Athabasca University achieves gold standard for business schools
AU’s Faculty of Business is now among the top six per cent of business schools around the world
Learners want to be sure that the time, money, and effort they put into a post-secondary education is going to take them where they want to go. As alumni, they want to be proud of their education and know that it’s well-respected. Meanwhile, employers want to hire graduates who can hit the ground running—equipped with the skills and knowledge they’re looking for.
On Feb. 16, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) announced that Athabasca University (AU) Faculty of Business earned accreditation as one of the world’s best. AACSB is the longest-serving global accrediting body for business schools.
Achieving such a prestigious international recognition demonstrates the first-rate and future-focused business education that AU offers.
Learn more about why AACSB accreditation is a significant achievement:
“AACSB accreditation recognizes institutions that have demonstrated a focus on excellence in all areas, including teaching, research, curriculum development, and student learning,” said Stephanie M. Bryant, executive vice-president and chief accreditation officer of AACSB.
“We congratulate Athabasca University on earning accreditation and applaud former dean Dr. Deborah Hurst and the entire Faculty of Business team—including the administration, faculty, staff, and students—for their roles in earning this respected honour.”
AU president Dr. Peter Scott said AACSB accreditation not only recognizes years of hard work by the Faculty of Business, but it’s also an important achievement that’s valued by learners, faculty, and the broader community.
“Achieving such highly regarded accreditation sends a signal to the world that AU’s Faculty of Business is among the world’s very best, and that our graduates are positioned to excel in their careers and the communities they serve. On behalf of the AU community, I congratulate the team at the Faculty of Business on this momentous achievement.”
History of innovation
AU’s Faculty of Business has been innovating business education since its inception, and is known for flexible, open business education the world over. The faculty introduced the world’s first online MBA program in 1994 and more recently is redefining the traditional co-operative work experience program. The faculty has employed artificial intelligence to create a first-of-its-kind virtual co-operative learning experience and have implemented this technology into other business courses.
“Since the beginning, we’ve known that the Faculty of Business is a world-leader in business education. This accreditation affirms it,” said former dean Dr. Deborah Hurst, who led the faculty through the accreditation process.
Accreditation recognizes that Faculty of Business graduates gain the knowledge and competencies they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world. It will also help the Faculty of Business pursue more international partnerships and attract a greater number of international learners.
“Students, alumni, employers, and the broader community can be more confident than ever that their AU credential is internationally recognized,” Hurst said. “I am so proud of the team and all that we’ve been able to accomplish together.”
Decade worth of work
AACSB accreditation is the culmination of an almost decade-long process. It included in-depth evaluations and reviews of the Faculty of Business’s mission, quality of teaching, research impact, and program and curriculum development.
Bryant called AU’s commitment to earning accreditation “a true reflection” of the dedication of their students, alumni network, and greater business community, and the higher education industry as a whole.
“Today’s students are tomorrow’s business leaders, and the addition of the Faculty of Business to the network of AACSB-accredited business schools will have a lasting positive impact for their institution, both locally and globally.”
First-rate and future-focused business education
While the accreditation process recognized past successes and current innovations, it also looked at the faculty’s strategic vision for the future. AACSB will evaluate the Faculty of Business every five years to ensure it maintains the highest educational standards and continues to innovate.
Dr. Lisa Watson, who joined the Faculty of Business as dean in January 2022, assured that will indeed be the case.
“We will continue to find new ways to integrate cutting-edge research into our programming and create exceptional experiences for our learners,” said Watson. “I could not be prouder of the team and for us to continue to make a difference in the future.”