Brenau University wins approval of top business school accrediting board

May 23, 2012
Brenau Staff

Brenau University received initial approval for its business school programs from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

The ACBSP Board of Commissioners’ action puts the Brenau undergraduate and graduate business programs in an elite group of business schools around the world that have been sanctioned by the organization.

“Only about five percent of the business schools globally have ACBSP accreditation,” said Bill Lightfoot, the dean of the College of Business & Mass Communications at Brenau. “Of the 70 or so M.B.A. programs offered by institutions in and around the Atlanta area, fewer than 10 have achieved that status.”

The dean suggested that the ACBSP seal of approval should have positive impact on student recruitment in one of the university’s fastest-growing academic tracks. “What business students look for in an institution is that their diploma will mean something once they get into the world,” he said. “This is an assurance of quality – that Brenau measures up to a higher standard in the business school world.”

“With some 2,400 business schools in the United States, ACBSP is an important distinction,” said Suzanne Erickson, associate dean for assessment and operations for the Brenau program. “Whereas other accreditation bodies largely focus on the level of research performed by the faculty and advanced students at the institution, ACBSP hones in on the excellence in teaching at all levels within the institution.”

On the accrediting body’s Web site, the Overland Park, Kan.-based ACBSP describes itself as a “specialized accreditation association for business education supporting, celebrating, and rewarding teaching excellence. The association embraces the virtues of teaching excellence and emphasizes to students that it is essential to learn how to learn. ACBSP acknowledges the importance of scholarly research and inquiry and believes that such activities facilitate improved teaching. Institutions are strongly encouraged to pursue a reasonable mutually beneficial balance between teaching and research. And further, ACBSP encourages faculty involvement within the contemporary business world to enhance the quality of classroom instruction and to contribute to student learning.”

“This really expands the relationships that we can have globally with other colleges and universities and strengthens the bond that our students can have with students from those institutions,” Lightfoot said. “Other institutions simply prefer to partner with peer institutions sanctioned by the same accrediting body.”

Among its relationships in Europe and Asia, Brenau already has partnerships with three universities in China, and the business school in particular has had considerable success in recent years in attracting cohorts of students seeking Master of Business Administration degrees on Brenau’s home campus in the United States. Ironically, as the university received official notification that it has passed muster on the ACBSP accreditation, Lightfoot and Brenau University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Nancy Krippel were embarking to China to strengthen and expand on the existing relationships.