AACSB re-accredits University of St.Gallen - points to "best practice" in assurance of learning at the EMBA level
The US-based Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) has re-accredited the University of St.Gallen for an additional six years after a mandatory peer review, acknowl-edging the University's excellence in providing management education, conveying particular enthusiasm towards the steps taken to implement "program wide assurance of learning particularly at the Executive MBA level".
The University Vice-President, Professor Dyllick, in charge of quality development, ex-pressed satisfaction over the re-accreditation, saying that such a certification was important to attract top students; to qualify as a business partner in international operations to strengthen programs; to open up more employment opportunities for junior faculty in other AACSB accredited schools; and to strengthen the international brand of the University of St.Gallen.
Professor Dyllick said that in the AACSB's revised accreditation standards institutions are required to define and measure learning goals for all degree programs offered. "We worked really hard on these measurement issues and found it quite challenging, so it came as a pleasant surprise to see that the Peer Review highlighted this aspect of 'assurance of learning' at the Executive MBA level as being an exceptionally effective practice of the University of St.Gallen," he said.
After an intensive two-day schedule visiting the President's Board, professors, junior faculty, administrators and students, to name a few, and carrying out a comprehensive examination of the undergraduate, master's and doctoral degree programs on offer in the Department of Management, the four member Peer Review Team, chaired by Michael Page, Dean Business at the McCallum Graduate School, Bentley University, USA, submitted their evaluation report to the University which suggested areas of improvement and commendation of "best practice", amongst other things.
Apart from the EMBA programs, other areas of "best practice" included the University's applied research relationships with corporations, which the Peer Review noted as "commend-able", along with "the support for the substantial numbers of doctoral students" which they found to be "impressive". They also acknowledged the "unique separation of the assessment year from the remainder of the undergraduate degree", which serves as a challenging hurdle for first year students, as being "noteworthy", bearing in mind that access to university education in Switzerland is mostly unrestrained. Finally, the Peer Review Team stated that the University of St.Gallen "has an evolved culture and set of competencies that are difficult to fully articulate but that undeniably confer significant advantage to the institution".
Taking into consideration the high levels of autonomy which exist within the University of St.Gallen, the areas which were pinpointed for improvement dealt with the formalizing of strategic goals, research agendas, program management and faculty performance objectives for monitoring University development.
Of particular interest to current and prospective students studying at St.Gallen, the peers saw it worth mentioning that "over 80 per cent of the graduates have a job before they leave the University and starting salaries for a recent graduate are high", which was seen as a key external market indicator as to the perceived value of St.Gallen graduates. The peers also concluded in their report that "St.Gallen may be considered something of an exemplar in its focus on student life and student learning" whereby students become in-volved in decision making at all levels.
AACSB International was founded in 1916, originally designed to maintain and uphold standards in accounting in the USA. Meanwhile AACSB has extended its reach, serving as a leading international provider of business school accreditation on a global scale. In 1991, the peer process was introduced to ensure mission-linked quality standards, with a revised set of standards presented in 2003 to encompass assurance of learning goals for educational programs. The University of St.Gallen received its initial AACSB accreditation in 2003. Accreditation is valid for a period of six years, with a maintenance review occurring in year five.
University of St.Gallen
Internationality, practical relevance and an integrative perspective have been the trademarks of educa-tion at the University of St.Gallen in Switzerland ever since it was established more than a century ago. Today, the University of St.Gallen (HSG) educates almost 6,000 students from 79 nations in the fields of Business Administration, Economics, Law and Social Sciences. The HSG has shown itself to be highly successful, having been consistently ranked among Europe's leading business universities (Financial Times Ranking 2008: 1st place in German-speaking Europe and 30th place out of the best business schools in Europe). Its holistic education, which meets the highest academic standards, has earned it the seal of approval of the EQUIS and AACSB accreditations. Academic degrees can be obtained at the Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral Levels. In addition, the University of St.Gallen offers first-class and comprehensive courses in Executive Education. Thanks to an increasing number of programmes taught in English, the HSG has shown itself to be attractive to international students. The focal points of re-search at the University of St.Gallen are crystallized in its 40 institutes and research centres, which constitute an integral part of the University. The institutes, which are largely autonomous and mostly self-financing, still remain closely connected to university operations.
Contacts for further enquiries
Professor Thomas Dyllick, Vice-President of the University of St.Gallen
Tel: +41 (0)71 224 25 96; Fax: +41 (0)71 224 27 22
http://www.aacsb.edu/ - AACSB International