For many years, the ZHAW School of Management and Law (SML) has been making strenuous efforts to permanently improve the quality of all the services it provides. The standard is determined by national and international quality requirements. The external perspective of industry professionals (peers) is an important element in this process. For this reason, ZHAW was the first university of applied sciences in Switzerland to apply for and achieve recognition for its business administration program: The SML was awarded a FIBAA program accreditation in 2003. A further milestone was reached in May 2015 when the SML obtained the internationally sought-after AACSB accreditation. SML quality management is oriented towards the EFQM Excellence Model.
The ZHAW School of Management and Law (SML) currently holds the following accreditations:
Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER)
As a part of the Zurich University of Applied Sciences and Arts (UAS), the SML is accredited by the Swiss government as an institution of higher learning whose qualifications (degrees / titles) and courses of study (e.g., completed modules) are recognized, and transferrable, within the European Higher Education Area in accordance with the Lisbon Recognition Convention.
AACSB (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) is the most significant accreditation institution for business schools. A mere 5 percent of the world's business schools have been awarded this prestigious standard of achievement. With effect from May 2015, the SML is the first business school of a Swiss university of applied sciences to become AACSB-accredited.
FIBAA Program Accreditation
In 2003, the SML was the first business school within a university of applied sciences in Switzerland to apply for and gain program accreditation according to international criteria. Since then, this type of external evaluation has been extended to other programs (the most recent awards are linked in each case):
- BSc in Business Administration (since 2003; all specializations incl. International Management)
- BSc in Business Law (since 2007)
- BSc in Business Information Technology (2012)
- MSc in Banking and Finance (2010; cooperative study program FIBAA-tested and WBF-accredited)
- MSc in Business Administration (2011)
- MSc in Business Information Technology (2014, cooperative study program)
In addition to this, four MAS (Master of Advanced Study) programs were accredited (2004) and re-accredited (2009). These accreditations have been discontinued in favor of the Institutional Audit.
A number of continuing education programs at the SML are recognized by leading international, industry-specific certification authorities, making it possible for participants to acquire a recognized qualification or to prepare for specific professional exams. Selected examples:
- As part of the MAS in Financial Consulting, it is possible to acquire a "Certified Financial Planner - CFP" license.
- The CAS in Requirements Engineering is ideal preparation for the "Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering (CPRE)" examination.
- The corresponding continuing education course offers targeted preparation for the "PMI Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) " qualification.
- Continuing education courses are offered as preparation for certification courses at the International Project Management Association (IPMA) Levels A & B and Level C.
Individual Involvement in Accreditation
Many SML faculty members are themselves active in accreditation procedures. As members of accreditation commissions or as trained experts, they accept positions of responsibility and in this way make an important contribution to higher quality in degree and continuing education programs at business schools.
Governance and Quality Assurance
The ZHAW School of Management and Law derives many of its benchmarks in the fields of governance, quality assurance, and quality improvement from the quality standards and requirements stipulated in its Mission Statement and by the accreditation institutions. In this way, the SML maintains clear leadership principles as well as its own Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct. A number of functions and bodies such as the Ethics Committee, the Diversity/Gender Counselors, participating committees for various HR categories, or other official representatives and counselors all play a part in ensuring adherence to these principles and providing support to employees with specific concerns. To evaluate quality and identify potential for improvement, the SML conducts regular surveys among students, graduates, and employees. In addition to this, audits and reviews are also carried out. The results are carefully evaluated and used for the purpose of ongoing improvement.
Innovation and Interdisciplinarity
Innovation at the SML is not confined solely to applied research and development, but is also something we aspire to in the programs we deliver. To this end, the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, the competence center for university teaching at the SML, offers courses, undertakes research, and publishes academic papers, with the insight gained flowing directly into degree and continuing education programs. In addition, the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship promotes the innovation potential of students and employees through its activities.
The SML unites comprehensive didactic, methodological, scientific, and legal competences in one organizational unit. When required, it can also draw on expertise from within ZHAW or from external partners.
Sustainability and Social Responsibility
The process towards a sustainable society is one of the major and, at the same time, one of the most complex challenges of the 21st century. Knowledge organizations such as the ZHAW School of Management and Law (SML) have to do their part. They have to ensure that their students make the connection between their own actions and the ecological and societal challenges of society. Students need guidance to reflect on their role as future professionals and executives. They need support in preparing for the moral dilemmas of the business world. And they need to know the models and tools that businesses can use to understand social responsibility and implement and measure sustainability.
At the SML, we are well aware of our role, and our instructors, researchers, and our other staff have been committed to it for years. The Principles for Responsible Management Education PRME are an ideal tool to further develop our organization in this regard. By signing the Principles in 2014, we made a firm commitment to uphold them.
Practical orientation is a key quality feature of a university for applied sciences. To guarantee this, the needs of stakeholders are considered carefully during product development. In addition to this, the SML also has an Advisory Board whose task it is to support senior management in the development and implementation of strategy and to facilitate access to practitioners in industry and the public sector. The Advisory Board is composed of 15 representatives from business, the academic community, and the public sector. In addition, stakeholders take an active role, e.g., in product development.
As an organization of specialists, a key function is the meticulous recruitment and development of employees. A wide range of internal and external opportunities for continuing education is available for every category of employee. The SML also actively promotes international mobility through exchange programs with partner universities and other organizations. All employees are entitled to a personal development plan. Adherence to accreditation requirements with respect to specialist and professional faculty qualifications is continuously accessed.