Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences wants its international students to contribute to society by making an impact on the Dutch economy or the economy of their home country.
So says Wittenborg’s chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, who is currently attending the annual conference (Europe, Middle East & Africa) of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) in Vienna with the Dean of Wittenborg School of Business, Dr Rauf Abdul and Dr Regina Kecht, WUAS' Interim Academic Dean. AACSB is a professional US organization focused on advancing business education. About 35 countries from Europe, the Middle East and Africa are represented at the conference.
The conference officially opened on Sunday. According to Birdsall, the first sessions were about explaining to institutions why it is important to align their mission statement, strategic goals and the impact they have on society. "At Wittenborg our unique mission statement is internationalisation of higher education. It’s important that our international students make an impact on the Dutch economy or that of their home country."
According to Birdsall, Wittenborg also appreciates the AACSB’s approach to modern concepts of employability at business schools. "Traditionally there is a clear division between faculty members and support staff, however, this is changing, with a modern concept of employability emerging. At Wittenborg, for instance, there is a strong overlap of tasks and AACSB recognizes this grey area, and focuses on how staff are qualified to facilitate and manage education."
AACSB, which has a 100-year history, also unveiled a new brand identity. The organization wants to do more to meet the changing needs of society and business.
Wittenborg recently became a member of AACSB and will start with the accreditation process later this year – something that can take between 3 – 7 years. However, AACSB and the Dutch Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO) have signed a collaborative agreement enabling schools in the European region to earn initial accreditation with both organizations under a single, streamlined process. For schools in the Netherlands and Flanders this means administrators will experience greater ease in preparing for accreditation review without compromising on standards.
Witttenborg's degree programmes are already accredited by NVAO as well as FIBAA, a European, internationally oriented agency for quality assurance and quality development in higher education. In explaining the decision to also seek AACSB accreditation, Birdsall said: "The AACSB is a much more global accreditation system with a specific focus on business schools." It is a move also recommended by NVAO.
The conference ends on Tuesday. It is chaired by Philip Vergauwen, the Dean of Maastricht University's School of Business and Economics.
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press