Editorials

Advancing our profile, by degrees

Graduates from a Sacramento State MBA program cheer at commencement. Fewer advanced degrees are conferred in Sacramento than in similarly sized capital cities.
Graduates from a Sacramento State MBA program cheer at commencement. Fewer advanced degrees are conferred in Sacramento than in similarly sized capital cities. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Advanced degrees aren’t common enough in Sacramento, given that we’re the capital of the world’s seventh largest economy.

Denver, Albany, Columbus, Austin – believe it or not, all have more large universities at hand than the capital of California. Though this state has some of the nation’s most renowned institutions of higher education, only about 2,000 postgraduate degrees a year are conferred in Sacramento, about half the number awarded, on average, in similarly sized capitals.

That’s not enough. Not that UC Davis, Sacramento State and Roseville’s William Jessup University aren’t terrific institutions. Or that the advanced public policy degrees from the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School here haven’t burnished many working professionals’ résumés.

But a place as idea-dependent as this one needs accessible institutions to train and retain a skilled workforce, from Sacramento’s booming health care sector to government agencies.

So it’s good news that the Stockton-based University of the Pacific, whose Center for Business and Policy Research supplied the aforementioned graduate degree numbers, is expanding its Sacramento presence, rolling out the first of five new graduate programs at its McGeorge School of Law campus.

A Master of Business Administration program will launch this fall, along with a doctoral program in education; a master’s in public policy will be offered next fall, and a physician’s assistant program and a Master of Public Administration will be offered in 2017.

The expansion partly fills a gap left by the closure of Drexel University’s satellite campus in Sacramento; this turns out to be a tricky market for out-of-towners and the Philadelphia-based college apparently found it difficult to operate from so far away.

But McGeorge is local, with classrooms to fill as the market works through an oversupply of lawyers. Its historic Oak Park campus shouldn’t go to waste.

Pacific isn’t the only academic institution that’s seeing opportunity in this region. The University of Warwick, based in England, also has some interesting and ambitious plans in Placer County.

We welcome all comers. It’s long past time for Sacramento to think bigger about its intellectual capital.

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