Wilkes stretches campus all the way to Meza, Ariz.

Holly Boyer, Staff Writer

For students to broaden their horizons and get educated in a new environment, Wilkes is now offering various programs in Mesa, Arizona starting this spring semester.

A program in Mesa was introduced in the City of Mesa’s the Healthcare, Education, Aerospace, Technology/Tourism Initiative for Economic Development to better mature the city. A major focus for that initiative is on education, and this program was designed to increase college competition and spur economic growth in the city.

“The ‘E’ stands for education, and that’s where we come in, education consortion,” Mesa Enrollment coordinator Steve Hicks said. “The city is building up their education program.”

Wilkes was invited by the city of Mesa, along with Albright College, Westminster College and Benedicine University to expand their curriculum for higher education.

“There are only four big state schools in Arizona,” Mesa on-site Executive Director Bonnie Culver said. “The city wanted to create an alternative for the state.”

The Master of Business Administration and the creative writing programs have already begun for the Spring 2013 semester. Other graduate programs that include engineering management, and two masters programs in education plan to start for the summer and fall semesters depending on class size.

“Everything has been good so far, it went well with the launch of the program,” Hicks said.

Several Wilkes professors will be traveling to Mesa to run these programs. Professor of business administration Anthony Liuzzo is teaching for the MBA program, and Culver is running the creative writing program. Both have already traveled for the start of this semester. Along with Wilkes professors being sent to the Mesa site, the directors hope to send some professors teaching at the Mesa site to campus.

“It is kind of a cool experiment to be a part of because it is something that really hasn’t been done before,” Culver said.

Undergraduate programs as well as more graduate programs are planning to be offered in the future. Some intended programs include undergraduate degrees in accounting, engineering, entrepreneurship and a possible bachelors degree in nursing. A master’s degree in mechanical engineering is also in the future.

As the initiative progresses, Hicks hopes to expand the plan. Both Hicks and Culver said there is a different atmosphere in Arizona than it is in Pennsylvania as there is a difference in culture in both areas, and the Mesa program can give students in both areas the opportunity to experience a new place and improve their education.

“Our main goal is to ensure that we can cross collaborate, for Wilkes students to travel to Mesa and have Mesa students travel to Wilkes Barre,” Hicks said.