Business college receives five-year accreditation

Jessica Estrada

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) voted to extend Cal State Northridge’s College of Business and Economics accreditation for another five years.

Students from accredited universities have a competitive advantage over students who don’t attend an accredited university, said William Jennings, dean of CSUN’s College of Business and Economics. Graduate programs value accredited business schools and some employers prefer recruiting students from accredited schools because they know the quality of the program.

“AACSB is an accreditation agency that accredits the best business schools in the world,” Jennings said.  Being accredited is a mark of distinction, he added.

Having a degree from an accredited school is recognized around the world because schools go through a review process and have to meet standards to achieve a high level of quality, said Violetta Urba, senior manager of accreditation at AACSB.

To prepare for the renewal, faculty has to stay active in meeting standards, learning outcomes, and being productive in and out of the classroom, said Judith Hennessey, associate dean of the College of Business and Economics.

Accreditation is renewed every five years and schools must undergo a maintenance process, which includes a visit from a peer review team, Jennings said.  The team consists of three deans from other universities that are familiar with the standards and process. The team visits the school for two days, talks to faculty and interviews students, he said.  The purpose of the review process is to ensure that schools are providing high quality education and continually improving, Urba said.  There are 21 standards which outline what is expected of the business school and must be met in order to receive accreditation, she said.

Some of the standards that must be met include  having a high quality faculty, strategic planning, accessing student learning and overall continuation to improve classrooms, Jennings said.

“Since the last accreditation renewal we have added significant graduate programs, enhanced advisement for students, coordinated job placement in career planning and offered more tutoring and supplemental instruction to ensure that all students succeed in their classes,” Hennessey said.

Having deans from other schools be part of the process means that they are aware of the standards and go through similar procedures at their universities, Jennings said. The deans also help each other improve their programs.

“It is a way for institutions to share good practices with each other which other universities can adopt,” Jennings said.

Deans also attend meetings three or four times a year to network and learn from each other, Jennings said.

“It is an advantage to get to learn from other institutions,” he said.

Accredited schools are among prestigious company since only five percent of the world’s business schools are accredited by AACSB, Urba said. There are currently 607 accredited institutions around the world, she said.

CSUN first received its accreditation in 2004 and has since maintained its accreditation, Urba said.

“It is an extremely rigorous process and usually takes five to seven years to initially get accredited and meet all the standards,” she said.  “AACSB accreditation is a voluntary process that takes time and resources and not all schools are able to participate.”

Accreditation also helps raise money for different purposes that benefit students, Jennings said. This year more students had the opportunity to attend regional and national competitions than in the past, he said.

Additionally, AACSB accreditation helps schools establish partnerships with universities around the world, something that would be much more difficult without the accreditation, Jennings said.