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September 13, 2007

AACSB Accreditation Officials to Visit, Assess College of Business

By Dana Kastenson - COB Web Intern
During the week of Sept. 23-25, three deans from business colleges similar to UW-Eau Claire will meet with college faculty, staff, students, and advisory board members to determine if UW-Eau Claire should be reaccredited by the Association to Advance Colligate Schools of Business (AACSB). AACSB is the premier accrediting agency for bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in business administration and accounting.

“The site visit is a way to confirm in AACSB’s mind who UW-Eau Claire really is,” said Associate Dean Robert Sutton, author of the AACSB report and organizer of the visit.

First accredited in 1980 by the AACSB, the College of Business must meet certain research and educational standards to stay in this position. The re-accreditation team will assess how effectively the college meets stakeholders’ needs given the college’s human and financial resources. They will review admission standards, facilities, technology and the curriculum for both the undergraduate and graduate programs. Discussions will also focus on the college’s strengths as well as the challenges it faces.

AACSB encourages topics such as international business and cultural diversity in the workplace to be addressed in the curriculum at member colleges. However, with scandals such as the Enron case, ethics has become a priority AACSB wants all accredited colleges to address according to Sutton.

To achieve accreditation, a prospective institution must go through a five year process in which it is given a mentor who helps the school develop a mission statement, strategic plan, and other reports for submission to AACSB. If AACSB deems the institution has adequately met all its standards, then accreditation is awarded to it.

To keep accreditation, member institutions must complete an annual maintenance report highlighting its strategic plan and learning goals. Every five years, AACSB conducts a site visit like the one occurring at the College of Business. To prepare for this visit, college administrators assemble a comprehensive report documenting all aspects of the college. UW-Eau Claire’s report and appendices, for example, are over 1,000 pages in length.

As for the importance of being accredited, Sutton said everyone in the College of Business benefits.

“It is a measure of quality. For students, it means your program has met certain standards as determined by an outside team” he said.

According to Sutton, only 20 percent of colleges in the world have been accredited by AACSB. UW-Eau Claire is in good company; other universities with AACSB accredited business schools include Harvard, Penn State, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Michigan, and Stanford.

Sutton said AACSB accreditation is also something administrators and faculty seek when determining where they want to work.

“It’s nice to know you’re in an accredited institution,” he said. “It something to take price in. It indicates that you are at a school that is very active – one that values teaching and research.” Sutton said.

As to who to credit if UW-Eau Claire’s College of Business is reaccredited, Sutton cites the college’s administrators, faculty, staff, students, advisory board members and alumni.

“No one person or group makes accreditation happen,” said Sutton. “It happens because we all are committed to the college, share a vision of excellence, and are able to work together as a team.”

The College of Business will learn if the business college has been reaccredited at AACSB’s annual meeting, which will be held April 13–15, 2008 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Meet the AACSB Visitation Team

W. Theodore Cummings, PhD
Dean, School of Business and Public Administration
University of Houston-Clear Lake

PhD, Arizona State University
MBA, Western Illinois University
BS, Indiana University, Bloomington

Farzad Moussavi, PhD
Dean, College of Business Administration
University of Northern Iowa

PhD, University of Arkansas
MBA, Roosevelt University
BA, College of Advanced Accounting, Tehran, Iran

Robert Reid, EdD
Dean, College of Business
James Madison University

EdD, Virginia Tech University
MS, University of Wisconsin-Stout
BS, University of Wisconsin-Stout