Dalton State’s WSOB Continues Prestigious Accreditation


The accreditation of the Dalton State Wright School of Business by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) has been extended for another five years.

An AACSB accreditation is earned by less than 5% of business schools worldwide; it’s a designation carried by the Wright School of Business (WSOB) since 2010. The school received several notes of strength by the accrediting body including professional development for students, faculty mentorships and the recently renovated Gignilliat Memorial Hall which houses the WSOB.

“We offer an excellent educational opportunity for our region of the state and beyond,” said Dr. Margaret Venable, president of Dalton State. “This is yet another outside endorsement for the rigor and quality of what we provide to our students, the future leaders of our communities. Students do not have to travel outside of Northwest Georgia or pay a high price for a quality education. We offer that right here, and this accreditation is proof of that.”

“For more than a century, the AACSB accreditation has been synonymous with the highest standards in business education,” said Dr. Marilyn Helms, dean of the Wright School of Business (WSOB). “Our students are assured the curriculum, faculty, six degrees and 11 minors meet the highest standards and AACSB guidelines. Dalton State is awarded this accreditation mark of excellence for our business program combined with the college’s overall SACS-COC accreditation.”

AACSB guidelines place an emphasis on quality education through engagement, innovation and impact. To receive the accreditation schools must have a focus on mission and strategic management; offer support for students, faculty and staff; provide learning and teaching and offer academic and professional engagement of students and faculty, Helms said.

“Students can proudly take this education and knowledge into the community knowing they have the premier training, approved by AACSB,” she said. “It’s the ‘gold seal of approval’ for our programs and both students and the community can continue to have confidence in Dalton State’s WSOB.”

Students in the WSOB are given opportunities to job shadow and intern at local and global organizations. They work one-on-one with professors to develop professional skills and have networking opportunities with business leaders in the area. Students can also work in the Dalton Innovation Accelerator Dalton State where they support startup businesses and companies needing help with specific projects.

“Businesses hiring our students know they are work-ready with the theory and practice ready to step into entry-level positions and excel,” Helms said. “They have the assurances our curriculum is reviewed and updated to meet the changing global needs of business, industry, non-profit, healthcare, and the many other industries and concentrations that hire out Dalton State students.”

Areas highlighted by the accreditation body include:

  • The new building and facilities for the WSOB, which opened in 2019 after Gignilliat Memorial Hall was renovated to house the school. “The overall aesthetics and facilities are amazing and contribute to the quality b-school experience for their students,” the accreditation stated.
  • Dalton State received a $5 million gift from C. Lamar and Ann Wright, which was matched by the state, to renovate the building. For that gift, the business school now bears their names.
  • The Dalton Innovation Accelerator gives students hands-on experience and is a public-private partnership with Believe Greater Dalton.
  • The WSOB is one of nine institutions joining in the University of South Carolina’s Center for International Business Education and Research, which allows students and faculty to experience business practices in other countries and cultures.
  • The WSOB integrates resource management software and experiential learning simulations through the SAP-University Alliance Membership.
  • Dalton State supports students of Hispanic origin and their families. The college is Georgia’s first and only Hispanic-Serving Institution, a federal designation given to colleges with at least 25% of the student body identifying as Hispanic.
  • The WSOB has a student organization, ALPHA, that supports professional development and networking for Hispanic/Latinx students.
  • Faculty members are assigned a mentor when they are hired into the WSOB. This mentorship program helps faculty integrate into the college while developing clear expectations for personnel decisions.
  • The WSOB supports faulty members’ achievement of terminal degrees through part-time Doctor of Business Administration program participation and participation in AACSB approved bridge programs.
  • With many first-generation students attending the WSOB, the school provides a professional development course to help students become better prepared for interactions in the industry and with professionals. There is also a student ambassador program to promote high-achieving students opportunities to interact with professionals.

“Our emphasis on rigorous academics coupled with real-world experience and critical career skills gives WSOB students a competitive advantage in the job market,” Helms said. “We prepare them, not only for their first job, but for their careers.”

The WSOB offers majors in accounting, finance and applied economics, logistics and supply chain management, management, management information systems and marketing. Dalton State College is ranked 15th among 124 regional colleges in the south for “Best Undergraduate Teaching” by U.S. News and World Report; the WSOB is listed in the best undergraduate business program rankings.