Accreditation: new plan to solve the insoluble

Skrevet af Nicolai Brændstrup BoesenJesper Snedker Adamsen, (versioning) - Foto: © Bowie15 | - 13. februar 2015 - 16:030 kommentarer
The implementation of cutbacks will likely complicate CBS' effort to receive an unconditional, positive rating from the Danish Accreditation Institution.

CBS has a scheduled meeting with the Danish Accreditation Institution on February 16th. The process of obtaining an unconditional, positive rating is on the agenda. However, demands for more research-based teaching and improved quality assurance of said teaching are not up for discussion. 

The institutional accreditation report found that research-based teaching at CBS, whether conducted by faculty staff (VIP) or external lecturers (D-VIP), is not sufficiently monitored. The good thing is that CBS can do something about it.

Additionally, CBS has not been able to fulfill its own ambition of increasing the number of full-time researchers and channeling their expertise into the lecture halls. And this is not likely to change anytime soon as CBS has just signed severance agreements with 52 experienced full-time researchers.

Thus, the challenge for CBS is to work towards getting an unconditional, positive rating within the next two years despite current financial turmoil.

Cutbacks reduce chances of success

The fact that 52 academic staff members and 15 administrative staff members have just signed voluntary severance agreements has effectively averted an outright round of layoffs at CBS. These recent events will have a positive effect on CBS’ financial situation, but in relation to the institutional accreditation report they actually make things worse.

As 52 faculty staff members will be leaving CBS it naturally increases CBS’ dependence on external lecturers, which pushes CBS in the opposite direction of what was recommended in the institutional accreditation report.

Hence, the overall cutbacks and the voluntary severance agreements have stabilized CBS’ financial situation, but the side effect is that ‘Denmark’s poorest university’ now finds itself in a deeper hole on the road to an unconditional, positive rating.

Being poor is expensive

It turns out that implementing cutbacks can be expensive. CBS’ conditional, positive rating effectively means that through the next couple of years CBS cannot offer new programs without approval from the Danish Accreditation Institution.

Thus, in relation to every program accreditation process CBS must account for all basic requirements in terms of research base, corporate relevance, and internal quality assurance.

The fact that the burden of proof lies with CBS and that CBS has to go through the accreditation process in all cases goes against the Administration’s ambition to accredit the institution as a whole in order to enable a larger degree of autonomy.

Had CBS received an unconditional, positive rating it could have focused on the crucial quality assurance of its programs. However, as a consequence of the conditional, positive rating CBS is forced to pay great attention to meeting the demands of the Danish Accreditation Institution, which is time-consuming and pulls resources away from the quality assurance process.

CBS must do more with less

During the spring CBS senior management will be working on the plan that is to secure an unconditional, positive rating; and Dean of Education Jan Molin will not make any statements on the subject before the strategy is in place.

But the overall goals are that quality assurance must be improved and full-time researchers’ involvement in lectures must be increased, which is expected to result in an unconditional, positive rating and thus, a larger degree of autonomy and independence.

As a consequence, focus should shift from meeting the requirements of an external, regulatory agency to securing satisfactory quality levels in relation to establishment of new programs.

So far, so good.

However, the hardest part is that CBS will have to convince the Danish Accreditation Institution that CBS, despite having agreed voluntary severance agreements with 52 faculty staff members, can meet the demands for more and better research-based teaching.

Management is on it!