Solidarity as Guiding Value in Achieving AACSB Accreditation

Chief Accreditation Officer Stephanie Bryant and Brigitte Chanoine, rector of ICHEC Brussels Management School discuss the importance of recognizing solidarity as a university when going through the AACSB Accreditation process.



Stephanie Bryant: [00:00] Brigitte, I'm so excited to have you here today and have a chance to talk with you a little bit. I know that your school, ICHEC Brussels, has been in the accreditation process for a long time, initial accreditation.

[00:25] Tell me a little bit about why it was so important to you personally? I know this was your thing. Why was it important to you to pursue AACSB accreditation?

Brigitte Chanoine: [00:36] In fact, for us, AACSB was really a great opportunity. As the new dean, for me, it helps me to give a clear direction for the entire institution. Direction shared by the executive committee, that's very important for me.

[00:53] Accreditation is, for all institutions and especially for us, an internal boost but also an external boost. Internal boost because we have all the member around one project. We can motivate them, our own work project.

[01:11] External boost because we can improve the national and international recognition. It gives a signal of quality. I think it's important to know why we chose AACSB because, as you know, we are in Europe. "Why did you choose AACSB?"

[01:27] We really thought in the process that we could get continuously coached by AACSB, by the mentor, very important for us because we were at the beginning of the process, by attending the conferences, and also very important peers. You know what? We felt in AACSB one of our values, solidarity. For us, that was very important.

Bryant: [01:54] Tell me about that. I thought that was an incredibly interesting concept. When I visited your school, you had the solidarity along with integrity and respect as your three values. It was my feeling that wasn't just a word.

[02:07] That meant something to each person personally. It didn't matter if we asked the students, if we asked the faculty, if we asked people who worked for you, and you, "What does solidarity mean?" It was clear that that word meant something very special. Could you share a little bit about what solidarity means to you and your school?

Chanoine: [02:25] Yes. First of all what's very important is to know that the values were chosen by the entire community. It was not the executive committee saying, "We choose that, that, and that."

[02:37] It took us two years to choose our values. Then after, I really think that solidarity is shared by the students. They participate to service learning programs in India or Africa. They participate to mentoring programs, to Buddy programs for international students and even more important, solidarity for them helped them to go toward success.

[03:06] I think you discovered that they develop a platform, ICHECLIFE, where they share news, question of examination, tricks about classes. That was not our decision. That was their decision to develop that.

[03:22] Solidarity is also shared a lot by the faculty. I know you could see that, and the staff, everybody. The content usually support themselves. They want to help them all the time in teaching practices or in research. I would like to give you an example because I think it's important.

[03:46] They create a researching computer. Senior faculty wanted to help the young faculty since we have to develop research aspect. They help them to present the paper in a friendly way before going outside a conference. That's the mentoring.

[04:03] What's very important, we have also the reverse mentoring. It's not always the senior to the junior, but the junior mentor the senior by the new technologies, new pedagogical techniques and everything.

[04:18] This solidarity for me is both way, senior to junior and junior to senior. The alumni, they help the graduates to find job and to help them doing their careers.

Bryant: [04:30] What's evident to me is you live it.

Chanoine: [04:32] It's coming from the tummy, you know? Really, it's a daily reference for us. When you have to take decision and sometimes you have a difficult problem with the students who think, "OK, where is the respect, solidarity, integrity?" Really, that help us a lot when you have difficult question to solve.

Bryant: [04:50] If you're looking at solidarity as your guiding value, it helps you to make decisions together for the good of the whole. I love that idea.

Filmed April 2018 at ICAM in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.