By Vicki Huebner, Director of Online Legal Programs
As the regulatory landscape has evolved and permeated all aspects of industry, the educational program at Santa Clara Law has expanded to educate business professionals in legal and law-related positions. Its first educational endeavor in this arena is the Masters of Legal Studies in Corporate Compliance (MLS) which seated its inaugural class in April 2019. The MLS program is a one-year, fully online graduate degree program designed for business professionals working in the compliance field. The curriculum was designed with the assistance of focus groups comprised of luminaries in the compliance field including chief compliance officers and compliance counsel from businesses representing a diversity of geographical regions and industries along with general counsel from government agencies who draft compliance regulations. According to Sandee Magliozzi, Associate Dean for Experiential and Competency-based Learning, “the online MLS in Corporate Compliance was designed to respond to the needs of global industry and to add value both for students and for the organizations where they work.”
To provide students with a rich educational program grounded in current business practices, Santa Clara Law hired faculty members who are currently working in the compliance arena. MLS faculty work as chief compliance officers and compliance professionals for companies such as Google, NetApp, Roche, Tamko Building Products, Affiliated Monitors, and Yahoo. Each is a noted expert in this field, many are involved with the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) and some teach or speak regularly at SCCE events. “These instructors bring incredible breadth and depth of knowledge to our students, as they have pioneered solutions to some of the nation’s most challenging and unprecedented compliance hurdles,” Magliozzi noted.
Interactions with MLS faculty members are one of the highlights of the MLS student experience. A resident of Colorado, Kathryn Marturano MLS ’20 entered our program with more than 18 years of professional experience with more than 9 years of compliance oversight and management experience for a multinational construction company and as a government contractor. Both prior to enrolling and now post-graduation, she continues to manage her own independent compliance consulting practice. She holds the Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional and Certified Fraud Examiner certifications. When asked about why she enrolled in the MLS program after working for several years in the compliance field, Marturano responded:
My decision to pursue Santa Clara’s MLS program was based on the program’s exceptional curriculum. The curriculum focuses on the real-world application of compliance issues faced by professionals throughout the industry. The program’s faculty, comprised of seasoned compliance professionals, provided “best in class” expertise that challenged me to think outside the box on a variety of compliance matters. My experience in this program is such that I am confident I will create value as a compliance professional going forward in this relevant field.
Graduates and current students enrolled in the MLS program reside in four states highlighting Santa Clara Law’s reach beyond the borders of Silicon Valley. To graduate from the program, students are required to complete 36 quarter units. To complete the program in one year, students are enrolled in three courses totaling 9 academic units for four quarters. The program runs throughout the year including the summer. While balancing work and a part-time evening program is difficult under the best of circumstances, MLS program students were particularly affected this spring at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. MLS students are front-line compliance officers in their organizations. As global regulations were amended in response to COVID-19, MLS students found their professional workload increasing while continuing to balance their program assignments. Fortunately, the asynchronous online MLS curriculum afforded MLS students the necessary flexibility to complete the program.
Although we are not currently able to celebrate the accomplishments of the inaugural MLS class in-person at an on-campus commencement ceremony this Spring, we look forward to doing so in the future. We look forward to learning about the future accomplishments of these new graduates who are working to fulfill Santa Clara Law’s mission of producing excellent, ethical leaders at the intersection of law, technology, business, ethics, and justice.