The College of Business at Southern Arkansas University has earned continuing accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International, the world’s most prestigious accrediting agency for business schools. SAU received its initial accreditation from the organization in 2004.
Only 579 colleges and universities have attained AACSB International accreditation, and Dr. Lisa Toms, dean of the SAU College of Business, said that puts SAU in the top 5 percent of business schools world-wide. “It’s the stamp of excellence,” she said.
“I am excited that our College of Business has been recognized by the most prestigious accrediting organization for business in the entire world,” said SAU President Dr. David Rankin. “To have both our bachelor and master’s degrees in the field of business recognized by AACSB International is a great accomplishment for SAU.”
Achieving accreditation is a process of rigorous internal review, evaluation and adjustment and can take several years to complete. During these years, schools develop and implement a plan to meet the 21 AACSB standards requiring a high quality teaching environment, a commitment to continuous improvement and curricula responsive to the needs of business. Working to maintain the accreditation requires faculty and administrators to continually develop programs that will enhance the College of Business.
When Toms was notified of the board’s decision to grant the continuing accreditation, she was told of two “best practices” that were noted by the peer review team during a visit in the fall. Those practices included a faculty mentoring program in which senior members of the College of Business faculty mentor junior faculty members and the college’s faculty development planning process. “They were very complimentary of our faculty,” she said.
“It takes a great deal of commitment and determination to earn AACSB accreditation,” said Jerry Trapnell, executive vice president and chief accreditation officer of AACSB International. “Schools must not only meet specific standards of excellence, but their deans, faculties and staffs must make a commitment to ongoing improvement to ensure that the institution will continue to deliver high quality education to students.”
The AACSB International designation not only helps the SAU College of Business to recruit top faculty and students, but graduates also have an advantage when entering the job market. “There are employers right now who will not hire graduates that come from schools without an AACSB accreditation,” Toms said.
The recent decision by AACSB International’s board of directors extends its accreditation of the SAU College of Business through 2015.