Inward look benefits Kettering Business students

Sep 23, 2005

Re-accreditation of Kettering University's Business Program helps the institution draw upon its strengths to provide an educational experience that offers several advantages over other programs throughout the U.S.

In 1919, General Motors Institute (GMI) was known as the School of Automotive Trades, an institution dedicated to training young men who would eventually work as production staff and engineers in the fledging automotive industry. For the next several years, the school enjoyed immeasurable success in fulfilling its mission of providing well-trained individuals to the blossoming automotive field.

But in 1926 all of this changed.

General Motors Corp. (GM), recognizing how successful cooperative education was in preparing young men to lead the automotive field, purchased the institution and renamed it General Motors Institute. Eventually, the school established a dealership management training program that educated students in the fine art of managing a car dealership.

Over the years, GM recognized that graduates required more than mechanical knowledge to perform their jobs and the school thus expanded to include a range of social and managerial topics that enabled graduates to work more effectively with people within GM. In 1995, Kettering University's Business Program offered by the Business & Industrial Management Dept. gained accreditation from the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP, www.acbsp.org). The ACBSP, which is one of the first business program accrediting agencies to receive recognition from the Council of Higher Education (CHEA), works to provide mission-based accreditation of business schools and programs that emphasize excellence in teaching and student learning outcomes.

Dr. Charles W. White, a Kettering/GMI 1968 graduate, associate professor of Information Systems, Business Program director from 1999 to 2005 and the ACBSP self-study coordinator, explained that the latest re-accreditation shows that the Kettering Business Program meets current standards for business programs.

At the time that Kettering received the re-affirmation, White explained that the re-accreditation process involved faculty, staff and departments who teach and support Kettering's Business Program. The primary goals of the self-study were to state what the Business Program has accomplished in the past; what outcomes were desired and how they were successfully attained; what the program expects to accomplish in the future; what the process is to achieve future program and institutional objectives; and how the Business Program measures progress toward objectives and uses these measurements to continue improving.

"This renewed accreditation places Kettering's newly formed Dept. of Business undergraduate and graduate programs among 396 educational ACBSP member institutions, 293 of which have successfully achieved accreditation," White explained. "Most importantly, our undergraduate program accreditation places it in line with other ACBSP-accredited two-year college business programs. This relationship enhances the attractiveness of our curriculum and makes it transfer friendly. Re-accreditation also affirms that the courses offered, the professional knowledge presented and the outcomes achieved represent a standard of excellence that is recognized and expected in the business community. It positions our accredited master's of science graduate programs for increased recognition among other graduate programs available to the working professional."

White also said that the Kettering's Business Program has an advantage over other programs through the connection to industry via cooperative, paid professional work assignments with more than 700 corporate partners. "The ACBSP would like more schools to engage in this sort of opportunity for students," he said. "At Kettering, we've been doing this for many years across all of our degree programs. This is one big reason why one thousands of Kettering graduate become CEOs, leaders at their company or business owners." A few of the companies that currently employ Kettering Business students include

  • Arvin Meritor;
  • Bendix Inc.;
  • Bosch Corp.;
  • Borg-Warner;
  • Delphi;
  • Detroit Edison;
  • Ford Motor Co.; and
  • General Motors Corp.

There are other advantages to earning a bachelor's of science or master's of science degree with a management focus at Kettering that the ACBSP recognizes. For example, since 1995 more than 100 undergraduate bachelor's of science Management degree students have participated in Kettering's Study Abroad Business Curriculum Program with Reutlingen Fachhochshule in Germany to gain a more global perspective to their study of business. White also reported that increased numbers of engineering majors are working toward minors in Management, which gives them a more encompassing perspective of these disciplines in the corporate structure.

"The focus on managing business has been part of the Kettering University heritage almost from its beginning," White said. "Since receiving full accreditation by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs in 1995, the Business Program faculty, staff and administrators continued to assess and improve the program curriculum. Since 2000, Kettering has redesigned the undergraduate curriculum, the master's of science degrees in Manufacturing Management and Operations Management, the new master's of science degrees in Engineering Management and Information Technology and a new Management minor," he added.

This focus on managing business has clearly paid dividends. For example, the scores achieved by Kettering Business Program students on the Educational Testing Service major field test in business over the past five years rank in the 90th percentile. In addition, White points to the Delta Epsilon Chi Career Development Conferences, in which students from schools throughout the country compete in role plays, casestudies and exams. Students from the Kettering Business Program and other majors consistently earn three to six awards each year at the national competition, and approximately 50 percent of the 15 to 25 Kettering students participating place in the top 10 in the nation.

More importantly, these students, like all Kettering University students, also earn more than two years of professional experience before they graduate, which means they are in more demand than students who do not engage in cooperative assignments during their collegiate careers.

"The work to achieve re-accreditation and thus maintain the marketability of Kettering Business Program graduates would not have been possible without the daily involvement of the faculty, staff and administrative teams," White said. "They are the ones who contribute to making the Business Program undergraduate and graduate programs effective through their desire to help students develop both professionally and personally."

White concluded by explaining that at the time the Business Program received ACBSP reaffirmation of its accreditation, "discussions about the next 10 years began. Those discussions continue to focus on developing a curriculum emphasis on entrepreneurial business endeavors, and on a collaborative supply chain management emphasis. Along with the ongoing assessment and improvements made each term, a broader set of discussions focused on developing a future school of business at Kettering began."

Click on this link to learn more about Kettering's Management and Business program. or on this link to learn more about Kettering's Graduate progam.

Written by Gary Erwin
(810) 762-9538
gerwin@kettering.edu