The LMU School of Business and ACBSP

by Jack McCann, PhD, Dean | 423.869.6298 |

The Board of Commissioners of the Baccalaureate/Graduate Degree Commission of the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs met on November 17-18, 2011, and voted to grant initial accreditation to the Lincoln Memorial University and its business programs.

About the ACBSP from:

The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.... a leading specialized accreditation association for business education supporting, celebrating, and rewarding teaching excellence. The association embraces the virtues of teaching excellence and emphasizes to students that it is essential to learn how to learn. ACBSP acknowledges the importance of scholarly research and inquiry and believes that such activities facilitate improved teaching. Institutions are strongly encouraged to pursue a reasonable mutually beneficial balance between teaching and research. And further, ACBSP encourages faculty involvement within the contemporary business world to enhance the quality of classroom instruction and to contribute to student learning.


ACBSP develops, promotes, and recognizes best practices that contribute to continuous improvement of business education and accredits qualified business programs.


ACBSP will be the global leader enhancing the quality of business schools and programs focused on teaching excellence.


ACBSP, founded in 1988 and located in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City, was created by its members to fulfill a need for specialized accreditation by institutions of higher education with business schools and programs. Specifically, that need was for business education accreditation based on the mission of the institution and of the respective unit, an accreditation that acknowledged and emphasized quality in teaching and learning outcomes.

There are approximately 2,400 U.S. institutions of higher education that have business administration, finance, management and marketing. Economics is also often taught within a school or college of business, and is considered a sixth business-related field in such schools. Many institutions also have specialized areas of study such as human resource management, management information systems, and public administration that are part of a business academic unit and considered to be business-related curricula.

In 1988 only 260 of those 2,400 institutions had their business schools and programs accredited, an accreditation administered by only one organization. Many of the remaining 2,140 institutions felt that an alternative organization with an accreditation philosophy more attuned to the missions of their institutions should be created to satisfy their business accreditation needs. Most of the 2,140 institutions had (and still have) as their primary, student-oriented objective excellence in teaching as opposed to a heavy emphasis on research. They wanted an accrediting organization that had this teaching emphasis reflected in its accreditation standards. Their response was the creation of ACBSP.

The association had its beginning in Kansas City, Missouri on April, 28, 1988, when representatives of more than 150 business schools and programs met to consider possible alternatives for external accreditation of their business programs. It was decided at this meeting that a study group should explore the feasibility of establishing a second accrediting body whose mission would be to promote teaching and learning, thus improving the quality of education in business schools and programs. The study group completed its work in 12 months and presented its findings to the ACBSP membership on May 12, 1989. The membership voted to make ACBSP a permanent body and encouraged the newly formed board to pursue its stated mission in a vigorous yet systematic fashion. Hence, ACBSP, the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs, a new accrediting organization for business schools and programs was created, with a primary emphasis directed toward fostering excellence in teaching.

In August of 1992, ACBSP was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a specialized accreditation agency for business education. That recognition continued through April, 1996, when the Department of Education changed its policies to recognize only those agencies that impacted the distribution of federal funding. To fill the resulting void for a national body to recognize accrediting agencies, the Council for Higher Education (CHEA) was created in 1996. The CHEA-recognized scope of accreditation approved at that time was: Degree programs in business and business-related fields at the associate, baccalaureate, and graduate degree levels. At its meeting on January 22, 2001, the CHEA Board of Directors reviewed the recommendations of the CHEA Committee on Recognition regarding the recommendation and recognized the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs.

In 2003, ACBSP implemented a new initiative titled "Better Than Ever." This initiative changed the way services are delivered to member institutions and corporate members. Previously benefits were provided to two people on campus, typically the head of the business unit and one other designated person. Under this new format, each person involved in the delivery of business education is designated as a member. This includes the college president, chief academic officer, and all faculty members. This initiative also resulted in dramatic improvements in the quality of member services, and offered a new array of membership benefits.

In November 2004, ACBSP initiated ACBSP Gateway, a new branded website: In addition to providing information to the public, Gateway offers a login feature for members, providing enhanced benefits that allow members to update their institutional or individual profile, access all members, join an ACBSP community and access the archive of ACBSP publications.

In June 2005, ACBSP approved a new strategic plan with new mission and vision statements. In addition, the seven regions that formerly included the United States were expanded to include the provinces and territories of Canada.

In June 2006, the ACBSP Baccalaureate/Graduate Degree Commission approved standards for separate accreditation in accounting. In November 2007, The Board of Commissioners approved the criteria and process needed to implement a separate accreditation in accounting, and the first accreditation in accounting was granted in April 2009.

In June 2009, ACBSP created a new regional organization for Latin America. The Latin American Council of Business School and Programs is composed of members in Mexico, Central America, and South America. ACBSP now has nine regions, representing 44 different countries.

In 2008, ACBSP initiated an overall Rebranding Initiative for the now 20-year-old association. The Marketing Committee proposed a new name that would better reflect a growing global presence and better describe the mission of the association. Since the ACBSP acronym is familiar to many in business higher education, the committee recommended that it be kept.

In 2010, after review and recommendations by the Board of Directors and the Bylaws Committee, the membership voted to adopt the new name: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. This was done during the Annual Business Meeting in June 2010. A new logo was also developed as part of this initiative, making its debut at the 2010 ACBSP Annual Conference in Los Angeles.

In the summer of 2010, ACBSP expanded the level of educational offering by creating a seminar series. Guiding Principles of ACBSP Accreditation and Assessment of Student Learning was selected as the topic for the first series. Each year a different topic will be developed based on input from ACBSP members.

As of August 2010, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) has 828 member campuses, 134 of which are located outside of the United States. Of those member campuses, 529 have achieved accreditation and more than 220 are in candidacy for accreditation. Individual membership now exceeds 8,000.