Accreditation in a Pandemic

I want to begin this column with the same expression of appreciation and hope that I made last year, and regrettably had to make the year before that: to our members, your families, as well as your institutional families for health and continued courage during these extraordinary times. You may have lost a friend or acquaintance or know of someone in our extended circle. If your life has also been impacted in this way, I remain prayerful for your strength and comfort. I also want to express the collective gratitude of our Board of Directors, Boards of Commissioners, Accreditation Governance Board, and ACBSP personnel for your resilience and commitment to serving your students and institutions.

It is still difficult to fathom the true impact the pandemic has had and will continue to have on our personal and professional lives. The recent positive news regarding the significant reductions in cases is encouraging, but like so many times before, such momentum has been impacted by new variants and a surge in new cases. That being noted, I am optimistic that some normalcy may be on the horizon.

Along with you and your respective institutions, the home office has had to “pivot” numerous times during the past two years, but I feel like our members have pivoted with us and we are so grateful for your support.

We concluded our leadership year last June by hosting a hybrid conference in Miami, FL. At first, we had no idea if we could attract enough attendees to make it a worthwhile event, but after surveying the membership; we decided to move forward with an in-person event. We planned and hoped for 250 attendees, and we had 246 come to Miami and it was so gratifying and joyful to see so many friends and share new best practices and effective methods of teaching in uncertain times.

Although I could be mistaken, I think that we were the only U.S.-based accreditor to host an in-person meeting last year.

Welcome Chairwoman Gaspard

The highlight of the event was the ascension of Professor Deborah (Debbie) Gaspard to the role of Chair of the Board of Directors. Chairwoman Gaspard is the first woman of color to hold this position and it was very gratifying to see her assume her new duties. She has been a dedicated volunteer for so many years serving in a variety of leadership roles including service on the Board of Commissioners, Kappa Beta Delta, on the regional level, as well as engagement in a variety of committees. The list is endless for which we are eternally grateful. One of her most important contributions has been overseeing our Teaching Excellence Awards (TEA) Committee. As a former recipient herself, she knows firsthand about the commitment and dedication that is required in service to students. As an organization whose primary focus is teaching excellence and students, it is one of the most important things we do for our members. This fall, I encourage you to consider nominating one of your colleagues, or even nominating yourself for this prestigious honor. I look forward to recognizing this year’s recipients at the upcoming annual conference. 

Year in Perspective

As for ACBSP, our organization is coming off of another strong financial year. We have actually increased our member retention from 97.2% to nearly 99% during the past two years. I trust our standards helped members navigate through challenging circumstances, which may be a signal for the increased retention. Further, we have been quite successful in creating services and programs to best serve our members in a virtual world. As we did the year before, we successfully transitioned planned in-person events to a virtual format including the Regional Fall Conferences and Access Accreditation Workshops. We also doubled down on our immensely popular Academic and Teaching Effectiveness Webinar series. With a generous sponsorship provided by our friends at Peregrine Global Services, we were able to offer the webinars free of charge. In all, we have welcomed more than 9,000 registrations for ACBSP events since March 2020. Some of the most popular offerings included The CPA Evolution & Accounting Model Curriculum, Faculty Focus: Qualifications for Teaching Excellence, and The Purpose and Value of Certificate Accreditation. I encourage you and your colleagues to take advantage of our many offerings, which can be viewed on the events page of our website at Each of the programs have been recorded and can be watched anytime. 

Accreditation Updates

Speaking of Certificate Accreditation, did you know that if you have a certificate program embedded in an already accredited degree program, your certificate is automatically accredited? No additional fees and no prior authorization is necessary. It’s a great way to promote certificates validated by our standards that students can take immediately into the workplace.  I also want to mention that in consultation with our Boards of Commissioners, and with approval from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), we will continue with virtual site evaluations. Institutions can request an in-person site visit as well. Finally on the accreditation front, I want to announce ACBSP has been re-recognized by CHEA! This effort is the culmination of two years of preparation and hard work (sound familiar?). I am so thankful for everyone who was involved in the process from our accreditation department to our Board of Commissioners. We are eternally grateful. 

ACBSP Conference 2022

I do hope everyone is aware that we will be hosting our next conference from June 17-20, at the JW Marriott, in Washington, D.C. This will once again be a hybrid conference, but the virtual stream will be reduced to only one track of content so to encourage our members to join us in our Nation’s Capital. We have reduced the cost of attending in recognition of reduced travel funding. The conference theme is Resilience in Education: The Intersection of Challenge and Opportunity All the details can be found on the events tab of our website.

Hopes for the Year Ahead

We value your support as we all face the future together. If you ever have any questions or if there are other ways in which we might assist you or resources we might provide, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I am so proud of how our members have responded and will continue to respond to the pandemic as well as the myriad of normal day-to-day challenges. Your efforts continue to be nothing short of heroic and ACBSP remains honored to stand beside you. Be safe,