SBI to become accredited

The University’s School of Business and Industry is working to achieve full accreditation within the next five to seven years. Over the course of this time, officials within the program hope to meet all of the standards put forth by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Accreditation by the AACSB represents the highest standard by which business schools are judged worldwide. To date, there are 494 institutions of higher learning that hold business accreditation from the international organization. SBI is assembling committees to address the 21 objectives set forth by the AACSB for the school to be eligible for the accreditation honors.

Despite never being accredited in it’s over 30 years of existence, SBI has still gained national recognition as an elite business school.

Many of the business students feel the lack of accreditation does not make a major difference to the overall strength of the program.

“At the end of the day we’re still getting jobs with Fortune 500 companies, we’re going out and we’re making in the six figures,” said Tiana Junius, 20, a junior business administration student from Philadelphia. “So I feel that it is an issue, but overall it is a minor issue.”

The process of becoming accredited is a very long and strenuous step-by-step one. Reginald Beal, an associate professor in SBI, said FAMU’s business school is more than ready to endure that process. He also said accreditation will further legitimize an already well respected business program.

“We have earned our reputation for excellence because of the fact that we have a quality curriculum with inspired students and instructors,” said Beal, who is also a member of SBI’s accreditation steering committee. “For us accreditation verifies everything that we say we are. It says that that there is an outside agency that has looked at us objectively, and determined that we are a quality institution.”

The primary reason why the school has not yet received accreditation is that it was not formed according to the standards of the AACSB. The curriculum was designed to conform to the desires and the shifts of the business job market. A very strong premium was placed on forming an innovative entrepreneurial program as opposed to adhering to AACSB accreditation standards.

The option of whether or not to become accredited has been taken out of the schools hands by the state legislature.

“In today’s environment, accreditation is not only necessary but required,” said Amos Bradford, interim dean of SBI. “Our legislative bodies require that every school that can be accredited should be accredited. SBI is like many of the other schools and colleges in the state university system in that we are expected to be a part of that process.”

Bradford said he thinks becoming a fully accredited school is an important step for the program, but he does have some worries about SBI losing some of its pioneering flare.

“It has been our challenge trying to figure out how we do this without losing innovativeness,” Bradford said. “One of the greatest strengths (of the SBI program) is in professional development, and we have to be very careful not to lose that as we take these next steps toward our goals.”