Charles F. Dolan School of Business successfully maintains AACSB accreditation: "Exceptionally effective practices" noted by review team


AACSB InternationalFairfield University's Charles F. Dolan School of Business has successfully completed its maintenance of accreditation by AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Founded in 1916, AACSB is the longest serving and largest global accrediting body for business schools that offer undergraduate, master's degrees, and doctoral degrees in business and accounting.

The extended accreditation of both the undergraduate and master's degree programs in business means the Dolan School stands among a select group of institutions of higher learning with this national recognition.

The number of AACSB accredited schools is 549. They are part of an elite group that makes up less than 10 percent of the world's business schools that have achieved business and/or accounting accreditation from AACSB.

The extended accreditation was concurred by the AACSB Maintenance of Accreditation Committee and ratified by the Board of Directors. The Dolan School underwent intense review to maintain accreditation, which stands for six years. The Dolan School was awarded initial accreditation by AACSB in 1997. As required by AACSB standards, all accredited schools must go through a peer review every five years in order to maintain their accreditation.

Norm Solomon, Ph. D., dean of the Dolan School, said he was proud of his faculty and staff. "This is an affirmation of all our hard work. My belief is that re-accreditation is a true testament to the commitment to excellence of our faculty and the tremendous quality of our students."

Orin L. Grossman, Ph. D., academic vice president, said that the AACSB Peer Review Team was clearly very impressed by the academic excellence of the Dolan School. "It was very clear that the school had excelled. Not only were there no areas of concern, there were quite substantial areas of 'best practices,' including an innovative approach to assessment and a strong connection to the mission of the University."

Dr. William Weitzer, senior vice president, said, "It was clear from the exit interview that the team was impressed with the Dolan School and had identified some innovative practices, some of which they would recommend as best practices to the AACSB. I was particularly pleased with their finding that there is good correspondence between the Dolan School and Fairfield's Jesuit mission."

The AACSB Review Team noted an array of "exceptionally effective practices," or best practices in its review of the Dolan School. Those best practices included a strong correspondence between the mission of Fairfield University and the mission of the Dolan School. This can be seen especially in the faculty's commitment to cura personalis, or education of the whole person. The team found this exemplified in the incorporation of social responsibility into teaching and practical experience-based education. For example, students in a taxation course take part in a volunteer tax preparation program for working families in Bridgeport, which is a service-learning component of the course.

The Review Team also applauded the annual Sophomore Symposium, which features a keynote speaker who addresses the benefits of studying business in a Jesuit and Catholic institution. According to the review, Dolan students were highly complementary of professional support staff and faculty in regard to academic and career advising.

Also noted as a best practice was Eidos, an online program developed by Fairfield University, including Curtis R. Naser, Ph. D., associate professor of philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences; Roselie M. McDevitt, Sc. D., assistant professor of accounting; Michael T. Tucker, D.B.A., professor of finance, and Dr. Solomon. It is at the heart of the Dolan School program assessment process. It allows for review of student work to determine how learning goals are being addressed.

Also mentioned by the Review Team as a best practice was the Dolan School's use of EBI Survey, which allows for the surveying of undergraduates and graduate students to gauge their opinions of their respective programs.

John J. Fernandes, president and chief executive officer of AACSB International, said, "AACSB commends the faculty, deans, directors, and administrative staffs for their exemplary work in helping their schools earn the highest achievement in business school accreditation."

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 17, 2007

Vol. 39, No. 205