Drake After Business School Accredition Loss

Nov 4, 2014

College of Business and Public Administration at Drake University
Credit Amanda Horvath

In April, Drake University’s business school gave up its accreditation before it could be taken away. How are they doing this semester without accreditation?

Ben Spadt is a staff accountant at an accounting firm in Des Moines after the whirlwind end to his degree. He enrolled at Drake a year ago to finish his last few credits after his family moved to Des Moines. But then the College of Business and Public Administration gave up their accreditation with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

“It felt like an oversight on their part," says Spadt. "If there’s an oversight on something as important as that accreditation, or something so seemingly important, then what else are they cutting corners on or leaving out?”

Spadt decided to transfer back to the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he spent three months finishing his degree.  He says getting a degree with this accreditation was worth it.

“In my line of work if you were to go an work for a big accounting firm, that’s what they are going to ask about because the partner that comes and interviews you might not be from this area, or might not know the Drake name.”

Dean Terri Vaughan is new to the school this year. She says their enrollment increased by about 40 students, so the loss of accreditation hasn’t seemed to have a major impact.

“When you talk to the business community, when you talk to recruiters, they say we have come to expect a level of excellence from Drake graduates and that’s just a given.”

Yet the Chair of the Board for AACSB, Linda Livingstone, says evaluation is vital and helps keep a college in check.

“Certainly accreditation is an external marker that says a school is involved in a continuous improvement process that they are looking to the future.”

The college met 20 of the 21 standards required for an AACSB accreditation, but the faculty came up short on publishing research. Livingstone says there’s a reason the organization focuses on the importance of faculty scholarship.

“So there is a learning component, an educational component to faculty scholarly activities that then influences their teaching and their currency in the field.”

But Dean Vaughan says the faculty was unsure of the requirements.

“It had to do I think with a lack of clarity on what the expectations for faculty research are, a little confusion in the faculty about what that meant. And that’s something that we’ve already gone very very far in correcting. “

The school is still accredited through the university and the Higher Learning Commission, but this accreditation is more exclusive—only 716 business schools in the world, including Iowa’s regent universities, are accredited by AACSB.

Students graduating this year will not have the accreditation with their degree. Senior Benjamin Mullis isn't too worried about it.

“I think the accreditation thing, I wouldn’t see as a big deal at all, no."  

Neither is senior Naren Bhojwani.  

"Yeah I’m an entrepreneurship and marketing major, I think that was accounting thing, I’m not too sure with that. So it’s something we don’t want to think about, something that doesn’t affect us.”

The school plans to reapply in the spring, but it could take another year for the school to have its official accreditation back.