3 goals proposed for Orfalea College

Accrediting group impressed with business program but has ideas for improvements

jlynem@thetribunenews.comNovember 21, 2012 

A globally recognized accrediting group that reviewed Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business earlier this month was impressed overall but recommended it take steps to improve in three areas, according to college dean Dave Christy.

The three-member team of deans from other accredited universities met with faculty and students Nov. 4-6 while reviewing the Orfalea College’s fully accredited undergraduate and graduate programs.

Orfalea College is not in danger of losing its accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Rather, the review is routine.

Robert Reid, spokesman for the accrediting association AACSB, said the team’s report will be reviewed by a committee, which will then refer it to the board of directors for final action. The association has 655 accredited schools in 43 countries and 1,300 members globally.

“This is all fairly normal and a part of what we expect schools to do in terms of improving and paying attention to the details,” Reid said.

Among the team’s recommendations: that the college change its approach to graduate business education, reflecting the shift away from full-time residential programs to part-time and online MBA programs, said Christy.

“Our location in SLO means that we have to really rethink what we’re doing because we don’t have a large part-time market,” he said. The college will consider embracing online and including programs that are designed to be taken immediately after undergraduate work is completed.

The team agreed that the college is doing learning assessments for all of its degree programs, Christy said. But it recommended that it make modifications to the curriculum for two of them:

bachelor’s of science in business administration and master’s of science in business and technology.

As well, the team recommended the college revisit, redefine and develop a more concrete set of criteria for what constitutes academically qualified faculty and professional qualified faculty.

The college, which is reviewed for accreditation every five years, has a year to comply with the association’s recommendations for improvement and has plans to submit a written report detailing the changes in late summer 2013, Christy said.

The college was praised for its broad faculty involvement in its learning assessment process and its advising center, which includes professional and trained peer advisers, Christy said. “We can show how some of the things that were done with our advising center has enabled us to increase the graduation rate 8 percent for undergraduate students,” he said.

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