Newly Accredited: University of Shanghai for Science and Technology on Earning AACSB Accreditation
Xizhao Zhou, dean of the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology Business School, shares how his school was "influenced deeply by the AACSB spirit" during the accreditation process.
In this blog series, AACSB is spotlighting business schools around the world 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, Xizhao Zhou, dean of the business school at the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, discusses how accreditation has enhanced the reputation of the school domestically and helped put it on the map globally.
Why was it important for your school to undergo the rigorous process of earning AACSB Accreditation?
Our school started its accreditation journey in 2011, and we worked for seven years to achieve it. We underwent the rigorous process of earning AACSB Accreditation for several reasons.
First of all, AACSB International embodies the unique and specific purpose of advancing quality management education worldwide through accreditation. Based on its accreditation standards and processes, AACSB recognizes institutions that uphold its mission and core values, work to advance the interests of global management education, and participate in AACSB’s community of leading business schools.
Further, after experiencing the seven-year journey toward AACSB Accreditation, our school was influenced deeply by the AACSB spirit. Our school’s strategic management, internationalization, teaching quality, and academics have been improved gradually. We have developed a mature concept of our own vision, mission, and core values in keeping with our school’s realistic position and situation.
Earning AACSB Accreditation is a milestone event for our business school. The popularity and ranking among our domestic peer schools have increased, and more overseas institutions and students have come to recognize of our school.
What did you learn about your school through your accreditation journey?
Through the AACSB accreditation work, I was able to see our school from both international and domestic perspectives, and we were presented with more opportunities and challenges. To a large extent, before this meaningful journey, our business school limited its development to domestic areas and lacked standardized benchmarks. But after having gone through the AACSB accreditation process, our school spares no efforts in demonstrating a focus on excellence in management, teaching, academic research, curricula development and student learning. Our business school is becoming much closer to be the leading business school both domestically and externally.
What was the most challenging/rewarding part of the accreditation process?
The most challenging part of the AACSB accreditation journey was working through the self-evaluation and self-development processes. During this work, the process of establishing a self-evaluation system on the basis of our school’s realistic situation in alignment with AACSB standards was rather rigorous, which required lots of discussions and modifications, including to the school’s mission, vision, rubrics for assurance of learning, and so on.
At the same time, the most rewarding part of our accreditation process was also in developing our self-evaluation and self-development systems. The business school has constructed completed evaluation systems not only on the basis of its current situation but also in accordance with AACSB’s rigorous standards, including a short-term and long-term strategic plan for the school, talent and financial regulations, internationalization strategies, teaching reformation, and more.
What impact do you hope to see from having achieved AACSB Accreditation?
Our business school has gone through great changes from the aspects of management, strategic development, regulations, teaching and learning to the facilities after having achieved AACSB Accreditation. However, the most valuable impact I’m looking forward to seeing the school experience is the awareness and status enhanced in the external environment and extension of the AACSB spirit throughout our school. We believe AACSB Accreditation is a long-term plan, which will require us to continuously innovate and develop our programs and processes; the achievement of AACSB Accreditation shouldn’t be the destination of our journey. I expect to see more and more of our students going abroad to further their studies, recognized by their dream university both for their interpersonal abilities and for the quality of their degree from an AACSB-accredited institution.
What advice would you give to another school approaching the accreditation process?
My advice to other institutions approaching the accreditation process is to “pursue it, stick to it, and achieve it.”
AACSB Accreditation is really a long and rigorous journey, which requires the concerted effort of all the teachers and students. If you are going through this journey, you should have a strong leadership willing to place a lot of emphasis on this experience, exchange ideas and methods with other accredited institutions, and participate in all kinds of conferences and seminars organized by AACSB International.
Xizhao Zhou is dean of the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology Business School.