Department aims for AACSB accreditation

Institutional News

  The MWSU business department is seeking prestigious accreditation despite higher salary costs, recent departures, open faculty positions and failed faculty searches.  The department is hoping to get accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).  If attained, Western would join the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, University of Missouri and Truman State University, among others in the area.     AACSB accreditation, according to its Web site, assures prospective students that each school has a clearly defined mission and assures students of a faculty that is engaged in research and/or professional development. Clearly defined learning objectives and processes are to be in place to measure whether or not students are achieving those objectives.    ìItís what we (MWSU) want,î business department chair Carol Roever said. ìIt is the best and highest accreditation the department could ever achieve.î  According to Roever the department has been working toward the goal for years and it may well be years before it happens.  She believes that prospective students look for and ask about the departmentís accreditation when considering Western. More importantly, Roever said, ìWhen employers consider hiring our students, they often ask if the department is accredited and by whom.î   The accreditation comes with demands on current faculty to publish and improve. It requires more Ph.D.-level professors who are very expensive and hard to hire. According to Steve Estes, dean of professional studies one accounting professor candidate refused an offer from Western and accepted a salary of $188,000 plus perks to teach at another university.   ìItís just the market,î Estes said. ìWe are not only competing with the salary that a Ph.D. can get at other schools, but also what they can get in the private business sector.î  Estes is currently looking for three faculty members for the business department and would be very happy to fill those positions with faculty with their doctorates.   Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Joseph Bragin said that Western would need to pay high salaries even if the department was not seeking this accreditation.    ìWe have to deal with market rate salaries with or without AACSB accreditation,î Bragin said. ìThe big cost of salaries is the same big cost that we encounter annually anyway.î   To obtain accreditation many of the current professors are now being required to publish articles or books. Some have not published in quite some time and the new requirement means more work at the same pay.    Many current faculty members are being even more time and personal investment than publishing. Currently, 11 of the 19 faculty have their doctorates.    While the current faculty is being asked to do more work, the new hires are coming in at higher pay and sometimes a lighter workload according to MacGregor. That discrepancy in workload and pay has led to low morale within the department, causing some faculty members to leave.  At least one of the new faculty members was granted tenure and full professor status, a perk that 32-year veteran in the communication department Dr. John Tapia questions.  ìI donít blame the new people coming in; if I were in their shoes I would go for everything I could get,î Tapia said. ìI think it is a bad idea, however, to not run the appointment through a least some of the normal tenure process.î 

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