Reflections on School of Business Accreditation. Alfred E. Fabian

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1 Reflections on School of Business Accreditation Alfred E. Fabian One of the most significant opportunities a faculty person can perform on behalf of a student is to encourage academic achievement. In today s quandary of high unemployment rates, having academic honor society membership on a resume may have inestimable influence when seeking employment. It is not uncommon to hear or read about thousands applying for a job while only a few hundred will actually be hired. Most postsecondary schools are replete with clubs and organizations. Kappa Beta Delta International Honor Society is particularly distinguished because of its affiliation with the accrediting organization Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Ivy Tech Community College presently has Kappa Beta Delta (KBD) chapters in only five of its 14 Regions: Ivy Tech East Central, Beta Chapter; Ivy Tech Northwest, Alpha Gamma Chapter; Ivy Tech Bloomington, Alpha Chi Chapter; Ivy Tech Central Indiana, Beta Beta Chapter; Ivy Tech-Wabash Valley, Beta Delta Chapter. Ivy Tech Community College is the State of Indiana s largest post-secondary institution and the nation s largest, singly-accredited statewide community college system with more than 130,000 students enrolled annually. It is divided into 14 regions with 23 degree-granting campuses and 83 sites. Following a reorganization that took place in 2006, Ivy Tech has been divided into seven schools. Kappa Beta Delta falls under the purview of its School of Business.

2 Not every associate degree-granting school takes advantage of establishing an honor society to honor and recognize the academic accomplishments of their business students. It is my belief that students are as important as administrators, staffers or faculty. It is incumbent upon faculty to encourage qualified students to take advantage of membership in Kappa Beta Delta or other accredited honor societies. Why does not every eligible business student with the required grade point average consult with a KBD advisor on obtaining membership? The easy answer is that the one time fee of $50 does not seem worth the expenditure. The more likely answer is that faculty and advisors do not discuss the advantages honor society memberships provide. An observation done at one of the KBD chapters revealed that only about 20% of those students receiving a written invitation to join actually did. Perhaps the intrinsic value of having an honor society membership may not be sufficiently recognized by either faculty or students. A few of the benefits of membership, besides providing public recognition to students who have distinguished themselves, would be scholarships based on leadership, character, motivation, need and potential, and KBD publications received throughout members lifetimes. New inductees receive a free one year subscription to Business Week magazine. Ivy Tech is accredited by the North Central Association (NCA) and its auxiliary the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The HLC has preeminent authority. To illustrate this point, this summer Dana College located in Blair, Nebraska closed its doors after losing accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission. Although the Board of Regents vehemently expressed their displeasure on what they considered contentious decision making by the HLC, an appeal was not available.

3 Our fourteen regional Ivy Tech Schools of Business have also been accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). On June 27, 2010 at the ACBSP International annual meeting in Los Angeles, CA the organization s name was officially changed to Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. The initials ACBSP remain the same. This international organization has more than 664 members in 25 countries. Four hundred ninety-nine of these have achieved accreditation of their business programs. Ivy Tech, statewide, was accredited in It will complete a reevaluation in 2010 with the expectation of being reaffirmed at the ACBSP annual meeting in late June Fulfillment of the ACBSP self-study benefited from the exhaustive preparation previously done for the North Central Association s Higher Learning Commission 2009 report. In addition to the ACBSP one of the oldest accrediting organizations for business schools is the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Founded in 1916, it currently evaluates and accredits 579 business schools. Among those business schools located in Indiana which have an affiliation with the AACSB are: Ball State University; Indiana State University; University of Southern Indiana; Valparaiso University; Purdue University, Notre Dame University, and Indiana University Northwest. The latter school uses as its captioned logo in magazine advertising When it comes to business education, accreditation is everything. Our students, perhaps sometimes unknowingly, benefit greatly by having the credits earned at Ivy Tech made transferable to other four- year baccalaureate colleges and universities sanctioned by the NCA s Higher

4 Learning Commission, ACBSP or AACSB. This statement becomes profound when we hear of situations where someone has completed a two year associate program at a school lacking accreditation and then finding out that none of their credits transfer. Here is another example: A person seeking an adjunct teaching position at Ivy Tech recently submitted an application and resume. His impressive resume was captioned with his name followed by PhD. A colleague did some research and found that the PhD designation had been issued by a school that was not from a regionally accredited college. The applicant was not given further consideration. In 1988, only 260 out of 2,400 schools of business were accredited, all by the AACSB. Most or all of the AACSB accredited schools had an emphasis on research, while most other schools had an emphasis on teaching. On April 28, 1988, 150 of the nonaccredited schools met in Kansas City, Missouri to consider alternatives to AACSB accreditation for teaching-oriented schools. That year the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) was founded to offer accreditation services to business programs focused on teaching and learning. On May 12, 1989, a study group completed a feasibility study and submitted recommendations for standards for accreditation by the ACBSP. In August 1992, ACBSP was recognized by the U. S. Department of Education as a specialized accreditation agency for business education. The logo for ACBSP Discover ACBSP, the Quality Standard for Business Education Around the World is being supplanted by ACBSP Global Business Accreditation. ACBSP is the only organization offering accreditation to all levels of collegiate business programs from associate to baccalaureate to graduate degree institutions. In 2001,

5 ACBSP became the first accrediting body for business schools to be recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). ACBSP accreditation standards are modeled on the Baldrige National Quality Program and its Criteria for Educational Performance Excellence. This reassures the business community that the institution will be a reliable source of knowledgeable employees and a trustworthy destination for charitable contributions. The ACBSP accredited institutions are encouraged to affiliate with one of three honorary societies which are under its umbrella. Sigma Beta Delta is for graduate degree institutions, Delta Mu Delta is for baccalaureate granting schools, and as described earlier in this paper Kappa Beta Delta is for associate degree schools. Honor society membership for academic excellence in a business discipline is one of the most cherished tributes that a graduate can receive from his/her institution. According to the ACBSP website (http://www.acbsp.org/p/cm/ld/fid) the following 47 benefits of accreditation provide a formidable argument for membership in its honor societies. Benefits for the Institution: 1. The pursuit of accreditation reinforces a commitment to continuous improvement, innovation, and scholarship. 2. The process of preparing an accreditation self-study enhances the focus on quality of student learning and renews a commitment to the educational mission. 3. The recognition of effective business units through accreditation contributes to a more positive review by regional accreditors, as specialized accreditation is a confirmation of quality programming in specific divisions. 4. Accredited status creates greater visibility for the institution. 5. Accreditation provides prestige and credibility when seeking funding resources from donors, foundations, governments. 6. In some states accredited status counts heavily in performance-based funding. 7. Accreditation leads to more successful articulation of business credits.

6 8. The accredited institution can utilize press releases to advertise accreditation status. 9. Accredited status is printed in the college catalog. 10. Accredited status is posted on business cards. 11. Accredited status is posted on the college website. 12. Accreditation provides a sense of pride within the institution. Benefits for the Business Unit: 1. Accreditation creates a process for continuous departmental improvement. 2. Accreditation provides the impetus for identifying strengths and weaknesses. 3. Accreditation keeps the programs current through curriculum development. 4. Accreditation provides a forum for review and analysis of the business unit. 5. Accreditation promotes an outcomes assessment process linking goals, activities, and outcomes. 6. Accreditation creates guidelines for faculty credentials, which leads to higher standards in hiring, increased scholarly and professional activities, and more focused faculty development decisions. 7. Accreditation creates guidelines when structuring programs. 8. Accreditation provides a platform to share ideas and to question the status-quo, leading to effective change. 9. Accreditation is a source of pride among faculty and staff. 7 - Reflections 10. Accreditation validates quality of work in the business unit. 11. The business unit realizes greater local prestige through accreditation. 12. Accreditation provides leverage when seeking on-campus resources. 13. Accredited status leads to more effective acquisition of technology. 14. Accreditation status is referenced when submitting budgets, grant proposals, and course/program proposals. 15. Accredited status assists in recruitment of faculty. 16. Accreditation activities are communicated to the Board of Trustees. 17. Accredited status is printed on Business Division stationery. 18. Accredited status is printed on course syllabi. 19. The certificate of accreditation is prominently displayed. 20. Accredited status is printed on brochures and newsletters. Benefits for Faculty and Staff: 1. Accreditation provides a sense of pride within the business faculty and staff when national peers have validated a program.

7 2. Faculty at accredited institutions are provided opportunities to keep current in quality procedures through seminars such as Baldrige training. 3. Faculty experiences a boost of self-esteem when teaching in an accredited business unit. 4. Accreditation provides professional development and leadership opportunities for faculty an administrators in development of outcome assessments and conducting the site visits to other institutions. Benefits for Students: 1. Accreditation creates the impetus for relevancy and currency of faculty programs, and courses to best serve students. 2. The pursuit of accreditation enhances the ability to serve students by assuring a focus on quality performance. 3. Accredited status requires an ongoing effort to provide excellent equipment, software, and learning resources for students. 4. Accredited status reaffirms the commitment to effective student services. 5. Students refer to accreditation status on resumes and in employment interviews. 6. Accredited status provides the ability to host a chapter of Delta Mu Delta or Kappa Beta Delta honorary society, recognizing accomplishments of business students. 7. Students who join these honorary societies can cite their special recognition when pursuing scholarships and writing resumes. Benefits for the Community: 1. Accredited status provides recognition of the ability to serve community shareholders. 2. Accreditation creates the impetus for relevancy and currency of faculty, programs, and courses to best serve employers. 3. External advisory committees learn the importance of accreditation. 4. External advisory committee members can transfer the accreditation process to their continuous improvement efforts. Meaningful accreditation has no viable option. Complying with the requirements as submitted to the North Central Association, full-time faculty in the Ivy Tech Community College must be highly credentialed with a minimum of a master s degree in their discipline.

8 As business faculty, we must encourage qualified students to take advantage of honor society membership. That option may only be available one time for the student. Every Ivy Tech School of Business has the option to seek a charter and afford students the option of resume enhancement. The KBD International office provides information packets which contain a sample constitution and by-laws, plus a step by step format to establish a chapter. It is a relatively easy thing to do. The one time charter fee is reasonable. It is incumbent on the deans and department chairs to offer the position of KBD Advisor to an instructor. To say everyone is too busy to take on something so inherently important and potentially useful for students is questionable. The cliché about busy people are the ones that get things accomplished rings true. Chartering a Kappa Beta Delta chapter is a win-win-win situation. The student wins, the faculty advisor wins, and the school wins.

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