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The path to AACSB accreditation

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

As the world’s largest business education alliance, AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) connects educators, students, and business to achieve a common goal: to create the next generation of great leaders. Synonymous with the highest standards of excellence since 1916, AACSB provides quality assurance, business education intelligence, and professional development services to over 1,500 member organizations and more than 785 accredited business schools worldwide. With its global headquarters in Tampa, Florida, USA; Europe, Middle East, and Africa headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore, AACSB’s mission is to foster engagement, accelerate innovation, and amplify impact in business education. For more information, visit

Faculty of Business Vision & Mission

Vision » By 2025 Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business will be the first choice of English speaking students seeking a business education degree delivered online.

Mission » The Faculty of Business exists to serve students, business and society by providing internationally recognized, excellent, innovative, challenging and accessible business education.

Athabasca University Mission & Mandate Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business continually strives to be an educational leader as we develop new approaches to teaching and learning, design and deploy new programs, and seek out relationships that foster innovation, quality, and performance. AU has been a member of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) since 1997-98 and is now pursuing AACSB accreditation as the next step in our development journey.

What is AACSB accreditation and why is it important?

The AACSB accreditation process is a meticulous and comprehensive review of the school’s mission, quality of teaching, research breadth and depth, and program and curriculum development. It is a voluntary process that includes in-depth evaluations and reviews by peers, committees, and school assigned mentors.

AACSB accreditation is the benchmark of quality business education requiring a serious long-term commitment of up to five years to complete. Even once a school has received accreditation, it continues to be reviewed every five years to ensure that it not only maintains the highest educational standards but that it continues to innovate. Accredited schools are considered to be the best in the world representing the highest standard of achievement – fewer than five per cent of business schools worldwide are AACSB accredited.

Simplified accreditation process

1. Eligibility

  • Must be granted membership to AACSB
  • Complete and submit the eligibility application
  • The eligibility application process involves a review of a school to determine if it is eligible to pursue AACSB accreditation
  • Assignment of AACSB committee, mentor, and staff liaison.

2. Initial Accreditation

  • Develop plan outlining strategic objectives and AACSB goal alignment
  • Mentor visit to school
  • Development and approval of an initial Self Evaluation Report (iSER)
  • Completion of annual iSER progress reports
  • Submission of final Self Evaluation Report (SER)
  • On-site visit by peer review team
  • Peer review recommendations

3. Accreditation achieved

  • School joins an elite group - less than 5% of the world's business schools hold AACSB accreditation.

4. Continous Improvement

  • School enters a five-year continuous improvement review cycle
  • Development of a continuous improvement report

Milestones and achievements at a glance

  • 1998: Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business become AACSB member
  • 2009: Centre for Innovative Management + School of Business merge to form Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business
  • March 2015: Eligibility application submitted
  • May 2015: Faculty retreat – five year strategic plan consultation
  • May 2015: Initial accreditation committee (IAC) approves eligibility application
  • May 2015: Dr. Chip Wiggins, Bentley University, appointed AACSB mentor
  • August 2015: Dr. Wiggins site visit to the Faculty of Business
  • January 2016: Initial Self Evaluation Report (iSER) steering committee struck and begins developing iSER report
  • February 2016: Faculty retreat – Faculty qualifications and assurance of learning forum
  • July 2016: Dr. Wiggins second site visit – review of iSER
  • October 2016: iSER submitted to AACSB
  • January 2017: Recommended revisions required to iSER
  • February 2018: AACSB accepts iSER
  • December 2018: Progress Report submitted to IAC (Initial Accreditation Committee)
  • March 2019: AACSB accepts Progress Report
  • December 2019: Second Progress Report Due
  • March 2020: Second Progress Report successfully accepted by IAC (Initial Accreditation Committee).
  • June 2021: Submitted the Self-Evaluation Report (SER) to AACSB in preparation for the AACSB ​accreditation peer review team visit in October.
  • October 2021: Scheduled visit of AACSB accreditation peer review team.

Updated November 02, 2023 by Digital & Web Operations (