University News

WIU Business, Accountancy Programs Maintain AACSB Accreditation

February 3, 2021

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL -- Western Illinois University's accountancy and business degree programs have maintained their accreditation by AACSB International -- The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Western is part of an elite group of higher education institutions to achieve AACSB accreditation, according to College of Business and Technology Dean Craig Conrad. A total of 882 institutions across 57 countries and territories have earned AACSB accreditation in business, and only 189 institutions maintain supplemental AACSB accreditation for their accounting programs.

Achieving accreditation is a process of rigorous internal focus, engagement with an AACSB-assigned mentor and peer-reviewed evaluation. During this multiyear path, schools focus on developing and implementing a plan to align with AACSB's accreditation standards. These standards require excellence in areas relating to strategic management and innovation; student, faculty, and staff as active participants; learning and teaching; and academic and professional engagement.

"AACSB congratulates each institution on their achievement," said Stephanie M. Bryant, executive vice president and chief accreditation officer of AACSB. "Every AACSB-accredited school has demonstrated a focus on excellence in all areas, including teaching, research, curricula development, and student learning. The intense peer-review process exemplifies their commitment to quality business education."

The AACSB team report noted that WIU's programs were specifically praised for the level of faculty-student engagement, as well as for efforts to increase diversity within the programs.

"Congratulations to the College of Business and Technology faculty and staff for their continued outstanding work. That our business and accountancy programs are among an elite designation of programs throughout the world to achieve AASCB accreditation speaks volumes about the quality of our programs," said WIU President Guiyou Huang.

To maintain accreditation, a business program must undergo a rigorous internal review every five years, at which the program must demonstrate its continued commitment to mission-based standards relating to faculty qualification, strategic management of resources, interactions of faculty and students, as well as a commitment to continuous improvement and achievement of learning goals in degree programs.

"The College of Business and Technology is honored to be awarded continuing accreditation from the oldest and most prestigious business school accrediting body," Conrad said. "Receiving accreditation for both our business programs and accounting is important as it indicates we are delivering on the quality standard that we promise in both our undergraduate and graduate business programs. The College of Business and Technology at Western is among an elite group and we will continue to strive for continued improvement and success."

To achieve accounting accreditation, an institution must first earn AACSB business accreditation. Then, in addition to developing and implementing a mission-driven plan to satisfy the business accreditation quality standards, accounting accreditation requires the satisfaction of a supplemental set of standards specific to the discipline and profession of accounting. Once accreditation is achieved, each institution participates in a five-year continuous improvement peer review to maintain high quality and extend its accreditation.

"We're honored to continue to carry the prestigious supplemental accounting accreditation. Receiving this designation serves as a testament to the caliber of our faculty's professional and scholarly credentials, the strength of our program specific initiatives, and the overall quality of our undergraduate and graduate accountancy degrees," said Jessica Lin, interim director for the School of Accounting, Finance, Economics and Decision Sciences. "Graduating from a program with this recognition is typically associated with higher pass rates on the CPA exam and better overall job placements."

According to CBT Associate Dean and MBA Director Tara Feld, within the highly competitive online MBA market, AACSB accreditation provides credibility and enhances a program's reputation.

"AACSB accreditation signals a high-value program, with qualified faculty delivering a dynamic curriculum, connecting the brightest students to the most sought-after employers," Feld added. "It serves as a strong differentiator in this market, and at WIU, we offer our accredited program at a very affordable price."

In 1965, the Board of Governors approved the creation of the Western Illinois University School of Business. The School officially opened its doors Sept. 1, 1966. Since that day, the School has grown, first evolving into the College of Business and then into the current College of Business and Technology.

Founded in 1916, AACSB International is the longest-serving global accrediting body for business schools that offer undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees in business and accounting.

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