Marketing professor Ken Hunt engages students during a class held in the Education & Business Hall's atrium.
The cost of being among the best is that you have to keep proving you measure up.
That's the position the School of Business Administration finds itself in this month as it faces a visit from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International. A committee will be here this month to review the Business School's renewal of the AACSB's prestigious accreditation, a distinction it has held for nearly 40 years.
"We've been accredited since '74, a time when schools our size didn't get accredited," says Dean Gary Linn. "It provides credibility. It's a stamp of approval for students looking into graduate programs and businesses that may not know of Fort Lewis."
In 1974, the Fort Lewis College School of Business Administration became the first undergraduate-only public liberal arts-based business program to be accredited by the AACSB, an international honor the organization has bestowed on qualifying schools since 1919.
Today, fewer than one-third of U.S. business schools and only 5 percent of business schools worldwide meet the standards of AACSB International accreditation. "We're also the only accredited school on the Western Slope, so it helps with recruiting students both in Colorado and beyond," Linn says.
To earn accreditation, the AACSB evaluates a school’s ability to provide quality programs through self evaluations, peer reviews, committee reviews, and the development of long-term plans. They also include reviews of a school’s mission, faculty qualifications, and curricula. Once accredited, every five years a team of reviewers visits campus for a day and a half. In preparation, the department writes a fifth-year maintenance report that is sent to the team before their visit.
"They consider strategic planning, financial resources, and professional and academic qualifications of faculty," explains Linn. "They also see that student learning outcomes are set in place and faculty are assessing their courses to be sure students are meeting their student-learning outcomes."
Importantly, though, the review committee wants to know that the school will maintain these high standards until the next review comes along. "The team looks at not only that you can can do the job now, but that you can do it for the next five years," Linn adds.
The AACSB's seal of approval is "the gold standard in accreditation. It's the best that a business school can get," says Linn. And that accreditation also helps him personally, he notes, "because with that, as a dean I can recruit better faculty."
And those faculty, he says, are really the School of Business Administration's greatest distinction.
"We put students first, because our faculty's number one mission is teaching," says Linn. "So with our small class sizes, students get a lot of interaction with our quality faculty. That's why you're going to get a great education here."
Learn about the School of Business Administration here.
Learn about the School of Business Administration's AACSB accrediation here.