College of Business Administration maintains accreditation status

Christina Bucciere

After a thorough, two-day review of faculty, staff, students, procedures and curriculum, The College of Business Administration has maintained its business and accounting accreditation status with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) after undergoing its five-year maintenance review.

“Accreditation sets your college apart from those that don’t meet this level of accreditation. There are only 11 colleges of business in Ohio that are AACSB accredited, and of those 11, only seven of them are dually-accredited,” said Dean Deborah Spake of the College of Business Administration.

Suzanne Mintz, senior accreditation manager of the AACSB, said the organization currently has accredited 672 schools, and of those schools, only 179 have a separate accounting accreditation.

The business department of the college received initial accreditation by the AACSB in 1964, and the accounting department received its accreditation status in 2010.

The AACSB, founded in 1916, accredits business and accounting departments based on a series of “rigorous” standards.

“Our research department has estimated there are close to 15,000 institutions around the world that offer business degree programs at either the undergraduate, master’s or doctoral levels, and we have only accredited fewer than 700,” Mintz said, “so we’re looking at less than five percent of these colleges and universities that hold AACSB accreditation, so based on those numbers you can see it’s very elite.”

In order to obtain accreditation, Mintz said, the school needs to become a member of the organization first. The AASCB ensures the school practices ethical behaviors, has a code of conduct in place to address student and faculty staff behavior, and the school must respond to a series of questions to prove other criteria for eligibility.

Once the school is evaluated and proves to meet the 21 standards of accreditation, it is reviewed by a committee to ensure the school is meeting specific milestones to apply for accreditation, specifically showing signs of progress, Mintz said.

Once the school is accredited, the AACSB staff serves as liaisons and resources to the university, Mintz said, but holds no decision-making authority.

“The maintenance process begins about two years before the five year review when the school submits an application to be reviewed,” Mintz said, “at which point the school begins preparing self-evaluation reports on their current standing to be given to their review board.”

After reviewing a series of reports provided to them months in advance by the college, a five-member group of faculty members from peer institutions, chosen by the AACSB, arrived to assess the college for its five-year maintenance review, after which the college’s accreditation status was renewed.

Members of the review board came from those institutions similar to Kent State’s College of Business and those to which the program aspires to be more like, Spake said.

During the two-day review period, the college undergoes a consultative assessment by the peer review board to provide recommendations on areas in need of improvement and comments on areas that are performing well.

At the conclusion of the review, said Brenda Knebel, accreditation manager of the AACSB, the board provides an official report filled with observations and comments on the college’s current standing in compliance with the standards of the AACSB.

“The business department was commended for having impressive standards for the quality of faculty, a high level of interaction with the outside business community, and a very strong support services for students,” Mintz said.

The accounting department was reviewed separately.

“The accounting department was commended for surviving through a tough fiscal environment, successfully hiring six new faculty members, revitalizing the PhD program, establishing a study abroad program in Paris and London, and using a creative student recruitment program that includes social media,” Knebel said.

The peer review team recommended, however, that the college hire two additional faculty members, Spake said, and the AACSB board reminded the business and accounting departments to continue to monitor the compliance with the agency standards.

“If there were major areas in need of improvement, we would not have been reaffirmed,” Spake said.

Maintaining accreditation status is beneficial to the college in many ways, Spake said. For instance, colleges of business are unable to be ranked by U.S. News and World Report unless they are AACSB accredited.

“And if you’re a student, then you really want to go to a school that’s AACSB accredited because it’s the highest level of accreditation, and that’s the same draw for recruitment and retention of faculty as well” Spake said.

An AACSB accreditation membership also provides valuable resources to member institutions, Knebel said.

“There is an annual conference, which is a good opportunity to meet fellow colleagues, and we offer seminars on various topics. Also, the business school questionnaire provides a large amount of data about our accredited programs that allows schools to utilize that data to compare specs on how to be competitive,” Knebel said.

Contact Christina Bucciere at [email protected].