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Accreditation reaffirmed for business school


Terri Swartz

  • March 23, 2009

The College of Business and Economics at California State University, East Bay has received reaffirmation of its accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International, the official accrediting body for schools of business in the United States and around the world.

The accreditation is for five years, including the current academic year and continues through 2012-2013. It will maintain a stretch of 40 consecutive years that the CSUEB college has been accredited, going back to 1973.

According to documents from the AACSB, "only 559 schools of business, or less than five percent of those worldwide, have earned this distinction of excellence. To maintain accreditation, a business program must undergo a rigorous internal review every five years, at which the program must demonstrate its continued commitment to the 21 quality standards relating to faculty qualification, strategic management of resources, interactions of faculty and students, and commitment to continuous improvement and achievement of learning goals in degree programs."

"It takes a great deal of self evaluation and determination to earn and maintain AACSB accreditation," said Jerry Trapnell, chief accreditation officer of AACSB International. "Schools not only must meet specific standards of excellence, but their deans, faculty, and staff must make a commitment to ongoing improvement to ensure continued delivery of high-quality education to students."

It's a major point of pride to Terri Swartz, who was named interim dean of the college in July 2007 and appointed to the permanent position five months later.

"This is a wonderful accomplishment for the entire college, especially the faculty and staff," said Swartz, who had various administrative assignments - including interim dean - in the business college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and was on the faculty there for 16 years before moving into the leadership role at CSUEB. "As I've said since arriving here, no one person can do it, but together we can achieve great things.

"This is the first major hurdle to get over as we continue forward," Swartz said. "It is a continuous process. We report annually. AACSB is looking at what's occuring on an annual basis."

The accreditation follows three consecutive years in which Cal State East Bay's College of Business and Economics has been recognized as one of the top business schools in the United States by the Princeton Review. For many years, the college has been one of the most productive in the CSU for educating M.B.A. (Master's of Business Administration) graduates.

The CSUEB dean was especially pleased with the extended accreditation, considering that the university has had changes in the leadership of the university with a new president and provost, as well as four different people who have served as dean since the college last received accreditation in 2001.

"That's one of the areas AACSB looks at, since they want some leadership stability (in the college)," Swartz said. "We had quite a bit to overcome."

That the College of Business and Economics has been accredited every year since 1973, Swartz said, "is huge in timeline and context."

"If you look at the number of schools that were AACSB accredited in 1973 and percentage of business programs worldwide that were accredited at that time, I would bet that is half of what it is today. Kudos to retired dean Jay Tontz (dean from 1973-2003) and what he had done way back in terms of starting us on this process."

Her college has been strengthened during the past year with the addition of 11 new tenure-track faculty members, despite the cuts in state government budget support.

"This is a time of challenge and opportunity, given the state of California; it presents a lot of challenges as we try to figure out what we need to do as a state-assisted program," Swartz said. "We must find other means of financial support to continue the progress we've made over the years."

AACSB International is an association of more than 1,100 educational institutions, business and other organizations in 70 countries that is dedicated to the advancement of management education worldwide.

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