The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business has had a busy year. In its annual State of Accreditation Report, released November 15, the organization describes carrying out 167 visits to member schools over 2022-2023 to learn of the “innovative societal impact efforts of schools around the world.”
These Continuous Improvement Review visits were not mere junkets. They helped the AACSB, one of the three main global accrediting agencies for business schools, learn about the issues faced by some of its nearly 2,000 member schools around the globe, in order to better highlight the challenges, trumpet the successes, and make recommendations for the future. The accreditation body based in the U.S., Europe, and Asia calls the visits to schools on the three continents “a collective learning experience” that serve as an opportunity to review outcomes, best practices, and future opportunities — “the collective wisdom” of the best minds in business education.
What was learned? “Visited schools reported a total of 180 issues focused on having an economic impact, 142 focused on the environment, and 270 on social issues,” AACSB declares. “Asia-Pacific and EMEA schools were fairly evenly distributed among the three categories, while schools in the Americas placed greater emphasis on social and economic impact and less on the environment.”
SCHOOLS MUST ‘DRIVE SOCIETAL IMPACT & THOUGHT LEADERSHIP’
Among the key challenges described in the new report:
- 57% of schools had room for progress in their strategic planning;
- 66% sought progress in their provision of faculty and professional staff resources;
- 48% wanted progress in their assurance of learning processes; and
- 73% hope for more in their societal impact efforts.
AACSB outlines strategies to help schools meet their goals in these areas “so they can continue to address important global issues and shape the next generation of leaders.” The organization is not new to this campaign: For years it has banged the drum for more positive impact programming in business education (see Poets&Quants‘ coverage here and here).
ADVICE FOR SCHOOLS
AACSB’s advice for business schools includes refining their faculty qualification processes, clarifying their societal impact focuses, and monitoring assurance of learning processes more regularly.
“The recurring themes point to a need for schools to focus strategically and align faculty resources with the school’s mission,” the report concludes. “Schools should also analyze unsystematic risk so they are positioned for challenges that have a medium-to-high likelihood of occurring. The school’s mission should drive societal impact and thought leadership. Ensuring high-quality learning outcomes through assurance of learning continues to be an area of difficulty.”
The report can be accessed in full here.
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