By Marco Eacrett, Principal

An interview with Mark Roberson, Dean of Architecture, Visual Arts & Design, about Cal Baptist University’s new architecture program.

Mark, tell me about your vision for the new architecture program at Cal Baptist.

The mission of the CBU architecture program is to develop architects who demonstrate professional excellence and personal integrity, are servant leaders in their communities and who live biblically based, missional lives within the profession. This makes CBU Architecture truly unique in that we believe in encouraging students to use their creative talents to engage and inspire the world around them. We are committed to helping students understand how to be good stewards of both their talents and the resources it takes to make their creative visions become reality. We are excited about seeing a new generation of architects with a Christian foundation who are bold in their pursuit of artistic excellence and leadership. We believe in a practice-based approach that connects students directly with professionals throughout Southern California. This approach, combined with our extraordinary location, provides abundant opportunities for our students to not only get hands-on experience using architecture to address a wide variety of environmental and social challenges, but also to experience and explore a great number of architectural masterworks.

How did your background prepare you for this role?

I have been a working architect in Los Angeles, Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas for 20 years. During that time, I have had the opportunity to teach architecture at a variety of levels at universities in California, Texas, and Paris, France. I have always had a passion for teaching and have dreamed of how an architectural program could be designed differently to address the needs of a future generation in a rapidly evolving field, as opposed to the programs I was familiar with which were still preparing students for a profession as it used to be. When CBU presented me an opportunity to do just that, at a university that shared my Christian world-view, I jumped at this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Your first architecture class will be admitted this fall, can you tell me what makes this program unique?

There are a number of things that will make our program distinctive in Southern California, and possibly in the nation.

1. CBU is only the third Christian University in the U. S. offering a professional architecture program and the only one West of Chicago.

2. CBU is the only university in the Western US to offer a 5 year undergraduate program resulting in a Master of Architecture degree.

3. The CBU Master of Architecture Degree is planned as an accredited, professional degree. This will allow our graduates to qualify for licensure in all 50 states.

4. Our students will have opportunities to study great architecture and great cities through study abroad. We will also guide field trips to significant regional architectural projects.

5. Our program will be closely connected to the profession in a variety of ways. Our students will:

  1. Enjoy involvement in real life, built projects.
  2. Have opportunities for mentorships and internships at professional offices.
  3. Experience construction-site field explorations.

6. Our program will exemplify the “Great Commission” purpose of the university. Our students will have local, national, and international service opportunities.

What are you looking for in terms of prospective students?

Our fall ’13 class will be very similar to traditional incoming undergraduate classes, except that they will be prepared to enter into a serious and rigorous program that will prepare them to be leaders in the profession.

How can the community support this new program?

I want the architecture community to be part of our program in a variety of ways. I look forward to professionals speaking in our classes about their work and other topics, providing project reviews and critiques, mentoring opportunities, and providing office and job-site tours and internship opportunities for our students. In that we are a new program, we are always looking for ways to spread the word to the community that we are here and getting started in Fall of ’13. And, in these tough economic times, our students are in great need of scholarships, both large and small, so any help in that area would be greatly appreciated. Soon, we will be looking for projects within the community to plug our students into so that they can be part of real project, with real contexts, constraints and clients.

How can prospective students get more information, can you tell me more about the open house event on March 7?

Students can find information about us at our website, the CBU website, our Facebook page, or by phone at 951-552-8733. We are hosting an open house on March 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm, in the Innovators Auditorium in the new Business Building here on the CBU campus. Attendees can find out not only about the new architecture program, but also the other programs in our college, which include art, graphic design, photography and film. We will be there to answer any questions that potential students might have.