October 23, 2014  

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Southern Miss College of Business Maintains International Accreditation

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Dr. Lance Nail, dean of the College of Business at The University of Southern Mississippi, credits a dedicated faculty for the recent AACSB accreditation. (University Communications photo by Van Arnold)

The University of Southern Mississippi’s College of Business has maintained its coveted status as a dually accredited business and accounting school as determined by the Board of Directors of AACSB – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

This designation places Southern Miss in exclusive company as one of only 643 AACSB accredited schools in the world and just 475 in the United States. More impressively, Southern Miss is one of only 167 schools in the U.S. that are separately accredited in business and accounting. Fewer than five percent of business schools worldwide have earned AACSB accreditation and less than one percent have achieved both business and accounting accreditation.

“This reflects the diligence and dedication of our faculty and staff to assure a positive learning environment for our students; the commitment of our faculty to increasing business knowledge through research and high quality instruction and the strong support of the business community here at Southern Miss,” said Dr. Lance Nail, dean of the College of Business.

To realize separate accounting accreditation, an institution must first earn or maintain AACSB Business Accreditation, which requires an institution to undergo a meticulous internal review and evaluation process. In addition to developing and implementing a mission-driven plan to satisfy the 21 business quality standards, accounting accreditation requires the satisfaction of an additional set of 15 standards that are specific to the discipline and profession of accounting.

“Perhaps the most meaningful praise we received was from the chair of the accounting accreditation team at the end of the team visit,” said Dr. Skip Hughes, director of the School of Accountancy at Southern Miss. “The team chair was a seasoned accreditation reviewer who said that he had participated in approximately eight accreditation visits. He pointed out that the USM visit was the best he had experienced.”

Every five years an accredited school of business must apply to maintain its status as an AACSB-accredited institution. In the previous five-year application, the Southern Miss College of Business was placed on continuing review with multiple deficiencies that required correction.

Nail explained that the most recent evaluation by a peer review team comprised of business school deans and accounting administrators found zero deficiencies, while making two commendations for effective practices in business education. The School of Accountancy was commended for multiple strengths, including its leadership, use of technology and electronic databases in the curriculum and excellent assessment of student learning.

Initiatives receiving special recognition and cited as effective practices at Southern Miss included the Business Honors House – a living/learning community on campus – and the Business Academic Success & Excellence Center which caters to students’ needs with written and verbal communications support, tutoring services, private study rooms, larger group accommodations, staff counselors and the use of office equipment.

The AACSB accreditation comes at a time when Southern Miss is moving aggressively to upgrade facilities within the College of Business. Last March the College of Business, in partnership with The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation, launched the “Building Better Business” fundraising campaign to help construct a 90,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art building on the Hattiesburg campus. In July, Southern Miss alumnus Charles “Chuck” C. Scianna Jr. donated $5 million to the project (which has an estimated construction cost of $33 million).

Nail noted that the prestigious AACSB stamp of approval has a far-reaching impact for the university and prospective students.

“Students know that their degree comes from a business school that adheres to the exacting standards of AACSB and its commitment to continuous improvement,” said Nail. “Recruiters recognize the same and realize that our graduates are the product of a college with high standards as endorsed by peer schools in AACSB.”

AACSB International, founded in 1916, is an association of almost 1,200 educational institutions, businesses and other organizations in 78 countries. AACSB serves as the premier accreditation body for institutions offering bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees in business and accounting. To learn more about AACSB International visit: www.aacsb.edu/accreditation

To learn more about the Southern Miss College of Business and its programs, call 601.266.4659 or visit: www.usm.edu/business

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