April 01, 2019

By Amanda O’Rourke

Ever since the Sigmund Weis School of Business first earned accreditation by the International Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) in 1993, the faculty has worked diligently to maintain this worldwide marker of quality in business education.

James Pomykalski, in a newly created role as reaccreditation and continuous improvement coordinator, oversees the exhaustive reaccreditation process, which he says ultimately benefits students.

“I always tell parents that the AACSB accreditation is the Good Housekeeping Seal for business schools,” he says. “It gives students a leg up when they say they’ve been to an AACSB-accredited school. Anyone who’s been to business school knows what that means. And it also means that the level of expectation placed on those students is much higher.”

Pomykalski works with the dean and other business school faculty to make sure the following accreditation criteria are being met on an ongoing basis.

  • Assessment of Learning Goals—assessment of students on five learning goals—curriculum, teamwork, technology, written communications and oral communications—at least twice in each five-year accreditation cycle.
  • Faculty and Professional Staff Deployment—an overview of how much time full-time faculty spend in the classroom, as opposed to adjunct faculty.
  • Academic and Professional Engagement— the business school’s strategy in supporting faculty in scholarly research or the practice of business. Faculty are required to publish two peer-reviewed articles every five years, or to maintain some professional activity relevant to their scholarly expertise.
  • Strategic Planning—demonstrated continuous improvement outcomes and/or achievement of mission, expected outcomes and strategies. The business school is revising its strategic plan to dovetail with efforts that are currently underway at the university level.

Less than 5% of the world’s business schools earn AACSB accreditation. Susquehanna is one of 10 undergraduate- only business schools with the distinction, and one of only eight business schools in a private, liberal arts setting.

Over the next five years, the business school aims to diversify its student body by recruiting more female students, a task Pomykalski hopes will be made easier with the addition of four new, female faculty members.

Pomykalski will work this summer on the reaccreditation report to be delivered to the AACSB at least 60 days before evaluators visit campus in spring 2020.

“We’re fortunate that our processes around accreditation are mature,” he says. “Right now, we’re in good shape and we’re moving in the right direction.”