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Business School Celebrates AACSB Accredition!

Professor James W. Camerius
WACRA Case Workshop & Colloquium Director and Professor of Marketing in the Business College at Northern Michigan

On April 2, 2002, the Walker L. Cisler College of Business at Northern Michigan University was officially accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-International (AACSB). AACSB is the primary accrediting body for college and university programs in business. The accreditation approval culminated a five-year process that included a comprehensive self-study and a site visit by a review committee. In preparing the accreditation approval notice, the review team made several "commendations of strengths, innovations, and unique features" of the college. Intellectual contributions (faculty research) in the College of Business were judged in the review process as consistent with an interpretation of the mission, purpose, and goals of the institution.

The mission statement of the College of Business at Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan, U.S.A., emphasizes provision of "a successful career through excellence in teaching/learning." Over a number of years the business college faculty were challenged to pursue a number of goals and objectives to accomplish this mission.

One major goal was to pursue instructional and applied research that would contribute to the teaching and learning environment. At Northern, case research, writing and teaching are an important part of this activity.

The AACSB's accreditation standards currently state that business administration faculty shall demonstrate scholarly productively (in research and publication) essential for overall high quality. Like other AACSB accreditation requirements, this standard recognizes that AACSB membership is diverse and that interpretation is necessary if it is to be applied successfully to each member institution. In AACSB terms, producing intellectual contributions represents a core set of responsibilities of higher education for business. Such contributions improve management theory and practice, and support the present and future quality of instruction at all institutions.

According to AACSB Business Standards, a wide variety of intellectual contributions are appropriate in academic institutions.

For purposes of this standard, intellectual contributions have been grouped as follows: 

I. Instructional Development
II. Applied Scholarship
III. Basic Scholarship

Instructional development involves the enhancement of the educational value of instructional effort. Applied scholarship puts emphasis of the application, and interpretations of knowledge to improve management practice and teaching. Basic scholarship emphasizes the creation of new knowledge.

The school's mission influences the relative emphasis among the types of intellectual contributions. In the accreditation process at Northern Michigan University, written case studies accompanied by an instructor's manual were identified as Instructional Development and thus were considered intellectual contributions consistent with the organizations mission.

About 400 institutions of the more than 4,000 business programs worldwide have AACSB accreditation. "I view this as the most significant event in the life of a business school," said Dr. James Scheiner, Dean of the Walker L. Cisler College of Business. "It was a real team effort of hard work over a period of years that enabled us to achieve this important accomplishment for our students, the College of Business and the overall university."

Many members of the NMU faculty have been involved in case research, case writing and case teaching. Several have presented papers on the topic and have served as panel members, discussants and track chairs at professional meetings. A number have also served as officers, workshop directors, and case reviewers for organizations such as the North American Case Research Association (NACRA), the Society for Case Research (SCR) as well as WACRA.