The University of Indianapolis has begun offering a master's degree in real estate development that the director of the program says is unlike any other in the Midwest.
“The idea here is that we’re building something local that will have national exposure, because there isn’t anything like it in this area, and we’re using industry experts to teach the courses and provide real-world experience,” said Eric Harvey, program director for the master's of professional studies in real estate development.
Cornell and Georgetown universities, for instance, boast similar real estate development programs. But UIndy’s is the first in the state and region, Harvey said, although Indiana University in Bloomington offers an undergraduate degree in real estate.
UIndy President Rob Manuel arrived in 2012 from Georgetown, where he was associate provost and dean of the School of Continuing Studies. He helped Harvey in his efforts to start a similar program here.
The private university on the city’s south side began in the fall offering its master’s program in real estate development and has four students enrolled in the first year.
“We’re just really getting rolling now,” Harvey said. “The vision here is to give people who are interested in advancing in real estate, or getting into real estate development, the financial, management and development skills that are needed.”
The program takes 21 months to complete, with each course meeting for roughly seven weeks every Thursday from 6 to 9:45 p.m. A foundational ethics class kicked off the program, where students learned about proper standards and decision-making.
Other courses include principles of real estate development, financial analysis, capital markets, real estate valuation and appraisal, pre-development and construction, project management, development and contract law, and sustainability.
The course will conclude with what’s known as the capstone experience. Students select from three options: placement with a mentor to solve a real-world problem in the development industry; writing a white paper; or landing an internship.
Real estate professionals lending their expertise to the program include Ken Martin, a director at the local office of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP, who taught the first capital markets class. Another is Steve Shockley, senior vice president and director of valuation services at Resource Commercial Real Estate, who’s leading the real estate valuation and appraisal course that starts on Thursday.
Shockley, who is president of the Indiana chapter of the Chicago-based Certified Commercial Investment Member Institute, has never taught at the college level before but is looking forward to the challenge.
“There is really nobody in the state addressing the needs of the real estate professional,” Shockley said. “I think there’s a need there, and UIndy is really stepping into that niche.”
UIndy compensates Shockley and other course instructors for their time, although Shockley said considering the effort involved, the position is “as close to volunteer as you can get.”
Yet Shockley wants to leave his “mark” on the program and already thinks he’ll teach the valuation course again, if asked.
Students must have earned a bachelor’s degree and at least a 3.0 grade-point average to be considered for the UIndy master’s program. Three letters of reference and a 1,500-word personal statement also are required.
The university received 12 applications for the first program and accepted four. UIndy will offer courses yearly and is accepting applications for the fall semester through June.
UIndy ultimately wants to expand the program for students enrolled in daytime and online classes, Harvey said.