The School of Business at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke passed a second important milestone in its pursuit of specialized accreditation from the AACSB, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
The school was notified this spring that its accreditation plan was approved. The final step will take place during the 2011-12 academic year when a team from AACSB will perform an onsite evaluation of UNCP’s business programs, faculty and student learning, said Dr. Eric Dent, dean of the School of Business.
Dr. Dent said “AACSB accreditation is the premier accreditation for business programs, and its standards are continually rising.”
Dr. Charles Harrington, UNCP’s provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, hailed the news.
“Clearly this latest approval from AACSB is a tremendous encouragement to the School of Business and the University,” Dr. Harrington said. “It is a significant vote of confidence in our faculty and our business program.
“Our faculty have worked exceedingly hard to move our accreditation agenda forward and their efforts are clearly evident in the quality of the curriculum, the high standards of research and scholarship, and the continued commitment to student academic success,” he said. “We have much to be proud with the School of Business.
“It is important to note that we went through the first two steps with no requests for additional information and no exceptions,” Dr. Harrington added.
UNCP is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SCS) and other UNCP programs have their own accrediting bodies.
Dr. Dent said AACSB examines the quality of faculty, admissions, financial support, curriculum and learning outcomes of students, a relatively recent emphasis, Dr. Dent said.
“These are ‘assurance of learning’ standards that ask us to pinpoint student performance against learning objectives,” he said. “We are achieving this goal using many methods such as standardized exams in accounting, student portfolio assessment and by piloting business tests from the Educational Testing Service (ETS).”
Standards for faculty are also rising, Dr. Dent said.
“Another recent change is with the definition of what constitutes academically qualified faculty,” he said. “Now, faculty must engage in continuous learning, including scholarly research and publishing.”
Review of faculty achievement has revealed some bright spots at the School of Business, Dr. Dent said.
“We have a talented core of faculty members who have impressive scholarship agendas,” he said. “We also have a strong record of faculty collaboration in research, including across the disciplines.
“Another strong point for us is that we have faculty who have collaborated with graduate and undergraduate students in research and publication,” he added.
The bottom line is accreditation is good for students, Dr. Dent said.
“There is a real student benefit with AACSB accreditation,” he said. “Employers that underwrite employee education are beginning to insist on AACSB-accredited institutions of higher learning.”
The School of Business offers the MBA and has three undergraduate departments, Accounting and Information Technology, Economics and Finance and Management, Marketing and International Business.