A Place at the Table — Charting a Course for the Future

ACBSP enters into partnerships with three influential groups, all with a shared vision to ensure quality and transform business higher education: Principles for Responsible Management (PRME), CHEA International Quality Group, and The Alliance for Performance Excellence.

Much has changed in the higher education landscape since 1988, when the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) was founded with the vision that “every quality business program worldwide is accredited.” Competition has never been greater among colleges and universities faced with recruiting and retaining students, attracting exceptional faculty, reshaping curriculum to keep it dynamic and relevant, and trying to do more with less.

Colleges and universities that have a competitive edge are those that hold their academic programs to the highest standards by earning programmatic accreditation. Institutions with business programs accredited by ACBSP are committed to a continuous improvement model that ensures their business programs will give students the skills employers want.

ACBSP accreditation has always maintained rigorous standards and criteria to assess the quality of business programs among its accredited members. Based on the Malcolm Baldrige model, the ACBSP accreditation process focuses on recognizing teaching excellence, determining student-learning outcomes, and a continuous improvement model.

The continuous improvement mindset guides all that ACBSP does for its members. As a leading provider of programmatic business accreditation at all degree levels, it is crucial that ACBSP be part of conversations that influence quality business education practices worldwide. ACBSP has partnered with three groups that ensure we are doing just that:

UN Global Compact’s Principles for Responsible Management (PRME) Steering Committee

logo_un_global_compact_2ACBSP is one of 10 global organizations invited by the PRME Secretariat to serve on the PRME Steering Committee. Launched at the 2007 UN Global Compact Leaders Summit in Geneva, the PRME initiative is the first organized relationship between the United Nations and business schools, with the PRME Secretariat housed in the UN Global Compact Office. The PRME initiative is a partnership of international co-convening organizations, which form the PRME Steering Committee.

The mission of PRME is to transform management education, research and thought leadership globally by providing the Principles for Responsible Management Education framework, developing learning communities and promoting awareness about the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. PRME is governed, along with the United Nations Global Compact, by this Steering Committee, comprised of the main business school accreditation bodies, and specialized and regional associations. The PRME Steering Committee meets quarterly to provide direction in furthering the mission of the UN Global Compact.

The Six Principles of PRME are inspired by internationally accepted values, such as the United Nations Global Compact’s Ten Principles, and provide an engagement structure for academic institutions to advance social responsibility through incorporating universal values into curricula and research. They seek to establish a process of continuous improvement among institutions of management education in order to develop a new generation of business leaders capable of managing the complex challenges faced by business and society in the 21st century.

Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) International Quality Group (CIQG)

ciqg-officialThe Council for Higher Education Accreditation established the CHEA International Quality Group (CIQG) in 2012, with a focus on international quality assurance. CIQG serves as a thought leader on international quality assurance issues and policy, a convener of academics and others engaged in international quality assurance and a forum for dialogue and deliberation on vital quality issues. CIQG membership, in addition to CHEA institutional members, includes organizations and individuals from 45 countries. ACBSP has been a member of the CIQG since its inception.

In 2015, CIQG released its International Quality Principles, identifying seven areas that are, or ought to be, common to all quality assurance, irrespective of country, culture or region. Since their release, the Principles have been a topic of discussion at meetings of quality assurance and higher education leaders around the world.

Dr. Judith Eaton, President, Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the CHEA International Quality Group (CIQG), and Dr. Steven Parscale, ACBSP Chief Accreditation Officer, signed a Memorandum of Affiliation in August 2016, agreeing to pursue the following commitments:

  • Posting and promoting CIQG’s International Quality Principleswhich, at the discretion of ACBSP, will be reflected in ACBSP standards, reviews and processes;
  • Working with higher education providers and other higher education stakeholders to promote a shared understanding of quality based on the seven Principles;
  • Sharing information regularly on the promotion and implementation of the Principles (e.g., examples of good practice, case studies, newsletters, etc.) and
  • Engaging, when feasible, in joint activities (workshops, seminars and meetings) with a view to sharing effective policies and practices in areas of common interest, based on the Principles.

The MOA states: “The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation/International Quality Group (CIQG), USA, recognize the urgency of a shared understanding of quality internationally and believe the 2015 CIQG International Quality Principles can provide a framework for quality to inspire and improve national, regional and international developments.”

The Alliance for Performance Excellence

baldridge-allianceThe Alliance for Performance Excellence is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the growth and sustainability of Baldrige-focused programs by serving its membership. Its key stakeholders include organizations seeking to improve and its key partners include the Baldrige Foundation and the National Baldrige Program.

In September 2016, Doug Gilbert, a member of the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Performance Excellence, and Jeffrey Alderman, ACBSP President/CEO, signed a Memorandum of Understanding that “defines a voluntary understanding between The Alliance and ACBSP in which the Alliance will develop a membership and participation model to permit ACBSP to assist the Alliance in promoting performance excellence approaches as well as Baldrige and Baldrige-related Awards to member organizations of ACBSP worldwide.”

The Alliance believes that ACBSP members will benefit by instituting a standard framework of quality management oriented for business school programs extending beyond current ACBSP accreditation. The application of the framework may extend beyond credit-bearing business programs to areas such as training and corporate universities to the extent that ACBSP is permitted such by CHEA. The Alliance and ACBSP will work together to determine recognition levels and to determine the roles and responsibilities of each organization for facilitating and administering a series of awards based on the Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework. These awards may extend to institutions located outside the United States.

The MOU states: “ACBSP is unique among business school accreditation associations in its long-standing and explicit use of the Baldrige Framework for Performance Excellence as the foundation of its accreditation standards and criteria and review process.”

A Matter of Quality

The ACBSP accreditation process requires an institution to measure the quality of its business programs against a rigorous set of standards and criteria based on the Baldrige Model. It is a time-consuming and thorough process. ACBSP is held to high standards as well, going through the process to be recognized twice by CHEA, once in 2001 and again in 2011.

These partnerships ensure that ACBSP is part of a broader conversation, identifying and measuring quality business practices, and influencing the future of business higher education.

Learn more about ACBSP Partnerships and Affiliations at acbsp.org.