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Alutto leads AACSB task force on impact of business school research

An August report issued by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, recommends an overhaul of the way schools organize, measure and communicate business research. That overhaul would also mean accreditation changes.

The Impact of Research task force was chaired by Joseph A. Alutto, the recently named Ohio State provost and executive vice president. Alutto, the former dean of Fisher College, along with 12 members that included Anthony J. Rucci, a faculty member in Fisher’s Department of Management and Human Resources, issued the report. The task force, which began work in February 2006, released a draft of the report to solicit comments and feedback from AACSB-accredited business schools.

During a September AACSB Continuous Improvement Conference in St. Louis, Alutto said the task force found that there was a widening gap between scholarly research and its relevance to management education and to practicing managers and their organizations.

"Research is now reflected in nearly everything business schools do, so we must find better ways to demonstrate the impact of our contributions to advancing management theory, practice and education," Alutto said.

The task force made the recommendation to “extend and augment AACSB accreditation guidelines to require schools to demonstrate the impact of faculty intellectual contributions on targeted audiences.”

In his presentation in St. Louis, Alutto indicated that the group found evidence that students value and are attracted to institutions with significant research achievement. However, the task force found that there was minimal study of the impact of scholarship on teaching.

“We recommend that the AACSB conduct research specifically to better understand the relationship between scholarship and teaching—degree and non-degree programs,” Alutto said.

While the report calls for significant changes and new accreditation standards, Alutto stressed that the task force did not recommend that all business schools conform to a single model.

“This is not meant to be prescriptive, but we can see that some general characteristics of business schools lead naturally to different types of emphases of various research types,” Alutto said. The report emphasized that research should be closely aligned with individual business schools’ mission.

After the feedback period from the association's accredited schools, changes in accreditation standards would have to be approved by a vote of the AACSB's Accreditation Council, which includes representatives of each school.