August 16, 2002
School of Business
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — The end is in sight for Indiana State University School of Business and the review of its accreditation with AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
The school is in its third year of the review process, having worked with a team from the AACSB International, and expects to turn in its final report in January. The School of Business remains accredited while under review for reaffirmation.
“We have worked closely with the review team and they have worked closely with us on the continuous review process, telling us how they’d like to see things,” said Connie McLaren, program coordinator in quality and decision systems and professor of decision sciences who has worked closely with the review team. “They’ve given us guidance and whittled down the list. They’ve told us ‘this has been satisfied and here are some other things’ they want us to look at.”
For example, the review team is satisfied that the School of Business now has a clear, concise mission statement that is easily understandable, McLaren said. The mission statement may be read at http://web.indstate.edu/schbus/mission.htm/ The review team has also evaluated and given direction on the school’s various review processes and curriculum.
“The review team assesses those things and determines a plan of action and we implement those changes and show what the results have been,” McLaren explained.
Another issue was that the school had implemented a number of changes just as the review period began three years ago. The review team wanted to be sure enough time had passed to evaluate those changes as well as ones suggested by the team.
ISU has been accredited by AACSB International for the past 20 years, said David Hopkins, who served as interim dean of the School of Business during the 2001-2002 academic year. The school continues to enjoy that accreditation and all signs point to the school’s accreditation being reaffirmed next year.
But, “We still must place an emphasis on continuous improvement, an accreditation requirement, because “It’s never over until it’s over, as the saying goes,” “said Dean Ronald F. Green.
According to the AACSB International’s website, www.aacsb.edu, 2,000 institutions in the United States offer degree programs in business, in which case 17.8 percent (or 355 of 2000) have achieved AACSB accreditation.
Accreditation is a process of voluntary, non-governmental review of educational institutions and programs. Specialized agencies award accreditation for professional programs and academic units in particular fields of study. As a specialized agency, AACSB International grants accreditation for undergraduate and graduate business administration and accounting programs. Institutional accreditation reviews entire colleges and universities.
AACSB International accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide. Institutions that earn accreditation confirm their commitment to quality and continuous improvement through a rigorous and comprehensive peer review. AACSB accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in management education.
Through accreditation, business schools provide stakeholders with the assurance that they:
Green, Hopkins and McLaren agree that much good has come from the review process.
“One of the things that has happened is that we have been able to justify resources to help us improve,” Green said. “Those resources would have been difficult to obtain without the review process. We’ve had some outstanding faculty that we’ve been able to hire and we hope this continues because we still have some areas we are trying to round out.”
The review team has also noted that the building which houses the School of Business is a real weakness for the school, Green said.
“Even though we have a few nice classrooms, the building as a whole is just woefully inadequate and doesn’t support what business schools are trying to do today in terms of the learning environment they are trying to create,” Green said. “The university has placed that at the top of its capital priorities for the next few years and we’re hoping that the state will follow through with the funding to cause that to happen.”
Other improvements the school has made include changing the student advisement process, evaluating and formalizing the way student learning outcomes are done and splitting apart some classes that were grouped together, McLaren said. Faculty members also have to present their credentials to prove they are academically qualified to do their jobs.
“As a result of that, I think people are more conscious of their research,” McLaren said. “That has also been a priority as we’ve hired new faculty. We still put good teaching first, but [research is an essential part of that].”
“The school was already on its way to doing some of these things,” Hopkins said. “But I think it really helped that we were encouraged by the accreditation process. It did allow resources to come to the school to support these changes. That was needed. And sometimes that’s what it takes, an external audience or external review body to help you get the resources.”
Green expects the review team to decide this fall if it wants to visit campus again before making its recommendation concerning reaffirmation of the school’s accreditation. An official announcement may not come until April.
“We’ve done the things they’ve asked us to do in that we’ve satisfied their concerns or are making progress in each of the areas,” Green said.
AACSB International was founded in 1916 and began its accreditation function with the adoption of the first standards in 1919. Additional standards for programs in accountancy were adopted in 1980. AACSB International members approved the current mission-linked accreditation standards and peer review process in 1991.
More than 400 AACSB International member institutions have affirmed their commitment to educational quality through the achievement of accreditation. Of the accredited institutions, more than 150 have achieved additional accreditation for their accounting programs.