Business school earns reaccreditation

After a nearly three-year process, Mercyhurst’s business school was re-accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).

The re-accreditation process started in 2011-2012 academic year with former Walker School of Business and Communication Dean Monsignor David Rubino, Ph.D., and Associate Dean Amy Doolan, Ph.D.

“The re-accreditation is an indication to students that Mercyhurst has a quality program. It is also indicates to employers that business students graduated from a quality program and to people who want to go to graduate school, that they went to a quality program,” Doolan said.

During the fall of 2011, the Walker School was informed by the IACBE that their business department was going up for reaccreditation. A self-study took place, in which the IACBE sent out a handbook with their re-accreditation principles. The handbook outlined their definition of academic excellence and the standards expected from the business school.

According to Raj Parikh, Ph.D., who became dean in the fall of 2013, one of these standards might ask that the faculty have professional qualifications or doctorates, so the school tried to find faculty that has those qualification.

The self-study report was submitted in January 2013.

Over the spring of that same year, a group of individuals representing the IACBE, known as the site team, visited the school to meet the faculty, review the self-study, and make sure all criteria were met. After the visit, they wrote their own report, which was sent back to the school with recommendations and questions. The department responded and waited for the final decision. The board re-accredited the school on Dec. 5, 2013. The notification with the results was sent to the dean on March 1.

Finalizing this process has been an important accomplishment for the department.

“Every quality business school seeks accreditation, because accreditation is like getting a Good Housekeeping seal of approval, it’s telling people you meet certain standards,” said Parikh, who oversaw the final steps of the re-accreditation process after Rubino left.

The school will be accredited for the next 10 years. A new re-accreditation process will start seven years from now, before the current one expires.

Advisory Board

Consequentially, but completely separate from the IACBE re-accreditation, the Walker School started an advisory board consisting of a group of organizational leaders to help verify that the programs offered by the school match the market’s demand. The first meeting took place Wednesday, March 26.

One of the principles of excellence in education outlined by the accredited body includes building a relationship with external parties. The advisory board will be a way for Walker School students and faculty to interact with the external environment.

The board consists of a diverse group of people from Erie and out of state. The CEO of Erie Insurance, Terrance Cavanaugh, chairs the board.

“They come and help us look at our programs and say, ‘Are these programs in sync with what the market wants?’ They also help us get our students internships, they help us with our students getting jobs, and they give us feedback,” Parikh said.

The first meeting was introductory and Parikh outlined the future goals for the Walker School such as increasing enrollment, reviewing the academic programs and making them stronger.

New Programs

One new program for the school will integrate business intelligence and predictive analytics. Also coming is an expansion of the range of current programs, such as combining the sports management program with the event management concentration from the Hospitality program to create a more attractive program.

“The demand of the market place keeps changing,” said Parikh. “Sometimes programs get old or they get out of sync with the market. So we are trying to develop new programs that meet the market needs. We would like every one of our graduates to get a good job.”

Parikh hopes the new programs will be ready by this fall or a year from this fall.