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For Immediate Release: July 25, 2012

Providence College School of Business Earns AACSB Business Accreditation

AACSBlogoTHM.jpgProvidence, R.I. – Providence College’s School of Business (PCSB) has earned initial accreditation of its business degree programs by recent action of the Board of Directors of AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.  Founded in 1916, AACSB International is the longest serving global accrediting body for business schools that offer bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees in business and accounting. 

An AACSB peer review team visited PCSB in April and recommended accreditation to the AACSB Board of Directors, which announced its decision late yesterday. 

The distinction is considered the “gold standard” for college business programs, achieved by approximately 30 percent of programs in the United States and only 5 percent worldwide.

Effective immediately, it brings new stature to the PCSB, which offers undergraduate programs in accountancy, finance, management, and marketing, and a graduate MBA Program.  It also helps fulfill a promise contained in the College’s new Strategic Plan to enhance academic excellence.

“We are pleased that our School of Business has received this international seal of approval and achieved the standards set forth by AACSB.  I expect the accreditation to serve as a catalyst that will propel us forward to a higher level of academic achievement and ensure that our students are equipped to compete in today’s global economy,” said Providence College President Fr. Brian J. Shanley, O.P.

To achieve accreditation, an institution’s business programs must undergo a meticulous internal review and evaluation process.  During this period, the school must develop and implement a mission-driven plan to satisfy 21 quality standards relating to faculty qualification, strategic management of resources, and interactions of faculty and students, as well as a commitment to continuous improvement and achievement of learning goals in degree programs. 

Among the strengths the AACSB team cited were “very small class sizes,” leading to interaction with faculty and more writing assignments; “rigorous admission standards” for the undergraduate and MBA programs; “excellent career placement services”; and “enthusiastic, committed, and highly interactive” department chairs, faculty, students, and external advisory board members.

Accreditation has been the top priority of PC’s business faculty for more than a decade.  The process officially began in 2004 with the creation of a Division of Business Administration directed by Dr. Francine Newth, associate professor of management.  In 2007, when the PCSB was established, Newth served as acting dean until the arrival of the school’s first full-time dean, Dr. Sue Lehrman.

Dr. Patrick T. Kelly, associate professor of accountancy and department chair, is the interim dean through August 1.  Dr. Sylvia Maxfield, a faculty member at the Simmons College School of Management and chair of its MBA program, takes the helm as Dean of PCSB on that date.

“Providence College’s liberal arts foundation provides our School of Business students with a values-based education, something that is increasingly sought by business and professional leaders around the world,” said Maxfield.  “AACSB accreditation will help us continue to build and nurture this approach, which emphasizes ethics, integrative thinking, and a broad view of business in society.”

A strengthened program

“Accreditation is really important for our business program and this is a significant achievement,” said Kelly. “PC’s program was always strong. The accreditation process made it better. It made us take a serious look at ourselves and make changes that benefit our students. And it’s consistent with our strategic focus on enhancing academic excellence.”

Among the benefits the accreditation process brought to the PCSB, according to Kelly:

  • A common core curriculum - Whether majoring in accountancy, finance, management, or marketing, students graduate with backgrounds in each business discipline, with additional instruction in ethics.
  • Better educational assessment – Faculty developed new procedures to track the progress of students and program effectiveness.
  • A strengthened MBA Program - Formerly taught through the graduate school, the MBA program became part of the PCSB.  Our MBA program offers a high level of individual attention starting right with the admissions process. Every candidate is interviewed by two business faculty members before being admitted.
  • More students studying business - Kelly said the number of undergraduate students majoring in business has increased by 20 percent - from 864 in spring 2004 to 1,080 in spring 2012. The number of faculty increased from 35 to 45 during the same period.
  • Formation of a Business Advisory Council - Fifty business leaders, many of them alumni, support the business school financially, speak on campus, and mentor and hire students.  

Having achieved initial accreditation, the business school will be subject to a maintenance review every five years.  More improvements are planned, including the eventual relocation to a new facility.

 “Achieving AACSB accreditation is not an event in time, but part of a continuous process of quality improvements that will ensure an excellent business education at PC and allow the College to attract and retain the best faculty,” said Dr. Hugh F. Lena, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

“We congratulate PCSB, Interim Dean Dr. Patrick T. Kelly and incoming Dean Dr. Sylvia Maxfield, and welcome them into the AACSB family of internationally accredited business schools,” said John J. Fernandes, president and chief executive officer of AACSB International.  “AACSB Accreditation represents the highest achievement for an educational institution that awards business degrees.  The dean, faculty, directors and administrative staff of PCSB are to be commended for their dedication and commitment to continuous improvement, and for their role in earning accreditation.”                                           

To learn more about PCSB visit Or to learn more about AACSB Accreditation, visit:

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About PC

Providence College is the only college or university in the United States administered by the Dominican Friars. The Catholic, liberal arts college has an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 3,900 students and offers degrees in 49 academic majors.  Since 1997, Providence College has consistently been ranked among the top five regional universities in the north according to U.S. News’ America’s Best Colleges.

About AACSB International

AACSB International (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), founded in 1916, is an association of almost 1,200 educational institutions, businesses and other organizations in 78 countries. AACSB’s mission is to advance quality management education worldwide through accreditation, thought leadership, and value-added services. AACSB Accreditation is the benchmark of quality worldwide and most widely sought after by business schools—less than 5% worldwide have earned the achievement. As the premier accreditation body for institutions offering bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees in business and accounting, the association also conducts a wide array of conferences and seminar programs at locations throughout the world. AACSB's global headquarters is located in Tampa, Florida, USA and its Asia Pacific Headquarters is located in Singapore. For more information, please visit:


Chrissy Centazzo
Public Affairs and Community Relations Coordinator
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