The College of Business Administration and the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication earned reaccreditation for the next five and six years, respectively.
COBA was reaccredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Dr. Brad Crisp, dean, said there are set standards to meet and more generally, three “buzz words” – engagement, innovation and impact.
In January, three professors from Millsaps College, Butler University and Pacific University visited campus to conduct a peer review of the college.
At the beginning of April, they received word that their reaccreditation had been accepted.
Crisp said he wanted to emphasize that accreditation is an expectation – a level of quality necessary to operate in order to compete with students and make sure that employers want hire graduates.
In addition, he said this was the first year the online business programs have been reviewed.
“Our peer review team asked questions, but they were really impressed by it, so it was nice to be through the first review process with this group,” Crisp said.
Crisp said the site team emphasized ACU is the “most mission aligned university” they’d been to. After talking to faculty, students and alumni, they recognized that people attend the university for academic quality.
Crisp said there are always recommendations on what to do better over the accreditation period. This year, they recommended that as the university launches new online programs, those would be covered by the same partnership that are done with online graduate programs.
In addition, they said to look at expectations around faculty research.
“None of those things become our criticisms,” Crisp said. “They’re just seeing what you’re doing now and encouraging you to keep looking at that and continue it.”
Kenneth Pybus, chair of the JMC department, said to be accredited by the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, a department has to compile a document that studies every aspect of its work and answers questions about every aspect of the department – how professors are teaching the subject matter, how money is being spent and how faculty is being compensated, for example.
“Being accredited is a lot of hard work,” Pybus said. “It’s worth it because you’re able to say we’ve proven that what we’re doing is what we ought be doing.”
The national accrediting body for the department includes 100 other JMC departments from across the world. At the university, JMC has been accredited in all three majors – advertising and public relations, journalism and multimedia – since 2001.
Last semester, three faculty members from other universities including Kent State, Washington and Lee and the University of Washington, visited Abilene for four days to assess the department. During their time, they met with students, faculty, alumni and administrators.
The three unanimously recommended to the committee that the department met all nine accrediting standards, including curriculum, scholarships, service, facilities and other factors.
“They offered some areas where we could improve, where we need to put some attention, and we’re looking at ways where we can do that,” Pybus said.
The site team gave recommendations to the ACEJMC committee, which voted unanimously to recommend reaccreditation last month. The vote goes to the full council on April 26.