Newly Accredited: State University of New York at Fredonia on Earning AACSB Accreditation

Newly Accredited: State University of New York at Fredonia on Earning AACSB Accreditation

Dr. Russell P. Boisjoly, professor of finance and strategy at State University of New York at Fredonia, discusses SUNY Fredonia's experience through the accreditation process.

In this blog series, AACSB is spotlighting business schools around the globe that have recently earned AACSB Accreditation. We ask the business school leadership about their journey to accreditation and what the new achievement means to them. In this interview, Dr. Russell Boisjoly, professor of finance and strategy at SUNY Fredonia, shares his perspective on the initial accreditation experience.

Why was it important for your school to undergo the rigorous process of AACSB Accreditation?

The business program had grown significantly since its inception, but competitors, all of whom had AACSB Accreditation, began telling prospective students that we were of the lowest quality because we did not have AACSB Accreditation. As a consequence, we lost out on a lot of the best business students. So AACSB was part of the competitive strategy for the school of business.

What did you learn about your school through the accreditation process?

The faculty always delivered excellence in response to any need or challenge during the process! During the process, we became more focused on experiential learning throughout the curriculum, switching from lecture and in-class exercises to live projects for organizations and individuals. These became central to the courses and not add-ons like end-of-semester papers/projects. The learning outcomes soared and the business community was ecstatic and preferred our graduates over those of our competitors. The rigorous Assurance of Learning rubrics and measurements ensured that we captured the details and results of the processes.

What were the most challenging/rewarding parts?

We started an engagement process with the business community and enhanced learning outcomes significantly. During 2015–16 our 14 full-time and four part-time faculty conducted 470 projects that generated over 700,000 USD for local businesses, governmental organizations, nonprofits, and individuals. That was amazing!

What impact do you hope to see from having achieved AACSB Accreditation?

We hope to see an increase in enrollment and improvements in the impacts from engagement. There are some components of engagement impact that we need to learn how to measure, for example, how can you measure leadership impact? We have some measures, but I think they can become more direct and impactful. We also need to engage in some bigger projects. In other words, having projects that generate 1 million USD or more for our constituents on an annual basis!

What advice would you give to another school approaching the accreditation process?

Make sure that you make sound estimates of the investments and costs necessary to achieve AACSB Accreditation. The major investments were in full-time faculty hires and having the correct faculty talent mix is crucial to delivering the best education. Also, our university’s career development office hired additional staff to support our students in career exploration, resume preparation, internship placement (which we require of all business students), job market preparation, and interviewing skills.

Russell Boisjoly Dr. Russell P. Boisjoly is a professor of finance and strategy at State University of New York at Fredonia.