UMass Dartmouth’s Charlton College of Business (CCB) was already among the nation’s most prestigious business schools, with its gold-standard Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation. The next step was to leverage this achievement to give students a competitive edge and bring visibility to this elite business program house right in the SouthCoast region.
CCB Dean John A. Williams and his team of stakeholders—including students, faculty, staff, CCB Advisory Board members, and local business leaders—turned their attention to the student-focused metrics to make strategic changes across the curriculum that aligned with AACSB standards. It resulted in vastly improved student programs and a strong position in the SouthCoast, in the Commonwealth, and in the nation by climbing to No. 144 in the 2023 U.S. News & World Report’s College Rankings. The rankings also place the CCB No. 2 in Massachusetts and No. 89 in the nation for public universities.
“Strategically programming around these metrics allowed us to create a better experience for our students by developing the coursework and services they needed to be successful students at UMass Dartmouth and, subsequently, be the future leaders in our region’s workforce,” said Williams.
Williams and the CCB team built targeted career coaching services in its newly established Career Coaching Center in conjunction with UMassD’s Career Center. They designed career supports, including resume writing, interview practice, workshops, job search skills, networking events, and other activities that address the specific needs of students entering business fields.
AACSB-accredited business programs are also guided by the principle of demonstrating a positive societal impact. For CCB, this meant identifying the needs of the local SouthCoast business community, educating students to meet those needs, and leveraging the acumen of its students and faculty to support local businesses. As a Spoke Partner in the New Bedford Economic Development Council’s new NB100! Program, CCB will offer its resources and expertise to small businesses and entrepreneurs in the SouthCoast.
Over the past few years, the CCB has engaged in a dialogue with the community regarding future growth. “We aggressively listened to our regional leaders and business community and discovered what they needed was comprehensive data to make decisions for their businesses,” said Williams. In response to this need, CCB will undertake data collection on visitors to the region that will inform decisions on marketing, grant funding, and identifying growth areas.
CCB’s success inspires alumni to support students and the program’s growth. When Karyn Vincent ’85 decided to pursue college, she was guided toward a career in accounting. “My professors encouraged me to apply for jobs that I never imagined I could get. I joined a “Big 8” accounting firm in Boston, and that lead to what has been a very fulfilling career. My life would have been very different had I not attended UMass Dartmouth, and I am so thankful for my education. I support UMass Dartmouth because I want to help others get the same great start to their professional career.”