4 Challenges to AACSB Accreditation and Their Solutions

You’re ready to embark on an AACSB accreditation initiative. Whether you’re going up for preliminary accreditation or are in the midst of your Continuous Improvement Review, chances are you have a lot of faculty activity data to gather, collate and assemble.

Without leveraging any assistive solutions to carry out this process, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the thought of highlighting faculty accomplishments in a current, accurate and versatile fashion for your peer review team. Perhaps you’re concerned about the consistency of your data. Maybe you’re nervous faculty won’t buy into the process of aggregating their activity data for accreditation reports. Or, it’s possible you’re worried that manually built AACSB tables will be inflexible and difficult to maintain.

Whatever your concerns, remember that you’re not alone. We all know that the rigor of AACSB accreditation only makes a positive outcome all the more prestigious among peers. The good news is that the right faculty activity reporting solution can help you overcome the common challenges found below—empowering you to create an accreditation portfolio that’s systematic, comprehensive, and best of all, multi-functional.

1) Accreditation Can Be a Slow, Manual Process

Find the Stories that Matter to StakeholdersMany institutions store faculty activity data in messy paper documents and other disaggregated formats. This poses a challenge when it comes to adapting your data into an AACSB-compliant table. It also doesn’t provide much help when it comes to the complex calculations and benchmarks you’re required to derive for these tables and leaves room for human error.

A faculty activity reporting solution, on the other hand, addresses both of these challenges head-on. These solutions often allow you to integrate with other systems on campus—such as scheduled teaching databases, grant management systems and publication repositories. This means the time required to aggregate this data is reduced considerably (and even automated in some cases). A good faculty activity reporting solution will also intuitively calculate AACSB-mandated benchmarks based on the data it stores—reducing the mental math, painstaking calculations or unruly Excel formulas you’d typically require. And giving you added peace of mind.

2) Faculty Struggle to Share Their Accomplishments

Business schools that rely on manual AACSB processes are continuously reaching out to faculty with ad hoc data requests—which often require a frantic assembly of accomplishments that seemingly disappear into nowhere. And in faculty’s eyes, the individual incentive for compiling this data on a one-off basis may not be worth the extra effort, given the one-way flow of it.

Institutions that adopt a faculty activity reporting solution solve this problem by providing faculty with a long-term payoff for reporting on their research and teaching activities. Not only are these activities incorporated into the school’s AACSB tables—they’re also being re-purposed to generate faculty vitae, facilitate annual reporting processes, streamline promotion and tenure workflows and publicly showcase achievements on web profiles. Suddenly, a task that was once a chore for faculty becomes a worthwhile investment that provides an array of professional returns.

3) Your Teaching and Research Data Lacks Standardization

Leaders charged with gathering AACSB-related information often find themselves interpreting lengthy faculty documents to assess whether they meet the accrediting body’s standards. In many cases, for instance, it’s not immediately clear from a vita if a faculty member’s publication was peer reviewed and publicly available—both of which are desired by AACSB when it comes to intellectual contributions.

Faculty activity reporting solutions generally store these accomplishments within a uniform data structure compliant with AACSB’s standards to capture and examine more granular attributes of publications, teaching and qualifications. This enables you to verify that accreditation prerequisites are being applied to all eligible activities. These solutions can also provide you with more robust mechanisms to audit your faculty activity data using a cross-section of variables. As a result, you can rest easy knowing all of your records are correctly completed and categorized within your accreditation tables.

4) Your AACSB Data Isn’t Agile

Anyone that’s been through an accreditation visit knows they almost always bring forth surprises. And because AACSB requires a considerable degree of versatility when it comes to how your accreditation tables are built, it can be a daunting task to predict (and manually construct) all the permutations of tables your peer review team might request.

With a faculty activity reporting solution, these curve balls can be addressed at a moment’s notice. Indeed, the ability to compile a five-year snapshot of intellectual contributions so it groups by department in one version, by discipline in another and by research group in a third—all within a matter of minutes—is an invaluable luxury when preparing for the relative unknown of an on-site visit. And as mentioned previously, because these reporting tools typically have AACSB-specific calculations baked into table templates, you can feel confident that all your alternate versions are still hitting their benchmarks accurately.

Do you feel a faculty activity reporting solution could help clear your path to AACSB accreditation? Let us know your thoughts below!

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