Fairfield University School of Business receives elite AACSB accreditation

The School of Business has achieved national recognition and joined a select group as it was awarded accreditation by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the leading accrediting agency for programs in business administration and accounting.

Final approval was granted by AACSB at a meeting of its Business Accreditation Committee, approved by the Board of Directors at its February meeting and announced on March 6.

Approximately 1,200 colleges and universities in the United States offer undergraduate business degree but only 305 are accredited by AACSB. In Connecticut, the only AACSB-accredited schools of business are located at Yale and the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

Dr. Russell Boisjoly, dean of the School of Business, said, "The accreditation moves the school into an elite ranking nationally, a tribute to our strong academic programs. To achieve the recognition, a business school must meet standards of quality relating to curriculum, faculty resources, admissions, degree requirements, building facilities, library and computer facilities, financial resources and intellectual climate."

During the accreditation process, Fairfield was reviewed by external consultants and visited by a team of two business school deans and a member of the AACSB staff that evaluated the school.

While Fairfield was undergoing the process, it was the only school in the nation invited three consecutive years to make a presentation to the AACSB Continuing Improvement Symposium and two consecutive years to the AACSB Undergraduate Curriculum Innovation Seminar. The invitations came in recognition of the School of Business' innovations in curriculum, faculty development and strategic planning.

Accreditation helps schools attract outstanding faculty and administrators on a national level and assists schools in their efforts to secure support from major corporations for further development. It also serves as a catalyst for continuing accountability as the faculty members' achievements in research, professional presentation, service to their profession, community and university are evaluated. It is also a stimulus for adding dimensions to the curriculum in order to maintain pace with 21st-century needs and to prepare students for careers in business.

For students, it offers a basis for comparison when they are choosing a school of business to attend, added recognition when applying to graduate school, and better opportunities in their careers because some corporations only recruit at AACSB schools and some employers will not pay tuition for employees to attend non-AACSB programs.

The School of Business at Fairfield was established in 1978 and is the second largest school within the University with 880 undergraduate students and 350 pursuing master's degrees. There are 37 full-time faculty members and 90 percent of them hold terminal degrees such as Ph.D., D.B.A., J.D. or equivalent. The school offers majors in Accounting, Finance, Information Systems, International Studies, Management and Marketing and a five-year program leading to a bachelor of science degree and an MBA.

In 1994, Fairfield revamped its undergraduate curriculum with the assistance of a grant from General Electric and developed a unique sequence of three courses. They stress the interdisciplinary relationships of such areas as organizational behavior, production, finance, marketing and international business in the management of a firm.

In addition, a grant from PepsiCo enabled the School of Business to develop a major in International Studies with the College of Arts and Sciences and a minor in Russian and Eastern European Studies.

Based on actual procedures in the corporate world, the school also introduced students to reaching goals through teamwork. Over the past three years, student teams created marketing plans for the entire product line of Newman's Own, the non-profit company founded by actor Paul Newman to market salad dressing, lemonade, salsa, popcorn and other products. The students also produced radio-controlled model airplanes with 10-foot spans that actually flew, and in 1996, 12 student-teams built and raced soapbox derby cars.

The School of Business began offering a master of science degree in financial management in 1981, designed to meet the needs of graduate students seeking to become financial vice president or comptrollers of their companies. In 1994, the MBA was introduced and it has quickly grown to enroll over 300 students.

Dr. Boisjoly added, "This accreditation is the culmination of our determination to join the family of outstanding schools of business. Fairfield University consistently ranks among the top three regional universities in the North in the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking of universities and that excellence is demonstrated by the School of Business in behalf of our students."

He also paid tribute to the faculty, alumni and students who built the school's reputation. "They have distinguished themselves by their commitment and it would not have been possible without the concerted effort of every faculty member, student and alumnus of the School of Business."

AACSB, based in St. Louis, is a non-profit organization that includes more than 900 educational organizations as well as over 100 major corporations and trade groups. Its goal is to promote high standards in management education at colleges and universities.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 1, 1997

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