College of Business Plans for Changes
Starting in the fall, the University of Mary Washington’s College of Business will be requiring that incoming students apply to their college separately, according to their website.
This comes among other changes as the college pursues accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) for its undergraduate program in an effort to become more competitive with other colleges of business in the region.
The AACSB accreditation is specifically for business schools, and is in addition to UMWs accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, according to acting Dean of the College of Business Larry Penwell.
The College of Business’ push for accreditation is happening simultaneously to UMW’s pursuit for reaccreditaton, expected to conclude in 2013.
Penwell said that the college is considering requiring students to have at least a 2.5 GPA overall, around a 3.0 GPA in lower-level business courses and to have completed a certain number of business courses before being accepted into the college.
The college is also considering making a writing sample or an interview a requirement for admission.
Penwell believes that writing samples would help ensure that students who are admitted to the College of Business are able to communicate effectively and explain why they are interested in business.
An alternative process for admission may also be established for students who do not quite meet the application requirements.
Penwell said that they will be including the possibility for students who seem to have potential but do not quite meet the standards to be interviewed.
According to the College of Business’ website, all newly declared business majors will have to complete new curriculum requirements starting in the fall of 2012. However, existing majors will be able to complete their studies according to the previously existing course requirements.
In addition, the College of Business website says that it will conduct a “decennial review of all of its programs,” especially its graduate degree programs, and is “exploring the question of adding additional majors and minors to [the] undergraduate program.”
The college is also considering adding the options of majoring in accounting, management, marketing and management of information systems. Currently, the College of Business offers a business administration major.
Among the potential minors being considered within the college are accounting, management, marketing and management information systems.
Another issue the College of Business is currently encountering is that the number of faculty professors does not appropriately match the number of students interested in business, according to Penwell.
He said that the college is looking to fill at least four of the eight available positions in the coming academic year.
With the college operating below full faculty capacity, about 50 percent of the faculty are adjunct professors, Penwell said.
However, the college will be able to limit the number of students in the college of business once students are required to apply to the college for admission.
“Anyone who wants to declare the major can declare the major at the moment, so we have a huge number of students who declare a business major,” said Penwell.
The College of Business is still just coming to understand what AACSB accreditation requires and their first priority is ensuring the university’s reaccreditation in 2013 with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Penwell said.
However, Penwell thought that the lack of AACSB accreditation does hurt the college’s reputation.
“[When business was a department,] we were not really directly competing with colleges of business, now that we are, it is in fact rather critical that we become accredited by AACSB,” Penwell said.
Penwell also stated that all of the other public institutions of higher education in Virginia have been accredited by the AACSB, but because UMW’s college of business was only established last July, it still has time to pursue accreditation.
In Virginia, colleges of business accredited by the AACSB include those at the College of William and Mary, the University of Virginia, George Mason University, James Madison University, Old Dominion University, Radford University and Christopher Newport University.
Junior Lara Froemke, who double-majors in business and international relations, looks forward to the changes within the college, but worries that the increased number of required business courses for the major may make double-majoring more difficult.
Senior Ariana Johnson, a business major, sees the new requirements for admission into the college of business as a positive development, but said that she worries that the college of business’s environment will become more aggressive.
“It’s going to be very competitive because you have to have a certain GPA to enter,” Johnson said.