By Christine Schaefer
The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) has long used the Baldrige Excellence Framework as the backbone of its accreditation standards, criteria, and review process for the organizations it serves.
As ACBSP President and CEO Jeffrey Alderman wrote in a Spring 2017 ACBSP newsletter, “Our accreditation standards and criteria follow the ‘Baldrige model.’ While our accreditation focuses on recognizing teaching excellence and determining student learning outcomes through continuous improvement, it is the framework of Baldrige that gives our accreditation its impact for quality.”
In the same column, Alderman outlined his council’s plans for “taking Baldrige to the next level” through an enhanced relationship with the Alliance for Performance Excellence—the nonprofit network of regional and state-level Baldrige-based award programs across the nation that is a key partner of the federal Baldrige Performance Excellence Program.
Describing the new arrangement, Alderman wrote, “the Alliance will develop a membership and participation model to permit ACBSP to assist the Alliance in promoting performance excellence approaches as well as Baldrige and Baldrige-related awards to member organizations of ACBSP throughout the world.”
ACBSP members will benefit, according to Alderman, “by instituting a standard framework of quality management oriented for business school programs extending beyond current ACBSP accreditation.” He also stated that application of the Baldrige framework “may extend beyond credit-bearing business programs to areas such as training and corporate universities to the extent that ACBSP is permitted by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.”
ACBSP also has accepted an invitation to join the Alliance. “What this means,” explained Alderman, “is that ACBSP will be working to develop opportunities for interested institutions for going beyond accreditation in pursuit of total performance excellence.”
So will business schools and programs find that implementing the Baldrige framework to improve their organizations is worth the effort? Alderman apparently anticipated that question, and he answered it this way: “Studies have found that investing in quality and performance excellence pays off in markedly increased productivity, satisfied stakeholders, and dramatically improved results.”
If any organizations have doubts about the value and return on such an investment, we hope they will talk to leaders of the latest Baldrige Award recipients!