Cal Poly drops plans for Santa Barbara MBA classes

July 30, 2010

In a sign that some see as an omen of the post-Warren Baker era, Cal Poly is abruptly dropping previously announced plans to offer an MBA program in Santa Barbara. [Pacific Business Times]

University officials made the announcement Friday, indicating that the decision was in response to a request from California State University Chancellor Charles Reed.

Reed prefers the Santa Barbara degree program  be offered through the Channel Islands campus instead, given its closer proximity.

Channel Islands, which is based near Camarillo, plans to launch its MBA program in the fall of 2011. Cal Poly was ready to go a year earlier, but on July 21 the top officials at Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business said they were delaying the launch by at least a semester, at the request of the chancellor’s office.

Then Reed’s office officially notified Cal Poly last Wednesday that they would have to cancel the program.

Cal Poly, which spent 18 months developing the MBA program, had recruited instructors, started accepting applications, put together a schedule of classes and reserved space at the Canary Hotel in downtown Santa Barbara. An informational meeting about the program on July 21 drew 72 potential students.

The decision comes as Warren Baker officially ends his tenure as president of Cal Poly. Friday was scheduled to be his last official day before retiring after more than 30 years in office. Interim president Dr. Robert Glidden is already on campus.

“What you’re seeing here is only the beginning,”  a source close to Cal Poly administration told CalCoastNews. “Under Baker, Cal Poly acted fairly independent of the CSU system. Reed wants to bring Cal Poly more in line with the other CSU schools. Glidden is an old friend. He’s not likely to stand up to Reed.”

Glidden is being given a $4,000 monthly housing allowance and the use of a private car.

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