Fundamental issues of self-examination for the Business School are coalescing this fall as a five-year endeavor enters the home stretch for reaccreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.
The issues are crucial and elemental. What should
students be? Know? Be able to do? And, critically, how the School of Business
Administration - and the world -- can be assured of these achievements.
"Accreditation by the AACSB says we are among the elite business schools in the
world," said Dr. Jud Stryker, chairman of the Maintenance of Accreditation
Committee. "It is vital for the reputation of our business school that we
maintain this level of excellence."
The AACSB first accredited the
Stetson's Business School in 1996, so this is the third review to maintain the
accreditation. Assessment, analysis and endeavor involving every aspect of the
school and faculty member have been going on since the last reaccreditation in
Final reports are being collected and assimilated by the
Accreditation Maintenance Committee in anticipation of an AACSB Peer Review Team
visit in late January. Stryker said he couldn't hazard a guess at the great
number of faculty and staff hours that have gone into the long process.
"So many people have been part of the process," he said. "Every faculty member
has played an important role, but the effort grows in intensity as the team
visit approaches and we must show that we have done what we said we would
The AACSB doesn't make specific requirements and say "you
absolutely must do this or that," said Stryker, also associate dean of the
Business School and chair of the Accounting Department. Instead, it
lays out guidelines and the school itself establishes the parameters of
unceasing improvements in research, scholarship, assurance of learning,
sufficiency of qualified faculty, strategic planning, commitment of the
university to the improvements and many, many other factors encompassing the
"Continuous improvement" of the business and
accounting programs is stressed by the AACSB, said Stryker. Quality of all
facets of the school must be constantly monitored, improved and maintained. The
AACSB's visit is the culmination of the previous five years' efforts.
Less than 5 percent of the world's business schools have achieved the elite
distinction of AACSB accreditation. Stetson holds two separate AACSB
accreditations, one for the entire Business School and a second, specialized
accreditation for its Accounting Program. Almost 600 business schools in the
world hold the former, but only 173 hold both.
"And if you look at
private schools who hold both accreditations," said Stryker, "it would be in the
area of 35 schools worldwide."
Although hundreds of details covering
every aspect of the school are involved in honing an educational edge to meet
the world's most discerning standards, the entire effort is focused on one
straightforward goal: unsurpassed quality of student learning.
reaccreditation presentation earlier this year to the Business School Board of
Advisors asked several questions that reflect the crux of the effort: "What do
we want our students to BE when they graduate from Stetson? What should
they KNOW? What should they be able to DO? How can we be
assured that they have learned what we want them to learn? How can we improve
The questions go to the core of the school's vision
and mission, evident in every classroom and inherent in the solid,
unquestionable reputation of every student's diploma. Stryker has no uncertainty
that the questions' intrinsic standards have been exceeded in every way: "I have
no doubt we will be reaccredited."
Other faculty members serving on the
Accreditation Maintenance Committee are Mike Bitter, Carolyn Nicholson, Ted
Surynt, Michelle DeMoss, Yingtao (Michael) Shen, Scott Jones and Stuart
Michelson, dean of the Business School.