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Exposure Draft 2 of 2020 Standards—Finishing Strong

See what work remains to be done in preparing the 2020 business accreditation standards for a membership vote.


Update—April 7, 2020: The manner in which the 2020 business accreditation standards will be adopted by the Accreditation Council has been modified. Instead of an in-person vote that would typically be held during the Annual Business Meeting, the standards will be available to members of the Accreditation Council for approval via written consent.

Update—March 16, 2020: The vote for the proposed new AACSB business accreditation standards has been postponed until we can bring members together at a future event in 2021. As a global organization, we believe it’s important to have full representation of our accreditation council present for this important and historic vote. Please follow updates at aacsb.edu/covid-19.


Start strong, stay strong, and finish strong by always remembering why you’re doing it in the first place.
—Ralph Marston

Earlier this month, Exposure Draft 2 of AACSB’s proposed 2020 business accreditation standards was unveiled at the Deans Conference to a warm reception by more than 700 deans and others in attendance. The general feeling from those present was that we are moving in the right direction. People were especially excited about the emphasis on positive societal impact as a realization of our Collective Vision for Business Education. This session was live-streamed and is archived for your viewing if you missed it.

Continuing to be mindful of our promise to our members to maintain an open and transparent process every step of the way, here are some of the areas we are continuing to work on. As a reminder, we accept that there will not be perfect agreement, but our goal instead is to seek consensus across our accredited schools.

Standard No. and Title Remaining Questions
1—Strategic Planning • Does a mission need to be distinctive or is there a better way to describe the determining characteristics of a school’s mission?
2—Physical, Virtual, and Financial Resources • no remaining questions as of now
3—Faculty and Professional Staff Resources • Should we provide clarification on faculty qualifications expectations for deans, both for initial faculty qualifications and for maintenance of faculty qualifications during a deanship? What is acceptable for a dean returning to faculty in terms of maintenance of their faculty qualifications?
4—Curriculum • There is some desire expressed for further clarification as to what is acceptable for online program manager-type programs and variants thereof.
• There is some desire for us to provide more guidance on expectations around lifelong learning
5—Assurance of Learning • Is it necessary to complete Table 5-1 for each degree program? Can this table instead be optional for each degree program?
• Should competencies be expanded to include knowledge and skills for compatibility with globally accepted assurance of learning terminology?
6—Learner Development • no remaining questions as of now
7—Teaching Effectiveness and Impact • no remaining questions as of now
8—Impact of Scholarship • There is a desire expressed by several for us to reinforce our commitment to peer reviewed journal articles as an important intellectual contribution.
9—Engagement That Impacts Business and Society • no remaining questions as of now

On these remaining issues, it is the job of the Business Accreditation Task Force (BATF) to provide guidance.

Please be reminded that Exposure Draft 2 will remain open for feedback until March 4, at which time we will review all input to determine where consensus is evident and receive the guidance of the BATF on the issues mentioned here, as well as any other issues that surface during the remaining open comment period.

The final version of the proposed standards will be posted on April 7 for review in advance of a vote by eligible member schools to approve the standards. The vote will be conducted at the Annual Business Meeting on April 27, held during our International Conference and Annual Meeting (ICAM) in Denver, Colorado. We will provide more on this as we get closer to the date.

In looking back at this 18-month journey, I could not have imagined the enormous support and encouragement we would receive in this endeavor to write standards that will carry us into the next decade. We have indeed started strong, stayed strong, and now it’s up to us to finish strong. I have no doubt we will do exactly that.


Stephanie BryantStephanie Bryant is executive vice president and chief accreditation officer at AACSB International and is based in Tampa. Follow her on Twitter @StephMBryant.