Grantham Dean Shares Insights from Chairing Review Team
In January, I had the privilege of representing Grantham University in Gdańsk, Poland. A private, for-profit educational institution – the School of Banking (WSB) of Gdańsk – had applied to the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) for accreditation, and the IACBE asked if Grantham would like to be part of the site review team.
Stamp of Excellence
Earning IACBE accreditation is a stamp of quality for a business degree program. It recognizes institutional commitment to uphold rigorous standards and deliver exceptional educational opportunities. And just three-and-a-half years after Grantham started its own self-study process for IACBE accreditation, we were asked to verify the excellence of another applicant school.
Grantham staff members have actively participated in as many IACBE opportunities as possible – even after earning programmatic accreditation for 10 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Grantham’s Mark Skousen School of Business.
These accomplishments highlight the quality of our business programs. An invitation to participate on the site review team with representatives from schools such as the American University of Science & Technology from Beirut, Lebanon, recognizes our commitment to business education excellence.
IACBE Accreditation Site Visit
Despite jokes about facing a Polish tundra, I was excited to serve as team chair for the site visit. Located on the Baltic coast, Gdańsk is a remarkable city. Exploring Gdańsk, its fascinating history and wonderful culture was an amazing experience. But the site review team was sent to work.
A site review team’s primary purpose is to validate information provided in the self-study, identify opportunities for improvement (and areas of non-compliance) and share recommendations. Over four days, we met with faculty, administrators, the holding company, executive leadership, advisory board members, alumni, students and support personnel at the WSB of Gdańsk. This extensive and meticulous work is vital for site review teams to be prepared to uphold the IACBE’s mission and values. The findings go a long way toward determining if a school eventually becomes accredited.
On this IACBE accreditation visit, my site team was fortunate that the WSB of Gdańsk is an extraordinary institution, one well-prepared for our visit.
An unwritten peer rule is to share best practices and experiences. This way we learn and benefit from each other’s expertise and experiences. The WSB of Gdańsk demonstrated an impressive commitment to becoming an IACBE member by sharing exceptional faculty training and curriculum quality assurance models.
Two Schools – One Mission
I couldn’t help noticing a number of similarities between the WSB of Gdańsk and Grantham University – both before and during the site visit. For one, both schools are for-profit institutions with the oversight of tax-paying holding companies intensely interested in self-sustaining programs that provide value for students.
In addition, both schools continue to grow in size and reputation, despite increasingly competitive environments. The WSB of Gdańsk does so in a country that offers free tuition in a well-respected state-run educational system. Paying tuition is nothing new in the United States, but it’s a relatively new concept in some European countries.
Finally, both schools focus on providing a practical business education that prepares students for gainful employment in the real world.
Now, one big difference: Grantham University is 100% online, and the WSB of Gdańsk is campus-driven. While the delivery of higher education varies across the industry, what matters most is an institution’s commitment to continue striving for excellence and student success.
This belief is clear among IACBE-accredited institutions, and I’m proud to claim, as the saying goes, that Grantham “walks the walk.”
About Julius Leary
Julius Leary is the Dean of Foundations Program for Grantham University. In addition to more than a decade in business, he served as faculty and then chair of the Mark Skousen School of Business at the University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Economics from Elmhurst College and a Master of Business Administration from DePaul University. Currently, he is pursuing an EdD in Interdisciplinary Leadership from Creighton University.