USFSM’s College of Business is in the upper echelon of business programs.

USF Sarasota-Manatee College of Business earns AACSB accreditation extension

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: April 19, 2018

Sarasota, Fla.  (April 19, 2018)The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee received great news this week as the College of Business earned a five-year extension of its accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

According to the AACSB, less than 5 percent of the world’s business schools earn this distinction, placing USFSM’s College of Business in the upper echelon of business programs.

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Dr. Karen Holbrook

“We are absolutely thrilled to earn this accreditation once again,” said Dr. Karen Holbrook, USF Sarasota-Manatee regional chancellor. “I want to congratulate Dean (James) Curran and the faculty and staff who have helped to develop such strong programs. This was a rigorous process and the fact that we earned this distinction a second time speaks very highly about the caliber of our faculty and students over an extended period of time.”

The criteria for this special accreditation—which is separate from the university’s overarching accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)—focusses on measuring continuous quality improvement in all aspects of an academic program, including engagement, innovation and impact.

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Dr. James Curran

“One factor in earning this distinction is that community engagement is a formal part of our curriculum,” said Dr. Curran. “In fact, our faculty and students have completed nearly 200 projects for regional businesses and organizations during the past few years, including business plans, marketing plans and research and development projects.”

Student projects have ranged from assisting a company that produces all-terrain wheelchairs, modeled after Army tanks to enable people to be mobile on the beach, to developing digital marketing strategies for start-ups.  “I’m really proud of the way we engage with businesses and organizations in our community,” said Dr. Curran.  “We make a difference where we can.”

Dean Curran added that other factors were instrumental in achieving reaccreditation:

  • USF Sarasota-Manatee business faculty members published 702 scholarly works and were cited more than 19,000 times.
  • USF Sarasota-Manatee students scored exceptionally well on the most recent standardized Educational Testing Service exam. USFSM accounting students scored in the top 2 percent nationally, marketing students scored in the top 5 percent nationally, and finance students scored in the top 10 percent.
  • USF Sarasota-Manatee is one of just 300 universities that has a Bloomberg Finance Lab on campus and integrates the use of this state-of-the-art business tool into its curriculum. Universities with a Bloomberg Finance Lab on campus are able to better integrate industry-leading data, research, news and analytics into their teaching curriculum, faculty research, and special projects.
  • USF Sarasota-Manatee restructured the manner in which assessment of learning occurs in business courses. A new system to monitor classes and student achievement ensures that the programs are delivering what is promised.

“These would be remarkable achievements for a large university, but they are even more impressive for a school our size,” added Dr. Curran. “We do some great things here; our faculty are excellent researchers and remarkable teachers.”

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Byron Shinn

Byron Shinn, who serves as chair of the USFSM Campus Board and a member of the USF Board of Trustees, said, “This accreditation reassures us that there are really positive outcomes occurring for our students and graduates. Less than 5 percent of the business schools in the world earn this distinction, so we are very pleased to be in this elite group.”

“AACSB congratulates USF Sarasota-Manatee on extending its accreditation,” said Stephanie M. Bryant, executive vice president and chief accreditation officer of AACSB International. “The intense peer-review process confirms a school’s continued focus on excellence in all areas, including teaching, research, curricula development and student learning. USF Sarasota-Manatee’s dedication to delivering high quality business education will create the next generation of great leaders.”

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