In recent advertisements for the Erivan K. Haub School of Business, the term ” Degrees of Excellence ” proudly summarizes what we offer here at Saint Joseph’s University: a business education of the highest quality, on the undergraduate, graduate and executive levels. That excellence-witnessed daily in the work of an outstanding faculty and staff, in the motivation of talented students, and in ongoing initiatives and achievements-defines the Haub School as a leader in business education. This semester, AACSB accreditation has placed a highly valued and prestigious mark on that definition, heralding the Haub School’s promise of excellence into the new millennium.

As we celebrate this victory and our intensive efforts toward securing both an initial recommendation and a final vote of approval from AACSB, I believe it is important to step back for a moment and look at how far we have come, as well as what this newly earned accreditation means to the Haub School and to Saint Joseph’s University. Sixteen years ago, the university’s Board of Trustees issued a decision to pursue accreditation. Since that time, the process gradually began to unfold, gaining momentum over the past several years and escalating in 1999-when the outside team charged with reviewing the Haub School made recommendations to HSB officials. Those recommendations created the impetus for a more focused strategic plan-a recently completed framework that, in addition to securing accreditation, has succeeded in making an excellent organization even better.

The plan covers every aspect of the Haub School, including its mission, faculty-student interaction, research and teaching, curriculum development, as well as opportunities for international study for both students and faculty. Each of these areas relates directly to AACSB accreditation standards, all of which were met by the Haub School in order to receive the team’s final recommendation in early 2000.

Not surprisingly, the term “excellence” figures prominently in our strategic plan, beginning with the HSB vision: “We seek excellence in business education that offers breadth in terms of broad-based coverage of business concepts and skills, depth through focus on specific industries and professions, and wholeness via education of men and women in service to others in accordance with the Ignatian tradition.” For those of us at Saint Joseph’s, and particularly those in the Haub School, this vision is more than an eloquent statement of who we are and what we stand for. It conjures tangible evidence of our progress, real images reflecting an environment that successfully blends modern principles and technology with a tradition of ethics, discipline and service. Beneath the bright tower of Mandeville Hall, our new state-of-the-art facility, we see undergraduates in the Teletorium interacting with their peers at a midwestern university. Upstairs in a Moot Board Room, University President Rev. Nicholas S. Rashford, S.J., questions Executive MBA students engaged in a “live intervention” with a nationally recognized CEO. We think of Dr. John L. Haverty, associate professor of accounting, teaching overseas in a new Jesuit cooperative, the Beijing International Management Center, and associate professor of food marketing Dr. Nancy M. Childs’s successful bid for funding of a research project, “Pennsylvania Feeds the World.” We see students engaged in learning a concept, consulting a non-profit organization, transforming knowledge into practice. We watch faculty gracefully balance their key roles of teacher, scholar and mentor. While this present vision is impressive, however, we must continually cultivate a vision of the future, a significant component of the new HSB strategic plan. To secure accreditation, we were compelled to outline for AACSB not only our goals (strategic priorities), but also measurable outcomes that together comprise a means of determining progress in five areas: academic excellence, Jesuit identity, industry focus, globalization and application of technology.

These outcomes, combined with systematic guidelines for evaluation and revision of the plan itself, represent an invaluable tool for sustaining our programs, supporting our people and implementing the continuous changes that today’s business climate necessitates. Armed with our vision, a new strategic plan and, finally, AACSB accreditation, we, the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University, are on the fast track toward the forefront of business education, both nationally and around the globe. Congratulations to all at the Haub School-including its graduates, past and present-for helping to give “Degrees of Excellence” a whole new meaning.