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School of Business Administration commended in reaccreditation bid (Released: 5/2/96)

by Richard Veilleux, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- The national accrediting agency for collegiate schools of business has voted to reaccredit the University of Connecticut's School of Business Administration, praising the school's leadership, faculty, global education initiatives, diversity, special programs, and its accounting program.

The actions taken last week by the board of directors of the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) affirms the recommendation of a five-member peer review team that spent weeks reviewing materials provided by the school, followed by a four-day visit to campus during which the team interviewed faculty, staff, students, alumni, corporate executives and University officials.

Ultimately, the review team found 34 areas worthy of commendation, while also offering suggestions for improvement and expressing concerns about funding.

The school is one of only two accredited business schools in the state -- Yale University's Graduate School of Management is the other -- and the only school of business in Connecticut that has earned accreditation across the full spectrum of programs, including undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs. It also boasts the only fully accredited, public university accounting program in New England.

"I'm exceptionally pleased," said Thomas G. Gutteridge, the school's dean. "It's especially gratifying since we're among the first group of schools in the nation to undergo the scrutiny of the AACSB's new accreditation process, which is very mission-driven and requires schools to have plans and processes in place to pursue improvements in quality. I'm very pleased we were able to fulfill all the criteria."

About 1,200 colleges and universities in the nation offer undergraduate business degrees, but only 325 are accredited by the AACSB. Of the more than 600 master's degree programs, only 301 are AACSB accredited. In accounting, only 122 have been accredited, at various degree levels, according to AACSB officials.

Achieving accreditation means the school meets a wide range of quality standards relating to curriculum, faculty resources, admissions, degree requirements, student and faculty access to library materials and computers, financial responsibilities, and intellectual climate. Increasingly, corporations look to accredited schools when recruiting employees.

In its report, the accreditation team cited the business school's efforts to "increase significantly the global dimension of its curriculum," which includes its designation as a federal Center for International Business Education and Research; a GE Capital-funded Center for Global Learning; research and exchange partnerships with universities in France, Germany, the Netherlands and China; the inclusion of an international component in many of its courses; and the school's international student population, which comprises 35 percent of the full-time MBA community.

The team also praised the school's leadership, especially Gutteridge's efforts to develop partnerships with Connecticut business and industry and to expand the school's financial base; efforts to improve the MBA program; and the potential of the 14-month-old Family Business Program and the related Institute for the Development of Entrepreneurial Advantage (IDEA).

On the other hand, the accreditation team expressed concern with the school's funding base, citing declining state support; a need for the school to acquire and expand its use of computers and other technology; and unfunded plans to expand programming when the downtown Stamford campus opens in September 1997 -- a concern tied to the number of faculty in the school, which the team said is already "stretched thin."

The team also expressed concerns about the school's physical condition, but praised the UConn 2000 program, the first phase of which includes a new building for the school.

Accredited since 1958, UConn's School of Business Administration has 1,137 undergraduates, 1,125 students enrolled in master's and executive MBA programs, and 53 doctoral students. There are 76 faculty members.

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