N.C. Central University announced a double dose of good news Thursday on the academic and sports fronts.
Its business school has gained a prestigious accreditation from an international organization, and its football team has been declared the Black College National Champions in a poll conducted by the Sheridan Broadcasting Network.
The business school accreditation, from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, is the "gold standard in business school accreditation," said Bijoy Sahoo, interim dean of NCCU's School of Business.
Duke and UNC are among the 17 North Carolina universities with the status. The AACSB accredits about 500 business schools worldwide.
Sahoo said the new certification will help the school recruit and retain faculty and students.
"It just makes us more credible as a quality academic program," Sahoo said. "It's a feather in the cap of the faculty and administration."
The business school had no accreditation for a few months this year, but now has two types: the new AACSB one and another from the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs. The university lost the latter last December and regained it in May.
NCCU as a whole also is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
NCCU lost its ACBSP certification because officials did not file a self-evaluation report. Under the leadership of then-dean Benjamin Newhouse, the school was pursuing just the AACSB accreditation, even though approval would not have come before the ACBSP status expired.
Chancellor James Ammons criticized the decision at the time, and Newhouse was removed from his job.
The AACSB accreditation, which will cover NCCU's bachelor's and master's programs in business administration, focuses more on universities' faculty research and intellectual productivity than the ACBSP certification does, Sahoo said.
The School of Business first applied for AACSB accreditation in 1999.
Businesses, who sometimes help pay for employees to take part-time courses, often don't want to fund study at universities that are not AACSB approved, Sahoo said.
To achieve the certification, business schools need to go through a lengthy peer-review process and do a self-evaluation report.
"The faculty, the students and staff have shown character," Sahoo said. "We gained back the one we lost and we got this one."
NCCU's business school opened in 1972, after separating from the university's Undergraduate School of Arts and Sciences. It has more than 1,025 undergraduates enrolled and 80 students in the graduate program.