In a cooperative effort between the Mansfield University (MU) administration, President Fran Hendricks, the Department of Business and the local Association of PA State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) union, a comprehensive plan for international accreditation is being pursued for the department.
This will keep the business program from being placed in moratorium as was announced on Oct. 2.
The moratorium was scheduled to begin at the end of this academic year. No new students would have been permitted to enroll in the program, while all current students would have been taught out over the next four years to graduation. This decision reversal allows new students to enroll. No business faculty will be retrenched.
The threat of moratorium brought all parties to the table for a frank discussion regarding relevance to need and alignment with the vision stated in the Strategic Plan MU2020. The vision, Hendricks said, is “a distinctive and distinguished array of programs aligned to the growing needs of the Commonwealth at an affordable cost for students.”
Hendricks further applauded the Department of Business for working with the administration.
“I commend members of the Department of Business for their hard work on this plan,” he said. “It aligns correctly with the direction of the University and its obligation to preparing its students for opportunities in the Commonwealth and beyond post-graduation. I appreciate the behind-the- scenes efforts and teamwork of the department, the faculty and our local union. The plan shows a strong commitment to growth and excellence in specialized concentrations in the business department and other departments across campus. This effort, this plan convinced me to rescind the previous moratorium decision.”
According to Gopalan Kutty, Department of Business chair, the department is committed to a comprehensive plan that includes moving from its present candidacy to full accreditation with the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), an international accrediting agency.
“Our department exists to best serve our students and Mansfield University,” Kutty said. “We’re committed to becoming accredited.”
The department currently has 171 students.
John Mansfield, president of APSCUF said, “Working together with President Hendricks and Dr. Kutty, a plan has been constructed to further distinguish the department and support the vision the president has set for the University.”
Kutty said the department’s goal is to complete all steps in the process and become accredited on or before December 2016.
ACBSP accredits business, accounting and business-related programs at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degree levels worldwide.
Hendricks, who assumed the presidency in May 2013, has addressed the university’s budget and increasing structural deficit, bringing it down from $6 million to $2.3 last year and a projected $8.3 million to $4.7 million this year. The recent moratorium and retrenchment decisions were not part of these results.
In addition to the budget, his primary focus has been on creating a culture of ownership, distinctive programs relevant to need, the university’s location and its people.
“This is our identity, this is what will ensure our success in the future,” Hendricks said. “The Department of Business’ move toward accreditation is the embodiment of our vision of excellence and sustainability,” Hendricks said.