Most institutions of higher education submit to institutional accreditation which verifies that they have a sense of permanence through bricks and mortar, recurring budgets, and permanent faculty lines. The fundamental purpose of institutional accreditation is to distinguish legitimate institutions of higher education from opportunistic ventures seeking to exploit a market potential to sell a degree. This form of accreditation is afforded in the Midwest region by the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities. IPFW has received such institutional accreditation by North Central.
Institutional accreditation does not examine the specifics of particular degree programs, and, as such, must be distinguished from professional accreditation which is program specific. Those schools within a university known as professional schools, such as a business school, have distinct agencies for professional accreditation of their individual programs.
The premier organization which provides for business program accreditation is AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which goes by the simple identifier of AACSB. The underlying purpose of AACSB accreditation is to provide an infrastructure for a continually improving learning environment through a quality assurance mechanism for business programs at the baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral levels. This quality assurance process is mission grounded and faculty driven. Moreover, the business school and each of its relevant programs must clearly identify their academic mission and strategic plan; implement policies and processes that are directly tied to this mission, develop assessment mechanisms to evaluate student learning outcomes and the effectiveness of their policies and processes, and provide for the feedback of such assessments to refine and, thus, improve the operating practices. The business faculty, guided by the input from broad-based stakeholder involvement, are responsible for the development, implementation, and continual improvement of the operating policies.
The operating philosophy of the AACSB accreditation process is the pursuit of continuous improvement through the tandem of internal self-assessment followed by external peer review for validation. Both the introspection and peer review stages address such critical issues as:
School and program mission and objectives
Faculty composition, deployment, development, and qualifications
Curriculum content, planning and evaluation
Instructional resources and responsibilities
Students as the primary customer
In sum, AACSB accreditation promotes excellence and continuous improvement in business undergraduate and graduate education. Together, self-evaluation and peer review assure performance consistent with the stated missions of the program, school, and overall institution.
The Doermer School of Business at IPFW is proud to have achieved accredited status from AACSB International for its baccalaureate and MBA programs. Only schools with AACSB accreditation are eligible to have a chapter of the business honorary society of Beta Gamma Sigma; the Doermer School of Business has maintained an active chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma since 1988.