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ABEST21 Accreditation System

1. Purpose of Accreditation

The mission of a business school is to nurture world-class management professionals who can compete in the age of advanced technology, social, economic, and cultural globalization, and accelerated informatization. To achieve the mission, it is indispensable to develop an education system at an internationally recognized level, accompanied by educational quality assurance. Accreditation by a third party must ensure not only the educational quality expected for the school to achieve, but also ensure educational quality enhancement to the stakeholders of the school. ABEST21 was founded on July 1, 2005, as an accreditation institution aiming to nurture world-class management professionals and enhance the quality of management education at business schools in the age of globalization. Business schools are responsible for nurturing capable management professionals who can contribute to world peace and prosperity, and the quality of business education is indispensable for achieveing this aim. In accrediting business schools, ABEST21 is involved in not only the quality assurance of education but in building the education system which will be the base for enhancement of education quality in response to the change of environment.
Accreditation institution will assess the quality of educational research activities of the business schools in a fair and objective manner. In addition, it is responsible for supporting the establishment of education system which provides enhancement of educational quality through promotion of PDCA cycle operation toward the future.
Thus ABEST21 Quality Assurance System aims to assess the system of management education quality enhancement in response to the changes of educational research environment, in addition to education quality assurance.

2. Main Viewpoints of Accreditation

ABEST21 conducts accreditation on educational and research activities based on the following viewpoints, in order to achieve the aim of accreditation as above.

1) Positive reviews which enhance the distinctive features of management education at the School
ABEST21 reviews the educational and research activities of the applicant school from the perspective that recognizes its distinctive features and aims to enhance the uniqueness of the school through utilizing its original educational and research resources.
2) Active reviews which promote globalization of the School
ABEST21 reviews the educational and research activities of the School with the aim to promote globalization of the educational programs so that the School’s educational programs meet the needs of the globalized society.
3) Active reviews which enhance the quality of educational and research activities of the School
ABEST21 reviews the educational and research activities of the School with the aim to enhance the quality of educational programs so that the School can provide world-class management education.
4) Social reviews to meet the needs of the School’s stakeholders
ABEST21 reviews the educational and research activities of the School to meet the needs of the stakeholders in order to nurture world-class management professionals.

3. Scope of Accreditation

The accreditation unit – an academic unit of the university which is seeking to earn or maintain quality assurance – must define the “scope of accreditation”, which is a statement of educational programs for which accreditation is granted. The academic unit is an organization (e.g. a faculty or school) through which educational programs are authorized, supplied with resources and overseen. In different countries there can be different accreditation units: for example, in Japan it is typically a Professional Graduate School of Business, in Malaysia – a Graduate School of Business or a Graduate School of Management, in Indonesia - Magister Manajemen program in a Faculty of Economics and Business. Generally ABEST21 focuses on the management education in a broad sense, covering areas such as Business Administration, Management of Technology, Accounting, Finance, Intellectual Property and Management Information, and also Business Economics in relation to management education, as delivered by the Faculties of Economics and Business. Different degree-granting management programs (e.g. Bachelor’s, Master’s, MBA, etc.) which cover these areas are welcomed to apply for accreditation by ABEST21. But, in determining the “scope of accreditation,” the applicant academic unit needs to negotiate with ABEST21 to determine the inclusion or exclusion of departments or educational programs for the purposes of our review.

4. Period of Accreditation

The effective period of accreditation is 5 years. Before expiry, the School is subject to another quality assurance by ABEST21. The first accreditation is “Initial Accreditation”, and the accreditation to continue with quality assurance is “Maintenance Accreditation”. In maintenance accreditation, Schools are expected to exceed the level of education quality enhancement achieved at the initial accreditation stage.

5. Analysis Guidance under Advisory System

ABEST21 is responsible for providing appropriate advice on self-evaluation analysis so that the Schools can conduct it smoothly. Group guidance system is more effective than guidance given by individual mentors to enhance the accuracy of advice. Advisory team will be organized to provide necessary advice on an as-needed basis.

6. Review System

In order to nurture world-class management professionals, management education needs to be implemented based on industry-academia collaboration. Thus quality assurance of management education also requires assessment based on industry-academia collaboration. To realize such assessment, ABEST21 sets up a committee to conduct peer review to provide substantial assessment as the first stage of accreditation. This “Peer Review Committee” consists of members who are experts in management education and research activities, in terms of academic theory and business practice.
On the other hand, the management professionals nurtured by the School must respond to the needs of companies and other stakeholders. Therefore the second stage of accreditation is evaluation by the stakeholders. Moreover, the accelerating globalization of the economy requires the cultivation of global management professionals, and evaluation based on the global stakeholder perspective becomes indispensable. To meet the needs of the age, for the second stage of quality assurance ABEST21 sets up the “Accreditation Committee”, which will conduct assessment based on the global stakeholder perspective on the needs for cultivating management professionals.
There are four key bodies involved in the review system.

1) Accreditation Committee
The Accreditation Committee reviews the draft of the recommendation provided by the Peer Review Committee based on the global viewpoint of stakeholders. The result is reported to the ABEST21 Board of Trustees.
2) Peer Review Standing Committee
The Peer Review Standing Committee composed of from 10 to 15 deans of school members. The Peer Review Standing Committee prereviews the Accreditation Plan and Desk Review Report, and also coordinate opinions of the Peer Review Committee.
3) Peer Review Committee
The Peer Review Committee consists of members who are academic experts in management education and persons with considerable business experience. The Committee will conduct substantial assessment on “Accreditation Plan” and “Self-Evaluation Report” prepared by the School. For this purpose, “Peer Review Teams” are organized.
4) Peer Review Team
The Peer Review Team consists of three to five members who are appointed by the Peer Review Committee. The Peer Review Team reviews the “Self-Evaluation Report” submitted by the School and enforces on-site interview, and then prepares the PRT Review Report.

7. Accreditation Standards and Items

Management programs of the Schools are evaluated based on the standards and items covering the following areas.

  1. Mission Statement
  2. Educational Programs
  3. Students
  4. Faculty
  5. Staff and Infrastructure

Each of the above five chapters consists of accreditation standards, which include “basic perspective” and “detailed perspective”. The basic perspectives are fundamental and comprehensive criteria, whereas detailed perspectives function as evaluation items based on individual and specific perspective.

8. Steps of Peer Review

The general process of accreditation is as follows.

Initial Accreditation

Step A: Reviewing Accreditation Eligibility
・Application for Initial Accreditation Eligibility
The School submits the completed Eligibility Application to a Quality Assurance Agency. Upon receiving the application, Accreditation Eligibility Assessment Committee will examine the submitted documents and determine immediately whether to accept the application or not.
Step B: Reviewing the Accreditation Plan
・Submission of Accreditation Plan
The School submits its Accreditation Plan. In preparing the Accreditation Plan, the School should define the Mission Statement, examine its fundamental strategy to realize the Mission Statement, and plan the actions to resolve the major kaizen issues, with the support of the advisory team.
・Reviewing the Accreditation Plan
The Peer Review Standing Committee will judge whether the Accreditation Plan is “Successful” or “Unsuccessful”.
Successful: The Accreditation Plan is analyzed appropriately by conducting self-evaluation based on the basic perspectives. The School is ready for business accreditation. 
Unsuccessful:The Accreditation Plan has much room for kaizen improvement in its self-evaluation analysis. At this stage the School is not ready for business accreditation. 
The successful School will proceed to preparation of Self-Evaluation Report, and the unsuccessful School will resubmit the Accreditation Plan.
Step C: Reviewing the Self-Evaluation Report
・Submission of the Self-Evaluation Report
The School submits its Self-Evaluation Report. In preparing the Report, the School analyzes the self-evaluation based on the basic and detailed perspectives of the accreditation standards with the support of the advisory team.
・Reviewing the Self-Evaluation Report
The Peer Review Committee entrusts the Peer Review Team (PRT) of the School with the review of the Self-Evaluation Report. PRT conducts document review and on-site interview and submits the PRT Review Report to the Peer Review Committee. Based on the Report, the Peer Review Committee prepares the Draft Recommendation.
・Informal announcement of the Draft Recommendation on Self-Evaluation Report and Coordination
The Peer Review Committee informally announces the Draft Recommendation to the School, providing an opportunity for the School to give its comments or objections. If any objection is raised by the School, the Peer Review Team shall conduct a factual survey and coordinate the statement.
・Preparation of Recommendation for Accreditation
After examining the coordinated Draft Recommendation, the Peer Review Committee finalizes the recommendation for accreditation and ranks the School based on the extent of meeting the accreditation standards and the perspectives for enhancing the education quality. There are four ranks from A to D, as below. The result is reported to the Accreditation Committee.
  • A: The School’s educational and research activities satisfy all or most accreditation standards.
    The quality maintenance and improvement of education and research are very promising and excellent. The School’s educational and research activities satisfy all or most accreditation standards. The quality maintenance and improvement of education and research are very promising and excellent.
  • B: The School’s educational and research activities generally satisfy the accreditation standards.
    The quality maintenance and prospects for the improvement of education and research are promising and good.
  • C: The School’s educational and research activities satisfy the accreditation standards. However,
    there is room for kaizen in quality maintenance and prospects for the improvement of education and research. The School’s educational and research activities satisfy the accreditation standards. However, there is room for kaizen in quality maintenance and prospects for the improvement of education and research.
  • D: The School’s educational and research activities fail to satisfy many of the accreditation standards and leave many kaizen issues in quality maintenance and improvement. The School will be reviewed again after examining the result of one-year kaizen report.
Step D: Ratifying the School’s Accreditation
・Review by the Accreditation Committee
The Accreditation Committee shall examine the Draft Recommendation for accreditation submitted by the Peer Review Committee and deicide by vote whether to submit it to the Board of Trustees.
・Ratification by the Board of Trustees
Based on the recommendation of the Accreditation Committee, the Board of Trustees reviews the recommendation and finalizes the accreditation. The accreditation result is reported to the stakeholders after the ratification by the Board of Trustees.

Kaizen Review

Step E : Submission of the Kaizen Report
The accredited School submits the Kaizen Report for the previous school year by the end of June every year. The Report clarifies the progress achieved in resolving the kaizen issues based on the action plan. ABEST21 will have the School’s Peer Review Team review the Kaizen Report and its correspondence with the action plan and prepare the Kaizen Report.
Step F: Informal announcement of the Draft Recommendation on Kaizen Report and Coordination
The Peer Review Committee informally announces the draft of the recommendation to the School, roviding an opportunity for the School to give its comments or objections. If any objection is raised by the School, the Peer Review Team shall conduct a factual survey and coordinate the statement. The School’s educational and research activities fail to satisfy many of the accreditation standards and leave many kaizen issues in quality maintenance and improvement. The School will be reviewed again after examining the result of one-year kaizen report.
Step G:Preparation of Draft Recommendation on Kaizen Report
The Peer Review Committee examines the coordinated Draft Recommendation based on the feasibility of the action plan and the effectiveness of the quality maintenance and improvement of education. The result is reported to the stakeholders.

9. Announcement of accreditation results

ABEST21 informs the applicant school about the accreditation result. At the same time, ABEST21 announces the result to the authorities concerned. The result is also publicized through the ABEST21 Annual Report and the website.

10. Information Disclosure

In order to enhance transparency and objectivity of accreditation, ABEST21 discloses information concerning accreditation standards, methods, implementation system, etc. and other appropriate information on its website. Upon request for disclosure, ABEST21 normally satisfies it except if it concerns personal information or information which may potentially jeopardize the legitimate interests of the School.

11. Guarantee Period

Accreditation guarantee period is 5 years. The School is subject to accreditation by ABEST21 once every 5 years.

  • 1) The first accreditation for the School is the Initial Accreditation.
  • 2) The accreditation conducted within 5 years after the Initial Accreditation is Maintenance Accreditation.

12. Compliance Rules for Committee Members

For neutral and fair evaluation, ABEST21 prohibits members of the Accreditation Committee and the Peer Review Committee from being involved in any documentary and on-site evaluations conducted by the Peer Review Team which are directly related to the accreditation process of the applicant in the following cases:

1) Elimination of interested parties, etc.
Committee members having a direct interest in the case do not make documentary or on-site evaluations. They are not allowed to vote on the evaluations or accreditation results of the committees. However, they are entitled to attend meetings and state opinions on topics not related to any actions which are taken. Members are qualified as having direct interest in the process in the following cases:
  • ① The member is employed as an academic of the professional graduate school, full-time or in conjunction with other institutions
  • ② The member serves as a member of the board of the university
  • ③ Other cases in which it is difficult for the member to make a fair and correct evaluation.
2) Confidentiality
Members are prohibited from leaking information obtained through the process of accreditation and the content of evaluations for schools which are being evaluated. Any information obtained as a committee member must be kept separate from other information and under strict control.
3) Disclosure of the names of the members
During the process of accreditation the names of the members of the Accreditation Committee and the Peer Review Committee are not disclosed, so that fair and appropriate evaluations can be conducted. The names are disclosed only after the accreditation result is finalized.

13. Accreditation Fees

ABEST21 Accreditation Fees approved by the Board on 8th March 2014 are as follows:

1) The Initial Accreditation Review Fees
Payment of the Initial Accreditation Fees is divided into two times as follows:
(1) Review Fee for “Accreditation Plan” ・・・・・・・JY 1,000,000 yen
(2) Review Fee for “Self-Evaluation Report” ・・・・・JY 2,000,000 yen
2) The Maintenance Accreditation Review Fees
Payment of the Maintenace Accreditation Fees is divided into two times as follows:
(1) Review Fee for “Accreditation Plan” ・・・・・・ JY 1,000,000 yen
(2) Review Fee for “Self-Evaluation Report” ・・・・ JY 2,000,000 yen
3) Fees for Accredited Institutions
Annual Accreditation Fee for accredited institutions is not requested.

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