Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Reforms in Business School Accreditation Benefit HBCUs

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Reforms in Business School Accreditation Benefit HBCUs

Article excerpt

Reforms in Business School Accreditation Benefit HBCUs.

The American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is the premiere accrediting institution for business programs in higher education. Of the more than 80 HBCUs that offer business programs, only seven are AACSB accredited.

Nationwide, some 282 colleges and universities have both undergraduate and graduate program AACSB accreditation. Another twenty-four have only undergraduate program accreditation status, and twenty others have accreditation only for their graduate programs.

Prior to 1990, accreditation was granted on the basis of traditional institutional performance measures such as student/teacher ratios, curriculum requirements, admission and graduation requirements, the research productivity of faculty, and facilities. In 1991, influenced by the Quality Management movement in the corporate world, the focus of the criteria for accreditation in business schools became process standards.

"We want the new accreditation effort to be less of an audit and more of an expert consulting process," explains Charles Hickman, AACSB director of projects and services.

The new AACSB standards ask for an unambiguous mission statement, the clear identification of the stake holders, and a method for collecting feedback and measuring performance against objectives.

"The reforms were designed to involve more schools in the accreditation process," says Hickman. For example, programs that claim to have an international presence and want to be an international program will be benchmarked against other institutions with that same mission.

"We believe the process is the main value of this," Hickman says. "The desired outcome -- accreditation -- is nice, but critics of the old standards said it tended to force a lot of schools into one template. God knows, in management education, the last thing we need is a lot of schools trying to out-Harvard Harvard. We want to see schools experimenting with different learning methods and serving different types of students."

Dr. Willis Sheftall, chair of Morehouse's department of economics and business administration agrees that the new standards are more accommodating to smaller institutions. …

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