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Notes from AACSB Conference Call

October 9, 2008

Attendees: Laura Burian, Steve Landry (for Fredric Kropp, Faculty Senate), Sunder Ramaswamy, Ernie Scalberg, Amy Sands, Clara Yu, with Jerry Trapnell of AACSB

Purpose and Context of Call:

A call was arranged by President Yu with the attendees above to discuss the changes underway at the Institute and to identify the reporting requirements for AACSB’s accreditation process. This action was prompted by persistent concerns expressed by students, alumni, and others about the impact of the impending structural reorganization on the AACSB accreditation of the Institute’s MBA program. Mr. Trapnell is the Executive Vice President and Chief Accreditation Officer of AACSB.


During the first part of the call, Jerry Trapnell provided us with a clear and comprehensive review of what AACSB looks for in evaluating business programs. He predicated his remarks on the assumption that we would like to see the MBA program continue to be accredited by AACSB. Next, he pointed out that AACSB is not overly prescriptive with institutions – the organizational structure is up to the individual institution. AACSB’s main concern is that, regardless of structure, a business program maintains AACSB standards and improves its quality. He outlined several items that AACSB would expect to see in our business program as we move forward. Specifically, he mentioned the following items:

an organizational structure or structures to identify and define the boundaries of the business program (school, college, faculty, department(s)), so that they know what to look at;

a primary contact who leads the business program, but may also lead other departments/programs;

a clearly articulated mission, and documentation of the program’s high quality and feedback mechanism for assessing its progress;

appropriate admissions criteria for students;

a sufficient number of appropriately qualified, strong faculty, who have active research agendae;

a curriculum that meets AACSB standards;

sufficient staff to provide service to students in academic advising, retention, and career management;

dedicated human and financial resources.

The last part of our conversation discussed the boundaries of expectations of the AACSB standards. AACSB expects that the integration with Middlebury, and the internal reorganization at MIIS that will integrate the business and policy programs into one school, will not only retain the MBA program, but strengthen it. One of the reasons for this call was that Dean Scalberg had talked with two individuals with expertise in AACSB accreditation, who reportedly expressed some concerns about our new structure. Jerry Trapnell reiterated what he identified as the main concern of AACSB: the delivery of quality business programs. Although he noted that ninety percent of the time, it is easier to have a school of business, other structures are OK, too. Mr. Trapnell mentioned that he was Dean at a school where he oversaw a large range of disciplines, both in & out of business field.

Towards the end of our call with Jerry, he explained what he saw as possible scenarios as we move forward with our substantive change process. First, he reviewed the timeline: we have to submit a Substantive Change Report to the AACSB’s Maintenance of Accreditation Committee by November 1st so they can evaluate it during its December meeting. Specifically, he saw the following possible outcomes:

1) The committee may approve the report, and it will plan to go ahead with the original plan and timing of our business program’s review;

2) The committee may decide that it needs to accelerate our normal review and plan an earlier visit;

3) In a worst case scenario, it may say it needs to review our Business Program now.

We reviewed what AACSB is looking for, namely to make sure that the business program isn’t being harmed by the impending organizational changes. The November 1 Report should be as comprehensive as possible, including details about both the implications of the Middlebury/MIIS merger and the IPS/IB integration. For example, how will we ensure that all of the services and activities AACSB standards require will be provided in our new organization in which advising and career services are consolidated?

According to Mr. Trapnell, while our reorganization appears to be a rational approach to the allocation of resources, AACSB will need to know the details and be reassured that MIIS can deliver on its promise of not only protecting but strengthening the quality of the business program.

Finally, Mr. Trapnell gave reassurances that the November Report is the first opportunity to have a dialogue with AACSB. “No bomb is going to drop on you. We are not going to revoke the accreditation in December. It’s just not going to happen.”

Rideshare Rewards Club

Dear Members of the MIIS Community,

Do you carpool, bike or walk to work? If not, would you consider it for a chance to win $1000? Well here’s your chance!

MIIS is now registered with the Rideshare Rewards Club, a year-long program to promote the use of alternate transportation! Registered students and faculty keep a log of each day they use alternate transportation. For every day you carpool, vanpool, bicycle, walk, or ride the bus your name will be entered into a monthly drawing to win $1000!

Here is how you can become a member:

Step 1: Download a membership application from www.commutealternatives.info/rewards.html.

Step 2: Drop your application off at the Reception Desk in the President’s Office.

Step 3: Keep monthly commute logs tracking the number of days you use alternative transportation. Then turn them in to Barbara Burke by the 26th of each month for signature. Logs will be faxed to Commute Alternatives for the drawing. The drawing winner will be announced by the 5th of the following month.

Drawings will occur each month throughout the academic year. The Rideshare Rewards Club is offered to you by Commute Alternatives, the rideshare program for Monterey County commuters.

Remember, each day counts as an entry in to the drawing!

Dear Monterey Institute Students:

Just a reminder that President Clara Yu and President Designate Sunder Ramaswamy will conduct a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, October 21 from 12:15PM – 1:45PM in the Irvine Auditorium. This will be an opportunity for you to meet Dr. Ramaswamy and ask any questions that you might have.

Please mark your calendars now to attend.


Barbara Burke

Executive Assistant to the President


Faculty, Staff, and Students of the Monterey Institute:

President Clara Yu will hold open office hours on Tuesday, October 7 from 12:00PM – 2:00PM here in the President’s Office of the Segal Building. In order to maximize the allotted time, individual meetings will be scheduled with her for every 15 minutes on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have a desire to meet with Clara, please e-mail me, with the time that might work best for you during the two-hour period. I will then respond confirming your scheduled time.


Barbara Burke
Executive Assistant to the President

Dear Noel and other interested students,

Following the conversation in this conference, it seems that some clarification is in order.

1. The MBA degree will continue.

2. The reorganization does not put the AACSB accreditation in jeopardy. We have already had preliminary conversations with AACSB, have notified them of our upcoming merger with Middlebury, and have started proceedings to request a substantive change that would officially transfer accreditation to Middlebury upon the completion of the merger in 2010. AACSB personnel have expressed an eagerness to work with us, as they, like we, are interested in the outcome of a rigorous and vital business program.

3. Current students will have the same curriculum, the same degree, and the same accreditation.

4. The two school model of administrative organization does not preclude any program being appropriately distinguished by specific admissions requirements or degree requirements, or the engagement of appropriately qualified faculty in curricular decision making. Nor does it preclude program-specific data collection, resource allocation, or tracking of expenditures.

5. Attached aacsb_standards are the AACSB accreditation standards, for those who are Interested. They are focused on program quality, not administrative structure. As they state, “The administrative structure within which the programs are offered is at the discretion of the institution. While no particular administrative structure is mandated, the organizational structure and procedures must foster strategic management and continuous improvement.”

I hope you will bring your concerns to the student Town Hall meeting on September 25, and that you will engage with us in planning to strengthen the curriculum, and expand and deepen our services to students.

Clara Yu

To:       Members of the Monterey Institute of International Studies Community

From:   Clara Yu, President; Sunder Ramaswamy, President Designate

Date:    September 15, 2008


We are writing to share with you our plans to continue developing The Monterey Institute’s role and stature as a leader and innovator in international education. 



As you may recall, in October of 2006, the Institute adopted an ambitious 4-year strategic plan to achieve academic excellence, financial sustainability, and global prominence.  Strengthened by its affiliation with Middlebury College, the Institute moved quickly in the first year of the plan’s implementation to improve its infrastructure, increase its recruitment and advancement efforts, and place itself on a sound financial footing.


Last year saw accelerated progress. An Academic Excellence Task Force (AETF) was convened to explore the intersection of the Institute’s strengths and the world’s needs, and refine areas of curricular focus to strengthen the Institute’s leadership role in international education.


The AETF issued its report in January 2008, mapping out the curricular foci, student learning outcomes, and pedagogical principles upon which to build a unique educational model at the Institute: the Monterey Way 2.0. Underlying the report was a strong belief that the Institute as a whole needed to overcome inherent structural and cultural obstacles that had resulted in operating inefficiencies and limited opportunities for our students.


Integration with Middlebury College

The decision to integrate the Institute into Middlebury College has been approved by both Boards, with a projected closing date of June 30, 2010. The Institute will operate within Middlebury’s single 501(c) (3) corporation, while maintaining autonomy in critical areas such as academic operations, the curriculum, admissions, financial aid policy, degree requirements, compensation, and the hiring, evaluation, and promotion of faculty.


We have worked with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) to ensure the smooth transition of the Monterey Institute to NEASC accreditation as part of Middlebury College. In the spring of 2008, the College submitted a petition for substantive change to NEASC, indicating its intention to integrate the Monterey Institute of International Studies and Middlebury College into a single institution of higher education. In July, each campus received an official NEASC visit to gather the information required to act on this petition, the first step toward joint accreditation. We expect to receive a positive response in the spring of 2009.


Academic Excellence and Reorganization

Last Spring, following the AETF report, faculty members submitted over thirty proposals for new courses that cross school and disciplinary boundaries. Thanks to tremendous effort on the part of faculty, ten of these were ready for the academic year 2008-09.  However, we also realized that in order to fully realize the promise of Monterey Way 2.0. and ensure the highest quality curricular and research collaborations over the longer-term,   we would need to find a superior operating model for the Institute. It became clear that the existing four-school model is not optimal or consistent with our future vision.


At the June Board meeting, we presented a confidential draft of a reorganization plan to the trustees. This plan represents our judgment regarding the structure that would best facilitate the implementation of the Academic Excellence recommendations, and create a seamless experience for students as they navigate the broader curricular and career options available to them in a more integrated academic environment. The proposed structure was favorably received by the trustees, who instructed us to share the reorganization plan with the Institute community, firm up the details, and present the plan for final approval in October, and for implementation during the academic year 2009-10.~


This new organizational structure includes the following elements:


(1) The President of the Institute will report both to the Monterey Institute Board and to the Middlebury President. The President will, in turn, have five direct reports: a provost; and four executive directors in charge of advancement, communications, finance and business operations, and planning and special projects, along with an executive assistant.


(2) The administration of academic programs will be organized in two schools:

                  * The Graduate School of International Policy and Management

                  * The Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation, and Language Education


Each school will have a dean who will, assisted by department chairs, oversee the faculty and curricula of the school. The boundaries between these two newly configured schools will be deliberately porous.


There will also be a dean of advising, who will oversee a suite of coordinated services that provide advising, mentoring, and career development to students in all programs. This will place more emphasis on students’ needs and interests, helping them to navigate through a more open curriculum, leading to optimal career opportunities as well-informed professionals.


(3) Within the context and time frame of this reorganization, our intention is to retain and strengthen current curricular offerings, not to eliminate them. To this end, while our academic programs will continue to evolve, as they have in the past, the Institute will keep its existing programs intact during this reorganization period.



Creating a new vision for the Institute is exciting and energizing; implementing it will require all of us to be thoughtful, flexible, and focused on the strategic interests of the Institute as a whole.


We appreciate your active participation and contributions. We invite you to join us for a Town Hall meeting for faculty and staff on Thursday, September 18.  Another Town Hall meeting is scheduled for students on September 25. Both meetings will take place in Irvine Auditorium from 12:15 to 1:45 p.m.


If, as you think about the information we have provided above, you wish to submit questions anonymously and in advance, you can place your questions in the special boxes at the Library circulation desk. You may also submit questions via email to president@miis.edu. We will, of course, entertain questions in person at both meetings.


We look forward to hearing your thoughts, and engaging in constructive dialogue.

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