Virtual Visit Resources
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, AACSB continues to be supportive of virtual accreditation visits. During the 2021-22 year, accredited schools should assume their continuous improvement review visits will be virtual, unless local conditions are conducive to face-to-face or hybrid visits.
Schools preparing for initial accreditation visits must work with their AACSB accreditation staff liaison to determine the most appropriate format for a visit. Virtual visits for initial accreditation visits are approved on a case-by-case basis.
To ensure a productive virtual peer review team visit that fosters a high level of engagement among participants, AACSB has prepared a number of resources to assist schools in teams through this process, which are found below.
Virtual Visit Protocols and Best Practices
AACSB has developed protocols and best practices for schools preparing for virtual peer review team and mentor visits. The protocols are required elements of the virtual visit while the best practices are optional. In addition, all schools are required to complete a COVID-19 addendum, which addresses the impact that COVID-19 has had on their school.
Virtual Visit Webinar
Messages along with school specific information was sent to the schools and their teams the week of April 26, 2021.Schools with CIR visits scheduled between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022:
- Should be planned to take place virtually; should circumstances allow where the team members can be on campus that will be acceptable.
- Your school report should include an addendum summarizing the affect the pandemic had on your school and the actions taken.
Schools with an Initial accreditation visit scheduled between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022:
- Virtual visits are allowable based on a case-by-case determination with approval by AACSB’s Chief Accreditation Officer and volunteer and host school availability.
- Additional reporting requirement:
- Please provide an addendum summarizing the effect the pandemic had on your school and the actions taken to address the effects.
myAccreditation is intended to be used only to upload the required documents plus any key files that would support the document review of your CIR report. Schools will need to create their own virtual base room outside of myAccreditation to provide the other documents and artifacts that should be made available to the team during the visit. For example, it would be appropriate to provide a sample of AoL summary reports in the addendum section in myAccreditation, but upload any assessment samples in the school’s virtual base room.
AACSB recognizes that schools will need to take a variety of measures to deal with finishing out the semester. AACSB supports reasonable measures taken by a school to get through this very difficult time. Many schools are taking a variety of steps, particularly moving classes into a virtual format or closing the semester early. These types of decisions will be viewed as local decisions and would not impact your accreditation.
As with the above response, AACSB supports reasonable alternatives to facilitate a safe environment and minimize stress among students. AACSB understands that internal decisions are made at many levels of the institution and reflect what is in the best interest of the student body. As noted earlier, decisions such as grading systems are local decisions and do not have an impact on AACSB accreditation.
An assurance of learning process is a structured and continuing process. AACSB understands that it entails many activities and engagement with staff and faculty. When the immediate needs of the school’s stakeholders have been met and the school is comfortable with the new normal, the school should resume its AoL activities. Understand that AACSB, in training peer review team and committee volunteers, will encourage our volunteers to apply reasonable judgement in reviewing AoL and other accreditation activities that are impacted by the unusual circumstances related to COVID-19. In some cases, adjustments to a school’s AoL schedule may need to be made, especially if online or alternative delivery formats are extended into the next academic year. AACSB will be understanding of this need to reschedule planned AoL activities.
AACSB recognizes that schools are taking various measures to get through this period. For example, we have heard from schools that they have decided to pause faculty and staff hiring during this uncertain time.
During an accreditation review, schools are expected to demonstrate quality across degree programs, while peer review teams confirm alignment with standards as well as offer consultative guidance to schools. Given the external forces at play during this time, AACSB will advise teams to look at schools through a more flexible lens. Since an accreditation cycle spans over five years, the school may wish not only to show faculty sufficiency and qualification data for the year of record, but also to provide a summary of faculty sufficiency and qualification ratios prior to the disruption. It will be important for schools to also describe the strategies and plans for recruitment, development, and deployment of faculty moving forward. This type of chronological information can provide important contextual information both to the team as well as the school. Rest assured that other schools are facing the same circumstances and, therefore, members of your peer review team are also dealing with similar stresses.
Submission due dates are noted in the IAC’s most recent decision letter to the school and can also be found here. Normally, the submission due dates already established should be adhered to, to the best ability of the school. Please contact your AACSB accreditation staff liaison for further guidance.
Many AACSB-accredited institutions have offered blended and online programs for years, and the accreditation standards support such delivery models and ensure the same high-quality education as any other program. In response to COVID-19, more than half of AACSB member schools have converted face-to-face courses to virtual options. These innovative offerings provide learners with an important balance: continuing their education while also ensuring the health of their communities.
Yes. AACSB is accepting eligibility applications. Each of our operating committees, including the Initial Accreditation Committee (IAC), the Accounting Accreditation Committee (AAC), and the Continuous Improvement Review Committee (CIRC), will be meeting as planned. Meeting dates and document submission dates can be found here.
AACSB understands that the COVID-19 health situation will impact the ability of a school to demonstrate a comprehensive research portfolio especially during a school’s year of review as well as impacting a faculty member’s ability to sustain their faculty classification. In preparing Table 2.1, schools should indicate the actual production of intellectual contributions. If the school chooses to do so, the school is welcome to produce a supplemental proforma table of what the production of intellectual contributions would have been if COVID-19 had not impacted the process. In regard to faculty qualifications, faculty should be classified based on their actual contributions. As with Table 2.1, a school may produce a supplemental proforma Table 15.1 reflecting faculty classifications adjusted for research and practice activities interrupted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Your school’s decision to suspend the GMAT/GRE is a local decision. From a standards perspective, we expect a school to ensure admission requirements are clear and transparent and are fairly and consistently applied. So as long as your school has this process in place, you are meeting expectations for Standard 4. Many AACSB accredited schools are applying this action to their master’s level programs.