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JUNE 2009

Touro College: New Adult Education Program to Address Lack of Residential Real Estate Training

Dr. Bernard Lander, president and founder of Touro College, together with Dr. Michael Williams, dean of Touro’s Graduate School of Business, have announced a unique adult education program in residential real estate to be launched this June. 

The non-credit course of study, which will result in a Certificate of Completion for those that complete the program, will be directed by Esther Muller, co-founder of the Academy for Continuing Education and a professor at Touro College’s Graduate School of Business. The program aims not only to re-educate those currently making their living in a constantly changing field, but also to instruct those first entering the field as a result of career change or job loss. 

The Graduate School of Business’ Residential Real Estate Entrepreneurship Certificate of Completion’s professional and academic curricula differ from other real estate education offerings by colleges and universities throughout the United States, Dean Williams said, pointing out that other real estate programs focus on commercial real estate, not residential.

“Our primary goal is to elevate the practice of residential real estate from a mere transactional relationship, to one where practitioners are true advisors to their clients’ needs, providing them with relevant data, sound investment strategy, and valuable industry information,” said Dr. Lander.

Dr. Lander, Dr. Williams, and Ms. Muller also envision the Graduate School of Business—located at 65 Broadway, in the heart of New York’s financial district—as becoming a critical hub of the bustling area.

“We see our efforts as part of President Obama’s stimulus agenda,” Dean Williams said. “Our energies are focused on an underserved population which, in the past, might not have had the opportunity to explore educational pursuits that will open countless doors for them. We are training today’s workforce for tomorrow’s jobs.”

He added that the School of Business’ exceptional practitioner-oriented faculty, high-tech business school center, and unparalleled location on Wall Street position it as an international, urban business school of choice. 

The lobby of the building at 65 Broadway has undergone a major, two-year renovation, featuring huge sunburst windows, grand marble walls and flooring, and a new state-of-the-art computer lab with two closed-circuit, large-screen televisions for lecture purposes. The Grand Opening for the new lobby occurred in May.

“The Grand Opening represents the next phase of the School’s growth, positioning it as a catalyst in the downtown area’s renaissance,” Dean Williams said, adding the celebration will coincide with one of several “Urban Retreats” the school has been offering, which include practical workshops, topical seminars, and hands-on breakthrough sessions.

The Residential Real Estate Entrepreneurship Certificate of Completion will consist of four courses addressing market topics, such as “Trends and Issues in the 21st Century Global Real Estate Markets”, “Technology and Real Estate”, and “Real Estate Finance for Real Estate Professionals”. Other professional programs are planned as well.

“We have found that there are huge gaps in the degree of professionalism in the residential real estate industry because there are gaps in the schooling one needs to enter this field,” Dean Williams said. “Our goal is to help raise the educational standards so that the profession is looked upon more admirably.”

Dean Williams added that the program is invaluable for those currently working in residential real estate. “The rules of the game have changed,” he said. “You cannot conduct business as if you were still in the 20th century and continue to be successful. The public trust has changed. The way the banks and mortgage brokers do business has changed. Everyone is demanding more accountability and transparency.”

The Touro College programs will instruct students to act as real estate advisors for the long term, rather than merely advising homebuyers on one-time transactions, Dean Williams said. The programs will also focus on the financial aspects of real estate, including mortgage payments and business plans.

With the downturn in the economy, many people are seeking to get real estate licenses, according to Ms. Muller. “These are people who previously worked in the financial industry and lost their jobs, those looking for a second career for more stability, or moms who must now go back to work to help support their families,” she said. “It’s a large cross-section of our society. We want to help them make that transition.”

Dr. Williams joined Touro College in 2008 after having served as faculty chair of the Human Resource Management, Leadership, and Organizational Development graduate programs in the Graduate School of Business and Technology of Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He also served as the director of the financial planning program at Fordham University and held teaching appointments at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education, Iona College’s Hagen School of Business, DeVry University’s Keller School of Management, and Northeastern University. 

Ms. Muller has been educating real estate professionals for more than 15 years at the Academy. In the late 1970s, she was working with major developers in Connecticut and had started her own firm to facilitate the conversion and sales of rental units to co-ops and condominiums. In 1980 in New York, she discovered a vast untapped market for conversions and expanded her operations to Manhattan. She was involved in converting dozens of buildings throughout the city, including such residential landmarks as the Ansonia, Leonori, and Parc Vendome condominiums. Ms. Muller has been a top broker at Sopher and Prudential Douglas Elliman, the largest real estate company in New York City. In addition to her expertise in the real estate market, she is an acclaimed lecturer on entrepreneurship and real estate investing.#



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