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News & Press: ACBSP News

Being Good Is Not Enough

Wednesday, December 9, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Melinda Dorning

From: BW | Businessworld — Issue Dated 14-12-2015

The goal and rationale of academic accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meet acceptable levels of quality as defined by the government and/or an outside accrediting agency.

The goal and rationale of academic accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meet acceptable levels of quality as defined by the government and/or an outside accrediting agency.

It is important to distinguish the difference between institutional and specialised or programmatic accreditation. Institutional accreditation is a process that leads to recognition of institutional credibility and recognition of degrees by the government; it applies to an entire institution. Program accreditation refers to the various degree programs offered by an educational institution. Further, there is national versus international/global accreditation.

Given the ever-increasing growth of the global economy, many schools in India are contemplating augmenting their national accreditation with global program accreditation. Several examples of global accreditors in business include the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, European Foundation for Management Education, and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education. By and large, accrediting agencies are private, non-profit associations of regional, national or international scope. Each developing its own standards and criteria that those seeking accreditation must meet to be accredited.

Programmatic accrediting agencies require evidence of institutional accreditation before allowing a school to pursue specialised accreditation. Schools outside the U.S. are required to provide proof of authority to grant degrees from the country they are located in.

With so many “paper mill” universities promoting and selling worthless degrees, accreditation is certainly a significant player in policing this practice. Choosing to become accredited is an important decision as it involves human capital ranging from the business school administration, faculty, and in some cases, students as well. There is also a financial investment in the forms of membership and application fees as well as fees relating directly to the accreditation process itself. The process typically takes two to four years or more to finish and once completed, the business unit is permitted to promote its approved programs as being accredited.

The ACBSP accreditation standards are modeled on the Baldrige National Quality Program and its Criteria for Educational Performance Excellence. For a specific (degree) program to become accredited, it will require the successful fulfillment of six standards and criterion including: leadership; strategic planning; student and stakeholder focus; measurement and analysis of student learning and performance; faculty and staff focus; and educational and business process management.

Business schools that have successfully attained accreditation would note that is has dramatically bolstered their ability to retain faculty and has also helped the recruitment process for both faculty and students. In addition, it creates opportunities for exchange programs with schools across the world and exposes the faculty to a variety of beneficial scholarly activities including learning best practices in teaching effectiveness.

It is important to restate that global program accreditation is a voluntary decision and business schools that choose to embark on the journey believe the work and cost is well worth the investment.

Given the importance of higher education in general, and especially in business education, it remains prudent for leaders to continually assess opportunities to improve processes in order to offer students only the best in education.

The author, Jeffrey Alderman, is president and CEO at Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 14-12-2015)