International accreditation falsified

Foreign governments are increasingly seeking partnerships with the University to offer accredited courses and certificate programs taught by GW professors. At least some foreign leaders are using the university’s brand name with out its permission, said Prabir Bagchi, senior associate dean of GW’s School of Business.

Abu Dhabi’s General Secretariat held a leadership and change management seminar for more than 100 government officials from Sept. 2 to 12; (Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates.) Local coverage of a leadership seminar in Abu Dhabi reported the event was accredited by GW and that participants received a master’s credit from the University. Bagchi denied this claim.

“As far as we have been able to gather, this is not a legitimate GWU seminar,” Bagchi said, adding that he and other representatives from the School of Business are still investigating this instance of potentially unlawful accreditation.

Mohamed Faisal Al Sayari, a public relations representative for Abu Dhabi’s General Secretariat, defended the program. He said he believed it was accredited.

“The seminar format of the GWU course allowed us to cover practical aspects of leadership and project management in a way that was relevant and directly usable,” Al Sayari wrote in an e-mail.

Three years ago GW’s School of Business teamed up with ESI International, a business training company headquartered in D.C., to offer legitimate GW-accredited project management courses in Singapore, China, Europe and the Middle East.

“The fact is GW is accredited by Middle States (an association of colleges and schools), and these international institutions want courses that are accredited here and measure up to U.S. standards,” said Donald Lehman, executive vice president for academic affairs.

Lehman added that when the University offers programs in foreign countries, they are required to meet the standards of the foreign government.

Bagchi said the programs that are accredited meet GW’s academic standards.

“These courses are offered under our supervision (and) our instructors develop the curriculum,” Bagchi said. “(The course participants) receive state-of-the-art knowledge as well as credit from GW. People then have the option to enroll in the master’s in project management program here at GW or online, and many do.”

In addition to accredited courses GW is planning to offer in China, the School of Business has worked with USAID and its International Institute of Tourism Studies to offer tourism industry certificates to professionals through the Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association for the past three years.

“We develop the curriculum and send over instructors to initiate the programs. We are continually adding new courses and updating the current ones,” said Kristin Lamoureux, director of IITS.

Using USAID funding, GW sends instructors to Jordan to run intensive programs for local trainers who then run two-day courses for tour operators and convention center managers. Certificates available include the Certified Travel Associate, Certified Travel Counselor and Certified Travel Industry Executive.

IITS has been conducting a similar program for the last ten years in South Korea and Canada as well as at the University of the West Indies and the University of San Diego.

“For professionals in Jordan, they receive the benefits of name recognition (from a GW certificate), while we gain, apart from a small monetary benefit, international exposure and the opportunity to help countries increase their own curriculum,” Lamoureux said.

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