By Kristofer Noceda
HAYWARD - Cal State East Bay's prized College of Business and Economics announced its accreditation has been reaffirmed by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International, or AACSB.
The five-year accreditation will run through the 2012-13 school year, marking 40 consecutive years the college has been certified as a top school of business. The college received its initial accreditation in 1973 and was last reaffirmed in 1997.
"It is the best of the best looking at our programs and saying we are there with them," said Terri Swartz, college dean. "This is a wonderful accomplishment for the entire college, especially the faculty and staff."
Only 559 schools of business, or less than 5 percent of those worldwide, have earned this "distinction of excellence," according to the AACSB.
To maintain its accreditation, the college faced a rigorous review by AACSB officials - and some unexpected in-house challenges.
Swartz was brought along as an interim dean in July 2007 to help calm the storm left by her predecessor, John Kohl, who abruptly resigned shortly before Swartz arrived on campus.
Some faculty went public with their unhappiness under Kohl's leadership, reporting a "toxic" environment at the college as it prepared for its accreditation process.
"I wasn't hired to make friends," Kohl said at the time during an interview with Bay Area News Group-East Bay. "I was hired to try to turn this ship around and ensure reaccreditation."
Kohl based his resignation on a combination of lack of support and disgruntled faculty that ultimately forced his hand, opening an opportunity for Swartz.
She earned the trust of faculty, and the university banked on Swartz earning reaffirmation when they hired her as a permanent dean in December of that year.
"The College of Business and Economics has improved dramatically since (Swartz's) arrival and most of the improvement is due to her leadership and the great work of faculty in the college," said Michael Mahoney, university provost and vice president for academic affairs.
In the past year, Swartz has further strengthened the college with the addition of 11 new tenure-tracked faculty members, despite ongoing cuts to education from the state.
The review process included demonstrating to the AACSB "quality standards" relating to faculty qualifications. Other areas officials look into during an accreditation review include management of resources, and faculty and student interaction.
"Schools not only must meet specific standards of excellence," said Jerry Trapnell, chief accreditation officer of AACSB, "but their deans, faculty and staff must make a commitment to ongoing improvement to ensure continued delivery of high-quality education to students."
The accreditation follows three consecutive years in which the college has been recognized as one of the top business schools in the nation by The Princeton Review.