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Medgar Evers College, one of the few Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the northern United States, recently achieved a major milestone when its school of business was accredited, giving the Brooklyn, New York-based school’s business program validation in the world of higher learning.
While the accreditation process was completed in November 2003, the announcement was made at an April 20 reception for the school. The accreditation “is very significant in that it states very clearly that the college has met a national standard of excellence in the structuring of our programs, the quality of the instruction, and the confidence of our graduates,” says Edison O. Jackson, the college’s president since 1989.
“It’s much like the ‘Good Housekeeping Seal,'” he continues. “It allows us to run with institutions that have been assessed as having exemplary programs, and in order to achieve the accreditation, it made us examine what it was that we were trying to accomplish here at Medgar in terms of our school of business.”
The accreditation process was the result of years of preparation. In January 2001, the business school completed its application to the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs. In March of that year, representatives from the ACBSP arrived on campus to interview faculty, students, and administration officials. A follow-up visit by an ACBSP commissioner took place in 2003.
In preparation for the accreditation process and to make sure it met national standards, the school had to develop a long-term strategic plan that would mesh with the goals of the entire college, says John Flateau, dean of the school of business.
The process “caused us to look at the composition of our faculty to make sure that we had the right mix and [that we had] faculty members who were properly credentialed in their respective disciplines,” says Jackson. “There were a couple of occasions [when] we had to hire additional people to make sure [we had] the depth and the breadth in terms of faculty members.”
“Anybody can put together a glorious sounding plan as to what you’re going to be about, but the question is ‘How do you know that you really are educating your students and delivering on the curriculum?'” says Flateau. “Are you communicating with your alumni two or three years later so you know whether or not, in fact, they’ve landed in the marketplace with good business jobs and they’re able to advance their careers as a result of a Medgar business degree?”
The business school has been responsible for 45% of the college’s baccalaureate degrees since the 1991—1992 academic year. Administration officials and faculty expect that the accreditation will help the business school to build on that success for the college, a part of the City University of New York system.
“We are more and more becoming recognized by the business community [and the] public sector, particularly in the business of economic development and human capital development as a place of expertise,” says Flateau.