J. Heckmann International Center for Entrepreneurial Management at UCR Palm Desert

The Richard J. Heckmann International Center for Entrepreneurial Management at UCR Palm Desert

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — — The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) has approved the proposal to have UCR Palm Desert offer masters’ degree programs in business and fine arts this fall, University of California, Riverside officials announced today.

The WASC Substantive Change Committee issued the approval in an email to university officials on April 21. Approval by the committee is recommended before a campus can offer more than half of a program at a site that is 25 miles or farther from the home campus, said Robert Gill, a consultant for UCR in the accreditation process. UCR Palm Desert is a satellite campus of UC Riverside, which is about 60 miles from the home campus.

“This is a key step in establishing high quality educational programs at UCR Palm Desert and sets a solid foundation for the development of future programs in a wide array of disciplines designed to address the issues confronting the region,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Ellen Wartella.

Geared to new college graduates, would-be entrepreneurs, and young executives, the MBA program at UCR Palm Desert will be taught at the Richard J. Heckmann International Center for Entrepreneurial Management in a collaborative between professors from the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCR and business executives and entrepreneurs who call the Coachella Valley home.

Concurrently with the Heckmann Center, UCR Palm Desert will offer a master of fine arts (MFA) degree in creative writing and writing for the performing arts. The degree program is being developed with faculty from the departments of creative writing, theatre, English, and the Film and Visual Culture Program at UC Riverside.

“Our new MBA and MFA programs are both highly creative and innovative, and we are pleased with WASC’s approval,” said Ken Walters, executive director of UCR Palm Desert.

As a regional accrediting body, WASC’s focus is primarily on accrediting institutions, but it also accredits programs, such as those at UCR Palm Desert, through the substantive change process. A substantive change is one which may significantly affect an institution’s quality, objectives, scope or control.



The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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