Over the summer, the Barney Barnett School of Business was officially presented with accreditation from the American Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, an accreditation that less than 5 percent of business schools around the world have.
Dr. Kerr, Florida Southern College’s president, said that the AACSB “is the prestigious accrediting body that goes to institutions who decide that they would like to stand for this rigorous accreditation.”
Dr. William Rhey, dean of the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise, was in charge of Florida Southern College’s part in the accreditation process.
“He did an excellent job of working with the faculty and submitting all of the reports,” Kerr said.
Rhey said the accreditation had been an “objective” of Kerr’s since she had come in, but the process took place over the course of several years.
“We received the eligibility in 2009…” Rhey said. “The formal process actually started in 2010 with our acceptance into the accreditation process.”
However, the school was described as doing the process “quickly” by Dr. Robert Tate, vice-president of external relations.
“We did it absolutely as quickly as you can do it,” Rhey said. “There have probably only been a couple of schools in history that have done it that quickly. But the reason was we started from a very good position. We had a good business school. We just wanted people to know we had it.”
During the process, several different criteria had to be examined to determine whether or not the school was worthy of the AACSB seal of approval.
“It was just a very exhaustive review of how every facet of our business degree operates,” Kerr said.
The school also had to look at what programs it was offering, and whether or not they had enough full-time faculty members.
“One of the hurtles that we had to get over was the fact that we had a large evening program that was taught primarily by adjuncts, and that wasn’t going to fly,” Rhey said.
In the end the evening program was merged with the day program to create a homogenous degree for all students.
The changes did not stop there though. Some of the changes included consolidating majors, hiring new faculty and reviewing curriculums.
“There were changed curriculums both in the undergraduate programs and the graduate programs,” Rhey said.
Once the school’s data was collected it had to be sent to the AACSB.
“Then we had what they call an ‘off-site’ review of all of the data,” Kerr said.
After the data was examined, deans from several schools came to FSC and reviewed curriculums. The deans also visited students and talked to them about their experiences at the school.
“They called them the ‘Stepford Students’ because they seemed so perfect,” Rhey said.
Rhey said that the accreditation will give students “confidence” in their degrees and education.
The new accreditation may also carry weight when graduates look for work.
“It’s an external endorsement of quality,” Tate said.
However, the Barney Barnett School of Business will not be resting on its laurels for long. The school is gaining a new facility in the Becker Business Building, currently under construction, and Rhey said that the school is looking to the future.
“We’ve got that bear down: we’re looking for another bear to skin,” Rhey said.
Photo courtesy of Florida Southern College