Quality and Accreditations
The ZHAW School of Management and Law (SML) invests in continuous internal quality development and has its services externally accredited on a regular basis. These accreditations are proof of quality and a valuable quality instrument in one.
Universities are specialist organizations. Experts orient themselves primarily to their specialist field and operate within their scientific communities. These scientific networks have specific, established mechanisms for assessing and recognizing performance and quality. This makes them an authoritative frame of reference for research and teaching at a university. However, quality at the SML is not only provided by individuals alone, but also in an organizational context. Parameters, resources and infrastructure, management culture, and regulatory processes determine the possibilities and limits of action and thereby influence the quality of all services provided at the university. For this reason, not only teaching, research, continuing education, and services are subject to quality assurance and development, but also governance and resources.
Quality management at the SML pools the diverse efforts of decentralized quality development and aligns them with the goals of the university. The Quality Management Staff Unit develops and establishes appropriate instruments for this purpose and supports the departments in their quality assurance and development. Through participatory processes and quality discourse, the staff unit encourages the broadest possible support for development. Various platforms, contact persons, and committees enable all members of the SML to become involved, to be heard, and to participate in university development and quality discourse.
In Switzerland, institutional accreditation according to the Swiss Higher Education Act is a mandatory prerequisite for the right to be designated a “Hochschule” (university). As part of this procedure, the quality assurance system of the university is reviewed. The ZHAW-wide quality assurance system, in which the SML is embedded, is defined by the ZHAW 2015-2025 Quality Strategy.
Informed peer reviews of all quality areas within the university form a central component of this system. This process combines internal and external evaluation into a participatory quality discourse. Individual centers and departments, as well as the President’s Office and Finance & Services at ZHAW, implement this quality strategy and contribute to the ongoing development of a university-wide quality assurance system.
“Accreditation agencies require universities to provide evidence of their quality development - at regular intervals. This means that the SML is continuously accountable for its activities and is evaluated by international peers.”
Dr. Regula Imhof, SML Head of Quality Management
In 2015, the SML became the first business school of a Swiss university of applied sciences to be awarded the AACSB label by AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). AACSB is regarded as the leading international agency for the accreditation of business schools and certifies excellence in research and teaching. Only around five percent of all business schools worldwide bear their seal of quality.
AACSB accreditation guarantees SML students, employees, and collaboration partners an ideal framework in which to operate. This includes:
- High-quality education as well as an excellent teaching and learning environment.
- Comprehensive activity by lecturers in teaching and applied research.
- Continuous dialogue between students and lecturers.
- Successful cooperation with commercial organizations and international partner universities.
- Excellent career entry opportunities for graduates.
- Commitment, innovation, and impact as key strategic principles by which the university is measured.
- Continuous improvement within the entire organization.
The SML reports various key figures to AACSB on an annual basis, and a continuous improvement review is carried out every five years. These processes ensure that the SML continues to meet high standards and is continually striving for improvement.
AACSB accreditation enables the very best students at the SML to become members of the Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma. Further informations can be found here: SML Collegiate Chapter
All SML Bachelor's and Master's programs are accredited by the Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation (FIBAA) on a voluntary basis. In 2003, the SML was also the first business school of a Swiss university of applied sciences to gain recognition according to international criteria.
The latest FIBAA reports are linked below:
- BSc in International Management
- BSc in Business Law
- MSc in Business Administration
- MSc in International Business
- MSc in Banking and Finance
- MSc in Accounting and Controlling
- MSc in Management and Law
- MSc in Business Information Technology
FIBAA awards its premium seal to established study programs that demonstrate excellent quality in study and teaching as part of the accreditation process. With this special award, the agency assures prospective students, current students, graduates, universities, and the labor market of the outstanding quality of the SML degree programs. The Bachelor's degree programs in both Business Administration and Information Technology achieved premium seal status in 2019.
Details of the principles for awarding the FIBAA Premium Seal can be found here.