Pursuing total accreditation.
Soon after the Jackson-Hope Fund was established, the Board of Overseers determined that one of its strategic goals would be pursuit of national accreditation for all programs at VMI where such status is available but not yet achieved.
The Board recognized the importance the accreditation process plays in helping academic programs continuously improve their educational quality by setting specific and measurable goals, assessing achievement of these goals and improving their programs based on assessments results. Accreditation also validates the success of the Institute’s academic programs and helps attract the talented students and faculty needed to perpetuate those successes.
Following an intensive self-study and preparation for accreditation, VMI’s computer science program received full accreditation by the Computing Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) in 2006. The external reviewers were extremely impressed by VMI’s faculty, cadets and computer science program and the clear institutional commitment to building computer science as one of VMI’s flagship academic offerings.
To enable pursuit of accreditation in engineering and chemistry, the Jackson-Hope Fund supported external reviews by nationally recognized consultants of all three engineering departments and the Chemistry Department. This input was instrumental in supporting the 2007 accreditation of the Engineering Division by ABET, and the Chemistry Department by the American Chemical Society.
The Jackson-Hope Board’s goal was again realized in 2010 when VMI’s Department of Economics and Business joined the ranks of 5 percent of the world’s business programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). This achievement followed a rigorous, multi-year accreditation process supported in part by the Jackson-Hope Fund.
According to Col. Floyd Duncan, head of the department, AACSB made special note of several aspects of VMI’s program it considers to “demonstrate leadership and high quality continuous improvement in management education.” It has asked for additional information to promote VMI’s new Center for Leadership and Ethics and its Honor Code to other schools as best practices. In addition, the association noted the strength of the department’s advisory group, as well as the active support it receives from the VMI Board of Visitors, the VMI Foundation and the Jackson-Hope Fund.