Newly Accredited: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Earning AACSB Accreditation
The accreditation process can serve as a useful means for a school to understand stakeholder perception, and can offer specific direction for how to enhance the school’s reputation.
In this blog series, AACSB spotlights 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.
Yishay Yafeh and Zvi Weiner, former and current dean of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem School of Business Administration, reinforce what many newly accredited school leaders say: while the accreditation process helps them identify areas for improvement, it also highlights areas of strength that bring renewed pride to the school. The experience, for Yafeh and Weiner, also served as an important reflection of how the school was viewed by important stakeholders, guiding the ways in which they wanted to meet their main objective of attracting more international students.
Why was it important for your school to undergo the rigorous process of earning AACSB accreditation?
The process has been a wonderful opportunity for us to better understand our strengths and weaknesses. It has also prompted us to perform a thorough comparison of what we do and what our competitors do, which also required us to explicitly define the competition. The final stage of the accreditation process, before and during the peer review team visit, resulted in a deep understanding of how we were viewed by our students, university management, and colleagues at other universities (such as the those of the peer review team members).
What did you learn about your school through your accreditation journey?
The accreditation process was useful for identifying things the school was doing well. As a result, we are now able to manage our resources better and offer more options to students, concentrating on the strong areas. At the same time, we exert efforts to improve what is deemed important and feasible but is not done well at the moment; a concrete example is placement services for students. We do not currently have a placement center serving our own students, only university-wide career services. We knew that this was lacking, but following the accreditation process we have become more aware of the critical importance of such a center, given what our competitors do.
What were the most challenging and rewarding parts of the accreditation process?
The most challenging parts of the accreditation process were the systematic data collection on intellectual contributions and other dimensions of academic activity, and the design and implementation of assurance of learning. At the same time, these challenges yielded significant rewards, as we now know the fantastic and diverse achievements of the school's faculty members and the impact the school has on its students and alumni.
The data collection for the accreditation process and the feedback from the AACSB team in various stages of the process, while tedious at times, was useful not only for internal discussions of the school's mission and strategy but also because they have allowed us to better communicate our needs to the university management while leveraging the accreditation process and requirements.
What impact do you hope to see from having achieved AACSB accreditation?
It is too early to evaluate the full effect, although we already know that the internal discussions that accompanied the process would help us provide better higher education experiences. More generally, the school's foremost reason for obtaining AACSB accreditation was the strong belief that it would improve our ability to attract students, especially international students. The accreditation attainment is viewed as a major step in the school's globalization process and the internationalization of its student body.
What advice would you give to another school approaching the accreditation process?
Although it is a long and sometimes frustrating process, do take it very seriously and consider it an opportunity to analyze your school and to improve what you do.
|Yishay Yafeh is a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem School of Business Administration and served as dean during the school’s initial accreditation review.|
Zvi Wiener is the current dean of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem School of Business Administration.