As the College of Business Administration awaits possible accreditation from the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, one has to look back at the five long years the department spent preparing for its evaluation and ask the provocative question:
Why all the hoopla?
Financial reasons, to name a few. ACU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), an accreditation that is re-earned every 10 years.
“We have to be accredited to receive federal funds,” ACU president Dr. Royce Money said. “SACS is not optional, but the other accreditations are icing on the cake.”
And COBA can’t wait to taste the sweet stuff. If AACSB makes the expected announcement to accredit the school in January at its annual meeting in St. Louis, COBA will join 452 distinguished business programs from schools like the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University and Baylor University.
COBA has already earned accreditation from the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), a 261-member accrediting body that is respected-but not as exclusive as AACSB.
Proof of caliber comes as an equally important benefit of accreditation.
“We want to be the best undergraduate Christian business school in the nation,” COBA dean Rick Lytle said. “AACSB is the best in the land.”
Lytle and his department spent about five years completing a self-study to submit to the accrediting body, a process he said he’s happy to be through.
Dr. Cheryl Bacon, chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, is no stranger to the departmental self-study. From 1999 to 2000, she and the rest of the JMC Department prepared for the November 2000 site visit from the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC), a body that eventually approved accreditation in May 2001.
About a dozen departments campus wide are familiar with that type of work and have earned some sort of accreditation. But do these standards help attract new students to the university? Bacon says, “Yes.”
“We had only been accredited for a month or two the first time I got a phone call from a parent who had found our name on the ACEJMC Web site,” Bacon said. “She was so pleased to see a Christian university listed there. We have had students tell us they made the choice to come to ACU because our JMC program was accredited.”
However, the president said, while many reasons exist to favor accreditation, only one truly matters.
“The goal has always been to produce better programs for the students,” Money said. “Accreditation is simply the means to the goal. It’s not the goal.”
Now we know why all the hoopla.