An interview with Jerry E. Trapnell
Chair, AACSB International
About AACSB International
Organized in 1916, AACSB is the premier accrediting agency for bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in business and accounting. It conducts development programs for faculty and administrators; engages in research /survey projects; maintains relationships with disciplinary associations; interacts with corporations on initiatives; and produces publications on management education trends.
What is the AACSB's role in higher business education?
AACSB International will provide global leadership in advancing management education through accreditation and by fostering international interchanges, key business linkages, sharing of best practices, professional development, and other member services. Provide a community for business education leaders for collaboration and for sharing of ideas.
How does the accreditation process work?
Provides standards for excellence agreed on by global leadership in business education. Encourages strategic management and continuous improvement toward the institutional mission. Uses intensive internal self-evaluation and external peer review to focus on how effectively the institution uses its resources to meet its mission.
What are the reasons for accrediting business schools outside North America?
Same as inside North America: To foster excellence and continuous improvement in business education. Responding to requests from AACSB International members outside of North America.
Do you think that there are universal criteria for assessing business schools?
Of course, but they must be implemented flexibly to account for institutional and cultural differences in educational practices and business needs. In the end, the criteria for assessing business schools must evaluate whether institutions effectively prepare graduates to be contributors and leaders in organizations.
Why are there only 26 non North American schools out of 430 that are accredited by the AACSB? Does that mean that North American Institutions are better?
There are 34 accredited schools outside of the US and 26 outside of North America. AACSB International began accrediting in the US in 1919 and outside of North America in 1997. Many schools outside of North America are just now learning about AACSB accreditation. More than 50 schools outside of North America are officially involved in accreditation preparations and process, and many others are considering entering the process.
Is there any advice you would like to give to our readers?
Students and employers can choose among a large number of providers of business education. This buyer's market should encourage them to select carefully. Students and employers should choose to attend, or to hire from, institutions with the offerings and features most valuable to them. AACSB International accreditation is one indicator of the value of an institution's business education; it shows that the institution has reached a level of quality and that it engages in continuous improvement.
About Jerry E. Trapnell
Jerry Trapnell, Ph.D., CPA, is Dean of the College of Business and Behavioral Science at Clemson University. Degrees Received: Ph.D., University of Georgia; B. S. and M. S.; Clemson. Committee Service: AICPA; Accounting Programs Leadership Group of the AAA; FSA; IMA; AACSB International (2002-03 Chair; serving since 1999); and SCACPAs.P
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