AACSB Taps DiAngelo to Diversify Business Education
by Carolyn Steigleman ’10 (M.A.)
Haub School of Business Dean Joseph A. DiAngelo Jr. Ed.D. ’70 is the new chair of AACSB-International, the oldest and most prestigious accreditor of international business education. His appointment as leader of the organization parallels his 25th year of service as a business school dean. As he embarks on his quarter-century of service, DiAngelo considers how globalization and advancements in technology have altered how business education is conducted. His priority as chair for the 2012-13 academic year is to introduce new standards for accreditation that are flexible enough to accommodate these social and economic shifts. “The world is changing around us, and like it or not, we have to change right along with it,” DiAngelo says.
In many colleges and universities around the world, business education is now perceived as accounting majors preparing audits, finance majors studying investments, and marketing majors learning the fours P’s (product, price, place, promotion). Among DiAngelo’s priorities as chair of AACSB is to support and champion institutions that espouse a more humanistic, global and multidisciplinary approach to business education.
“The objective of undergraduate business education is to graduate well-rounded professionals who have a solid foundation in business and a deep knowledge of the world around them,” he says.
At Saint Joseph’s Haub School of Business, half of the undergraduate curriculum exposes students to liberal arts subjects such as philosophy, history and science. DiAngelo believes liberal arts programs help business students cultivate critical thinking and practical reasoning: skills employers have long sought among college graduates.
DiAngelo says AACSB committee members have noticed that, in recent years, the schools’ mission statements, which drive their curricula and hiring patterns, have all started to look the same. During his tenure as chair, new accreditation standards will be developed for the first time since 2003.
The revised standards will be flexible enough to encourage divergent missions without diluting the value of the “AACSB-accreditation” brand that hundreds of business schools value among their biggest selling points.
With a continued focus on the importance of issues like sustainable development and ethics in today’s business schools, the new standards will call attention to globalization and arrive during a time of much transition for international business education.
Business schools in emerging economies are getting increased attention from both domestic and foreign students. AACSB data showed a 136 percent increase in enrollment within Latin America, the Middle East and Central/Eastern Europe countries between 1999 and 2009. The population in these economies has exploded; the value placed on higher education within these markets increases as incomes rise and buying power grows.
DiAngelo sees an opportunity in this trend to diversify global business education while creating new jobs, strengthening industries and supporting economic development in these countries.
“We’re encountering schools with very different structures, academic philosophies, faculty skill sets and resource capabilities,” says DiAngelo. “There are many roads to quality, and as an association, we must be open to evaluating and acknowledging different academic structures.”
According to DiAngelo, business schools should have unique priorities, a combination of talents and cultural context to serve the diverse range of students around the world.
For example, at Saint Joseph’s Haub School of Business, the industry focus and ethics-based curriculum distinguishes the University’s B-school from peer institutions. Other schools DiAngelo visited chose to concentrate academic efforts on topics ranging from entrepreneurship to diversity to globalization.
“That’s what I find so exciting about my upcoming year as the board chair for AACSB,” he says. “Exploring the potential we all have to make a difference by combing our unique strengths.”
Since DiAngelo’s arrival at Saint Joseph’s as dean in 2000, the Haub School of Business has experienced unprecedented growth. Under his leadership, the school has doubled the size of its student body and is now the largest Jesuit business school in the United States. Prior to coming to Saint Joseph’s, DiAngelo served as business school dean at Widener University, where he led the school to AACSB accreditation.