Westmont Goes Downtown


New Downtown Center Offers a Westmont Academic Semester on Social and Capital Entrepreneurship and Hosts a Pepperdine MBA Program

Westmont Downtown, a new, semester long academic program focusing on capital and social entrepreneurship, welcomes its first students this fall. Based on the third floor of the Hutton Parker Foundation Building at 26 W. Anapamu Street in Santa Barbara, the semester will connect students to 20-hour-per-week internships with local businesses and agencies. They will take classes downtown in entrepreneurship, leadership and management.

“Westmont Downtown will create opportunities and open direct partnerships with Santa Barbara-based businesses and social agencies,” says President Gayle D. Beebe. “We want to equip students with the skills and experiences they need to become social innovators, entrepreneurs and people who seek the global good. We’re grateful for the support of Tom Parker and the Hutton Parker Foundation for this program.”

Westmont seeks to place every junior and senior in a meaningful internship. “The best studies indicate that one of the most pivotal experiences for undergraduates is an internship or work experience that allows students to practice what they’ve learned in the classroom,” Beebe says. About 85 percent of the students who graduated in 2014 participated in an internship.

Rachel Winslow, a 20th century U.S. historian whose research and teaching interests include race, family, gender, childhood, and social policy, directs the new Center for Social Entrepreneurship and coordinates the Westmont Downtown semester. She earned a doctorate at UC Santa Barbara.

“I like to call this the global program based in Santa Barbara,” Winslow says. “Three elements characterize the semester: students learn by doing, engage locally and practice their faith. The curriculum thematically focuses on social entrepreneurship.”

Rick Ifland, director of the Eaton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and chair of Westmont’s Department of Economics and Business, will also teach in the program. A Westmont alumnus and successful entrepreneur, he earned an MBA at the University of Kentucky and a Master of Studies in international law at Oxford University.

Westmont and Pepperdine University have launched a partnership to offer a Santa Barbara-based, two-year, part-time MBA program in the downtown center through the nationally ranked Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management.

The Graziadio Business School Fully Employed program for working professionals focuses on participation and experiential learning by small cohorts. The general management concentration offers students the most popular electives. This new program allows recent undergraduates with limited work experience to advance their career with internship opportunities or professional employment while pursuing their MBA.

“The recovering economic climate offers greater opportunity for upward job mobility, and our MBA program meets the needs of professionals who seek the skills and network to more quickly ascend the ladder,” said David M. Smith, dean of the Graziadio School.

“We’re pleased to form this partnership with Pepperdine,” Beebe says. “As I’ve talked with alumni, including many business leaders, they’ve repeatedly asked us to offer graduate education in business. We’re committed to undergraduate education, so it made sense to pursue this new opportunity with Pepperdine, which shares our values and commitments and provides an acclaimed business program and an extensive alumni network. Our downtown location and extensive Southern California professional relationships ideally complement the MBA program.”

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