ASSOCIATION OF AFRICAN BUSINESS SCHOOLS. BUSINESS SCHOOL QUALITY REVIEW Draft dated 10 November 2010

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1 ASSOCIATION OF AFRICAN BUSINESS SCHOOLS BUSINESS SCHOOL QUALITY REVIEW Draft dated 10 November 2010 The AABS quality review entails a group of peers visiting a member or prospective member school to discuss quality, with a view to beneficial insights for both the host school and the visitors. In this instance we do not mean quality in the sense of conforming to documented standards, as might be required in an accreditation, but rather in the sense of attending to the steps that increase the likelihood of outstanding success in achieving the outcomes envisaged in the school s mission. In particular, the visit should cover What the host school means by quality in the light of its mission, what standards of quality does it wish to attain, and how does it obtain feedback about them? How successful is it currently in achieving its understanding of quality? What plans can it put in place to get nearer to its target? and What can be learnt from the discussion, both by the visitors and the hosts? In addition to this discussion, there should be a formal verification that the school is meeting the AABS membership criteria The visiting team should therefore include a verification panel as a subset of the full visiting team. This will be a formally constituted panel representing the board of AABS. If the team is bigger than the verification panel, there will be parallel sessions at one stage, to enable the panel to inspect the membership criteria while the rest of the visitors continue the visit for example by sitting in on a class. Apart from the insights taken away by each person participating as host or visitor, the outcome of the visit will be a short document containing recommendations. These should be items that the host school can elect to act on, and/or use in discussions with other stakeholders (such as a parent university) to develop more constructive structures and processes. The steps are as follows: 1. The AABS Quality Board appoints a panel in consultation with the host school. Ideally it should include fellow dean(s)/director(s) and at least one manager from an organisation that does or could employ graduates of the school. 2. It is suggested that members of the visiting team be assigned different topics to prepare and lead the discussion. 3. The host school should prepare and circulate summary information about the school and its programmes to help visitors prepare. PREPARATION The host dean prepares a short strategic statement indicating The external context in which the school operates The internal organisation of the school, including its relation to any parent body The school s focus How the focus is implemented What steps are taken to renew the focus and its implementation How all this is measured how do you know how you are doing? The following detailed questions are not intended to be a formal checklist, nor to impose a burden on the host, but to stimulate a constructive discussion about quality, taking both

2 hosts and visitors in directions they need to go in. There are far too many questions to be addressed in a visit, so they should be used for preparation and reflection rather than as an interview schedule. The external context What is distinctive about the context in which your school is located and the organisations and individuals you deal with? This could include a description of the economic, social and political environment, the economic and developmental priorities, opportunities and constraints for a business school in this context, who your target students/participants are, what sort of organisations they come from and/or will be going to; and any other matters relevant to running a business school located where this school is. What formal and sustainable mechanisms do you have for consulting with employers? How do you require your faculty to keep in touch with employers and organisations? How do you manage the tension between what you believe your market needs and what they appear to want? More broadly, what are your links with business education in other regions of the world? What are you doing to support and build capacity in other African business schools? The internal organisation of the school The focus here is to consider the optimal balance between freedom and accountability, both in the internal management of the school and its relation to its owners/parent institution. There needs to be accountability to ensure quality and good governance, but there also needs to be freedom to respond creatively and innovatively to the mission of the school and to be operationally nimble and effective. It would help the visitors to provide an organisational chart, indicating the various units in the school, its ownership structure or relation to its parent organisation, the management structure and who holds the dean/director and other officials accountable. Does the leadership of the school have freedom to manage resources responsibly in service of the school s focus? This includes areas such as finance, staffing, facilities and relations with external stakeholders. Does the School have an Advisory Body providing input that is external both to the school and the University? Describe the mechanisms for student participation in the school s governance. How does the school apply to itself the principles of ethically, socially and environmentally responsible governance (cf. the Principles of Responsible Management Education)? To what extent are external stakeholders such as companies, national education authorities and government agencies involved in the governance of the school? Is this a constructive or constraining engagement? The school s focus What is your focus (vision, mission, values) as a school? Why do students or employers select your school? Why would other stakeholders (e.g. consumers of research or consulting) engage with your school? What are you doing (research/teaching/projects/etc) to lift the quality of management in your area?

3 How do you keep your focus current, compelling and sustainable? Does everyone in the school understand and subscribe to this focus? How the school s focus is implemented Management It is assumed that a school of management needs to practise what it teaches to provide students/participants with a live demonstration of excellent management and service. How do you ensure service quality and operational efficiency through the management of people, processes, facilities and resources in the school? How do you align your resources with your focus? Is the school financially sustainable and able to sustain its focus? How do you manage information (including student records)? Do faculty and students have sufficient access to library resources? Does your internet access permit easy access to information and collaboration with colleagues world-wide? Do your physical facilities support the focus of the school? Teaching and management of students How do you contextualise management education for your students/participants? What are the key skills, knowledge and attitudes that your students need? How do you know that? Are they achieving them? How do you know they are? How do you bring a diverse set of perspectives into your school and programs? This could include diverse faculty, diverse students, and input from a diverse range of disciplines and faculties. How do you put a demand on students to improve the quality of their analysis and problem solving, and to broaden their perspective on business? How are you impacting on the ethos of your students/participants? Are you helping them to achieve a coherent, constructive and responsible world view? What opportunities are there for faculty to teach together or in other ways be inspired and influenced by each other? How do you vary the level and nature of your teaching and teaching material to match the requirements of the classes? What do you do to recruitment and select students of appropriate quality (e.g. use of GMAT or other admissions test)? What career services do you offer? How do you keep in touch with alumni and encourage them to keep learning? What are you doing to ensure the best possible quality in your programme administration? Does your masters-level programme ensure that candidates acquire a firm understanding, applied both locally and internationally, of the major areas of knowledge which underpin general management including: The concepts, processes and institutions in the production and marketing of goods and/or services The financing of business enterprise or other forms of organisation The concepts and applications of accounting and financial management, Appropriate quantitative methods and management information systems including IT applications Organisation theory, organisational behaviour, human resource management issues and interpersonal communications

4 The processes and problems of general management at the operational and strategic level; business research methods and consultancy skills The impact of environmental forces on organisations, including: legal, ethical, social, economic, and technological issues leadership entrepreneurship Contemporary and pervasive issues, such as creativity, enterprise, innovation, e- commerce, globalisation and sustainability The international dimension to the above, including political risk and contemporary processes of regionalisation, emerging markets, global governance and globalization? Are there sufficient processes and checks in place to ensure that the standard of curriculum, teaching, assessing and grading is maintained? How do you know that your executive education programme addresses the current management development needs of organisations in your market? Management of faculty members and lecturers: What is your target and actual mix of full time / part time / visiting faculty? How are faculty (including part time) trained and developed and managed? How do you manage teaching quality? How are part time lecturers kept up to date? Research What research output do you consider appropriate, and how are you doing against this standard? How is research funded? How are you gathering and developing and recording intellectual capital in a sustainable way? Apart from scholarly research publications, this could include developing course material such as simulations, games, teaching notes, etc; consulting models; local media exposure; seminars and conferences with business; linkages with alumni in a continuing way. What steps are taken to renew the focus and its implementation What steps are you taking to ensure sustainability and continuing improvement in your mission and activities? This should include at least financial sustainability, quality improvement, succession planning, strategic development and institutional sustainability. What local and international accrediting or quality feedback processes do you submit to? What continuing processes are there for attending to feedback from students, alumni, employers and other stakeholders? How do you foster innovation in your school? What new ideas and programs have emerged in the past two years? What new material/methods/etc have your faculty and administrators implemented in the last two years? How do you bring a diverse set of perspectives into your school and programmes? This could include diverse faculty, diverse students, and input from a diverse range of disciplines and industries.

5 SOME GENERAL QUESTIONS Do your students/graduates look like future business leaders? If you were a local businessperson, would you o engage your faculty as consultants or approach them for the latest information required to run a business in your industry? o hire a venue on this campus for a meeting of your executive team? o be proud to bring customers to this campus to show where their managers are being trained? o entrust your business to a graduate of the school? o send an administrator to the school for an internship to learn great habits of efficiency and service delivery? If you were a prospective student would you be impressed by the professionalism, turnaround time and knowledge of the administrative staff? If you were a government official, would you turn to the school for guidance about how best to foster economic growth? Would you recommend the school to a colleague looking for an academic career? If the school was for sale, would you invest in it?

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