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University of Redlands

University of Redlands: Preparing Students for Lives of Impact, Meaning, and Joy

The University of Redlands is a distinguished that serves as a gateway to a world of opportunities, all designed to cater to its students’ unique passions and potential.

Nestled in the heart of Southern California, this university enjoys a central location that offers access to a diverse landscape, including nearby beaches, mountains, and the desert. The University prides itself on providing a comprehensive array of academic offerings, with over 40+ undergraduate programs and 30+ graduate programs spanning various disciplines. These include business, communicative disorders, education, geographic information systems, music, and theology. The educational the landscape here seamlessly blends liberal arts and professional programs, combining applied and theoretical study, traditional majors and the flexibility to design one’s own curriculum.

For undergraduate students, the University of Redlands boasts one of the highest study-abroad participation rates among its peers, reflecting a commitment to fostering global perspectives. Additionally, a robust NCAA Division III athletic program adds a layer of extracurricular opportunities, offering students a well-rounded college experience.

The dedication to community service is evident when students collectively complete over 120,000 hours of public service annually.

One unique feature of the University is the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, a distinctive program that empowers self-motivated undergraduates to craft their own interdisciplinary course of study in collaboration with a faculty and peer committee. This innovative approach exemplifies the commitment to personalized education and intellectual exploration.

In addition to its picturesque 160-acre residential campus in Redlands, adorned with orange groves, architectural landmarks, and more than 1,700 trees, the University extends its reach through a number of regional locations.

These regional campuses offer convenient access to a wide range of programs, making higher education more accessible to working adults and those with busy schedules. With a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1907, the University of Redlands has consistently demonstrated its ability to prepare graduates for career success and a lifelong commitment to learning.

Its alumni, spanning generations, have found that their experiences at the University have paved the way for rewarding careers and a continued pursuit of knowledge. The University of Redlands is not just a place of learning; it’s a dynamic institution that shapes futures and fosters a spirit of exploration and growth.

University of Redlands Dean

Dr. Thomas Horan assumed the role of dean of the University of Redlands School of Business & Society (formerly known as the School of Business) in 2017, where he holds the H. Jess and Donna Colton Senecal Endowed Dean’s Chair. His decision to join the University of Redlands was driven by a unique opportunity.

The institution not only focuses on how businesses functions but also emphasizes their broader social context. Under his leadership, the School of Business & Society (SBS) has evolved to provide students with a foundational business education and the chance to make a meaningful impact in businesses, non-profit organizations and government. As per Dr. Horan, the school’s holistic approach to business education has led to innovative programs and curriculum. For instance, the Master of Organizational Leadership (MSOL) degree was introduced, structured around the ‘Arc of Purposeful Leadership.’ This curriculum guides students from self-development to team management, organizational strategy, and, ultimately, societal impact.

In recent developments, the school has initiated a merger with the Presidio Graduate School, offering an MBA program focused on sustainable business. Other offerings through SBS include short-term study abroad opportunities for all students, including working professionals, and a global consultancy capstone. SBS also hosts the Banta Center for Ethical and Purposeful Leadership and the Center for Spatial Business.

The School of Business & Society is an integral part of the University of Redlands’ 116-year legacy of academic excellence and opportunity. This private, nonprofit institution encompasses various schools and centers, including the School of Education, School of Performing Arts, Stauffer Science Center, Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, and the San Francisco Theological Seminary, which is located on the northern California campus in San Anselmo near San Francisco, and also hosts Presidio Graduate School residency programs.

Pioneering Personalized Education

Dr. Horan highlights the University’s recent strategic plan, “Forward Together,” which is founded on a new mission: “We welcome, educate, and empower a diverse community of learners for lives of meaning, impact, and joy.” The vision is to lead California in delivering a student-focused, personalized education that drives student success by 2032. “Forward Together” is underpinned by six core values: excellence, exploration, inclusivity, justice, kindness, and service.

Dr. Horan emphasizes that it’s not sufficient to merely articulate these values but to put them into action. As leaders, the responsibility is to foster a collaborative, trusting, and imaginative environment where individuals genuinely want to work, rather than feel obligated to work.

Creating this sense of community allows for constant adaptation to meet the ever-evolving landscape of higher education. This approach ensures that students are met

where they are, providing an optimal learning experience that positions them for success and career growth.

The University places a strong emphasis on experiential learning, community service, study abroad, and real-world internships and “capstone” projects and professional development opportunities. These elements contribute to students’ personal and professional development, impacting their careers and communities.

The School of Business & Society (SBS) offers a range of programs, including bachelor’s degree completion and master’s degrees in business administration, business analytics, and organizational leadership. Undergraduate students can also opt for an accelerated master’s program known as “4 + 1,” allowing them to earn both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in just five years.

Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

“This year, we received the prestigious designation of Hispanic Serving Institution and Fulbright HSI Leader.” About 65% of the student body of Redlands is non-white. It’s incumbent upon us to embrace this diversity,” Dr. Horan said.

The University’s commitment to an equitable and inclusive University community is expressed through various actions. Lead by the University’s Senior Diversity and Inclusion Officer, these actions include:

  • Completion of a campus climate survey to evaluate where change was needed.
  • Completion of the University of Redlands Anti-Racist Statement that acknowledges the painful experiences of so many and endorses the University’s commitment to positive change.
  • Formation of a University Anti-Racism Committee composed of faculty, staff, students, cabinet members, and alumni to develop an anti-racism plan and ways to better elevate and consider the voices and perspectives from the university’s communities of Black, Indigenous, Latina/o/x/Hispanic, and people of color.

Holistic Approach to Student Success and Global Engagement

Dr. Horan emphasizes the University’s commitment to student success through the establishment of a dedicated student success team. This team adopts a holistic approach, focusing on enhancing student success both within the classroom and through co-curricular activities. They work with students to help them plan and achieve their educational goals while also providing access to various experiences that broaden their understanding of the business world

One standout program is the University’s study abroad initiative, which is tailored to accommodate the schedules of many working professional students. These condensed 7-to-10-day experiences enable students to explore different cultures in Europe, Asia, and other regions while gaining insights into how businesses operate within these diverse cultural contexts. These experiences offer students firsthand exposure to the global nature of business operations.

Furthermore, the University takes pride in its longstanding community service programs, which have a positive and tangible impact on local communities. These programs provide students with real-world experiences that not only contribute to their personal growth but also serve the betterment of the communities they engage with.

Adapting to Changing Learning Models

The University of Redlands has strategically utilized technology in its overall educational experience. “A special initiative that I’m leading is called, ‘Classroom of the Future,’ is about how to integrate new technologies, not just Zoom rooms, but immersive technologies, AI (Artificial Intelligence), and other things we don’t even know about yet into the educational experience. At the same time, making sure not to lose the social and human-engaged aspects that make a university worth attending,” Dr. Horan said. As noted above, Redlands is also meeting students where they are through a merger with Presidio Graduate School.

“There are many aspects that make this merger exciting, including the impact the school has already had in preparing organizational leaders to address the challenges of environmental sustainability and social justice. One additional aspect is how the school uses low residencies to balance out the online learning environment. Immersive weekend-long, on-campus classes are now being held at our beautiful Marin campus and we are beginning to implement this model of low residency in our other degree programs, including our Master of Science and Organizational Leadership. More broadly, this model inspires us, as leaders, to think through how we balance the strong interest among our students to take online courses with the value that we, as educators, perceive in face-to-face communication and collaboration,” Dr. Horan said.

Encouraging Entrepreneurial Mindsets for Professional Excellence

Dr. Horan highlights the University’s approach to training students to become entrepreneurs within their respective professional settings. Many students are already pursuing careers they are passionate about, such as healthcare, education, or government, and they aspire to excel within these fields. The University equips them with the necessary skills to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset within diverse organizational contexts.

What’s particularly exciting is that over 50% of the University’s students receive promotions while they are still in the program, demonstrating that they are actively applying what they are learning as they learn it. This tangible progress is a source of great enthusiasm for the University. Dr. Horan expresses the institution’s intention to further develop the concept of ‘intrapreneurship’ and provide students with expanded opportunities to innovate and make a meaningful impact on the world.

Culture of Service and Ethical Business Leadership

The University boasts one of the most enduring service-learning programs in the collegiate landscape. For over three decades, undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences at Redlands have been required to fulfil a service component for graduation, often aligned with their academic interests. Students consistently go above and beyond the mandated service hours, gaining invaluable real-world experience while making a positive impact on their communities.

This commitment has earned Redlands recognition as a top producer of Peace Corps volunteers and Fulbright students, further exemplifying the institution’s dedication to service both locally and globally. “The School of Business & Society has embarked on a multifaceted initiative to explore how businesses can make a positive contribution to society beyond just financial profitability.”

Their annual ‘Business for a Better World’ conference, organized through the Banta Center for Ethical and Purposeful Leadership, showcases purpose-driven businesses as catalysts for positive social change and progress.

This event delves into the role that businesses and nonprofits in the region play in advancing crucial economic, societal, and environmental priorities, while also considering the implications for educational institutions. As part of this effort, the School of Business & Society collaborates with organizations like Esri, a global leader in

Geographic Information Systems (GIS), to develop programs that assist businesses in utilizing spatial information to comprehend the impact of their supply chains on communities and the environment, reinforcing the institution’s commitment to ethical and purposeful business practices.

“This world leader is using GIS to not only make businesses succeed but to do so in a manner that is socially and environmentally responsible. We are delighted by this

strong partnership with Esri, and that over 400 of students have gone on to work for them,” Dr. Horan said.

Nurturing Careers and Lifelong Success Through OCPD

The University’s Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD) is an invaluable resource for Redlands students from their very first day on campus and continues to support alumni throughout their entire careers.

The OCPD is dedicated to fostering a university culture that encourages career awareness and opportunity, starting from the moment of admission until retirement. The office provides an array of services, including professional assessments, guidance for job searches, assistance with resumes, portfolios, and interview preparation, as well as managing referrals.

University of Redlands graduates embark on successful careers in a wide range of fields, encompassing business, education, the arts, and more. Regardless of their chosen paths, they carry with them the broad perspective, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking abilities cultivated during their time at Redlands. Graduates also become part of a vast network of over 50,000 fellow Redlands alumni, contributing to a legacy that spans well over a century.

Measuring Student Success and Alumni Satisfaction

The University conducts annual assessments to gauge student success and program quality, with a focus on two key indicators: retention and graduation rates. Each fall, the institution evaluates the number of former first-year students who choose to return, while each spring, the number of students completing their degree requirements and graduating is recorded.

While these metrics provide valuable insights, the most meaningful measure of student outcomes comes from graduate exit surveys and alumni feedback. A recent survey conducted in 2022 found that 84% of responding University of Redlands alumni expressed satisfaction with their career progress, a figure that exceeds the national average.

Additionally, more than 90% of surveyed alumni reported gaining critical thinking skills through their education, and an equal percentage agreed that Redlands played a pivotal role in helping them understand career opportunities.

Fostering a Culture of Lifelong Learning

Dr. Horan emphasizes that at the University of Redlands, a commitment to lifelong learning is deeply ingrained in the institution’s culture. This dedication to continuous learning is promoted and supported by leadership and educators across the campus. One of the fundamental missions of the Office of Career and Professional Development is to

seamlessly integrate career and professional development into the classroom experience.

To encourage and facilitate ongoing professional development and lifelong learning, the University has implemented a tuition remission program. This program incentivizes staff and faculty to further their education and skillsets.

Additionally, the University of Redlands Staff Assembly periodically organizes professional development events, including peer teaching sessions covering essential skills and programs. Moreover, Redlands offers a range of

certificates and courses that cater to the demands of various careers and fields, making them accessible to faculty, staff, students, and alumni alike.

A Vision for Inclusive Education in a Digital Age

Dr. Horan’s vision for the future of the School of Business & Society at the University of Redlands is part of the institution’s strategic plan, Forward Together. This vision is centered on the commitment to meet students “where they are.” By creating a diverse range of programs and teaching methods that ensure accessibility for the entire student body, the University has transcended its original geographical constraints. The University of Redlands now maintains a presence in both Southern California at its traditional Redlands campus and in Northern California at the Marin campus.

Additionally, all programs within the School of Business & Society are available online. This multifaceted approach combines the convenience and accessibility of online programs with the treasured and invaluable on-campus university experience. The aim is to provide students with an education that prepares them to succeed and lead lives filled with purpose and impact. Dr. Horan and the University of Redlands are committed to delivering the best of both worlds to their students, ensuring they receive a high-quality education that adapts to their diverse needs and circumstances.