School of Business seeks accreditation

by Judy Polanco
Staff Writer

Evaluations by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) were conducted last week at the University of La Verne’s School of Business and Economics in an effort to acquire accreditation.

Auditors from the agency visited the School to analyze its programs, faculty credentials, policies, curriculum and support by the University. Based on the findings reported to the association, an independent committee will determine whether or not ULV becomes ACBSP accredited. The School of Business and Economics will be notified about the accreditation agency’s decision in May.

“A problem is that we have such a unique spread of programs, and are such a complex university, that we don’t fit the traditional mold,” said Dr. William Relf, dean of the School of Business and Economics.

The School is not in agreement with all of the agency’s criteria. An area of discrepancy is the education of the faculty. The accreditation agency gives full credit for a Ph.D., but limited credit for professors with master’s degrees and comparable years of experience. Dr. Relf does not agree with this standard and thinks it can actually be counterproductive. To explain this difference with the agency’s requirements, special portfolios needed to be prepared explaining the experience of professors who do not have doctorates.

Dr. Relf feels that business experience is extremely important since the majority of the business students are off-campus students with experience, making it easy for them to detect when their professors have none.

“A person with experience is more valuable to us and has the potential to give us a higher quality program,” said Dr. Relf.

Accreditation will benefit ULV in many ways. It will distinguish the school from its competitors, as well as hold the School to certain standards, some of which are valuable, according to Dr. Relf.

Another potential benefit is that, occasionally, a company may reimburse employees for graduate studies at an accredited business school. However, it is Dr. Relf’s experience that most businesses do not even know about these accrediting agencies.

“In working with an accrediting agency which is basically traditional, but trying to be innovative, it’s a little difficult to make a fit, but we’re going to try,” he said.

In seeking the accreditation, the School of Business is intent on not compromising the quality of its programs just to meet certain criteria.

“As I went over the names of the schools who have been accredited by this agency, I am of the opinion that La Verne is head and shoulders above many of them,” said Dr. Relf. “Not having it will not cause us to miss one step, as we move forward to new programs and create an entrepreneurial school of a global perspective.”

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