The College of Business at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith has earned accreditation by AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
AACSB, which was founded in 1916, is the longest-serving globalaccrediting body for business schools that offer undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees in business and accounting.
UAFS received formal notification from John J. Fernandes, president and chief executive officer of AACSB International, who congratulated the University and the College of Business on earning the accreditation and welcomed UAFS into the AACSB family of accredited business schools.
“AACSB accreditation represents the highest achievement for an educational institution that awards business degrees,” said Fernandes. “Dean Steve Williams and the faculty, staff and administration are to be commended for their dedication and commitment to continuous improvement and for their role in earning initial accreditation."
UAFS administrators hailed the accreditation as an outstanding achievement for the university, the College of Business and its students.
Dr. Paul B. Beran, UAFS chancellor, said the AACSB accreditation demonstrates to the public the high quality of a business degree from UAFS.
“Graduating from an AACSB-accredited institution makes our alumni more competitive in the job market because employers will know UAFS graduates have the required skills and knowledge to be successful in business,” said Beran.
Dr. Ray Wallace, provost and senior vice chancellor, noted that the AACSB accreditation is “quite an academic journey for UAFS.” He said that when he arrived on campus in 2007, the University was still working out the issues related to applying.
“The faculty, staff and students in the UAFS College of Business deserve the very clean accreditation finding because they have spent their time efficiently responding to the various requirements to even be allowed to apply,” said Wallace. “The whole University community and beyond should be equally proud, since this accreditation reflects well on the campus-wide support for the College of Business and, indeed, for the level of community support shown to this fine academic college.”
Wallace said UAFS has entered a level of expertise and professionalism not easily attained by the vast majority of colleges and universities around the world.
“This puts us on par with the best universities in the world, and our graduates are now on an equal footing with their peers from these select institutions of higher learning,” said Wallace.
Williams said AACSB accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education and has been earned by less than five percent of the world’s business programs. He added that there are 672 business schools in 44 countries and territories that have achieved AACSB accreditation.
Achieving accreditation is a process of rigorous internal review, evaluation and adjustment, and can take several years to complete. During these years, the business school develops and implements a plan to meet the AACSB accreditation standards, which require a high quality teaching environment, a commitment to continuous improvement and curricula responsive to the needs of businesses. Also required by the AACSB standards, all accredited schools must go through a peer-review process every five years to maintain their accreditation.
Williams said the faculty, staff and administration of UAFS are dedicated to creating and sustaining a unique learning environment for UAFS business students.
“Earning AACSB accreditation represents an important milestone and an acknowledgment of the hard work, dedication and teamwork of faculty, students, alumni, employers and all of our supporters,” said Williams. “We view this accomplishment as an important step in strengthening and growing UAFS and advancing its mission.”
Williams said the AACSB accreditation will assist UAFS students in the job market and in applying to graduate schools.
“This accreditation will also help the business school recruit premier faculty, and it enhances our reputation in Arkansas -- it signals a major player has taken the field of business education,” he said.
Williams emphasized that AACSB accreditation was a team effort.
“Without the input and support of the business faculty, the College of Business Dean’s Leadership Council, our students, our involved alumni and the UAFS Foundation, this achievement would not be possible,” said Williams.
The oldest accrediting body for business, AACSB's mission is to advance quality management education worldwide through accreditation, thought leadership and value-added services. As the premier accreditation body for institutions offering undergraduate, master's and doctorate degrees in business and accounting, the association also conducts a wide array of conferences and seminar programs at locations throughout the world.
AACSB's global headquarters is located in Tampa, Fla., and its Asia Pacific headquarters is located in Singapore.