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The Catalyst

University receives perfect score on Fifth Year Interim Report

By Bilan Williams
Public Relations

Every 10 years, the Southeastern Association of Colleges and Schools issues accreditation to qualified schools in the southern region of the United States in addition to a mid-cycle review called the Fifth Year Interim Report.

For 2013, MUSC received no citations on the report, which indicates the university is acting in accordance with the standards necessary for accreditation.

Interim report

Responsible for composition of the interim report is the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. Considering the standards for accreditation are becoming more stringent every year, the office, headed by Suzanne Thomas, Ph.D., MUSC’s liaison to SACS, has had an important role in ensuring that the university can demonstrate that it meets these standards.

Thomas, who also is in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the College of Health Professions, said the report took around nine months to assemble.

“It was a group effort across all elements of the university. The report had to show evidence that MUSC is following sound assessment practices and serving our students. By collecting the right data, we are able to evaluate ourselves so that we know where we’re excelling and where we can improve.”

Most schools reviewed by SACS receive at least one referral – a request for a follow-up report that demonstrates compliance with one or more standards. MUSC was one of nine schools out of 40 that did not warrant a follow-up report.

“To be clear, getting a referral isn’t a punishment, nor does it mean a school is doing a shoddy job, it simply means the school needs to put better practices of self-assessment in place,” said Thomas. “Not having to submit a follow-up report affords us the time to work on other things and best serve our students.”

Another person vital to the success of the interim report was Amy Blue, Ph.D., director of MUSC’s Office of Interprofessional Education. The office implements the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan, a value-added program that a school adopts in order to provide students a special educational opportunity or focus.

“Each school decides its own QEP topic, and MUSC made the excellent choice to focus on interprofessional education,” said Thomas. “Now, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Blue and others, MUSC is nationally and internationally recognized as a world leader in teaching students how to work well in teams across professions and to achieve the best outcomes in health care.”

Blue said, “It is gratifying to see the interprofessional education commitment of our faculty, staff and students to be recognized by SACS.”

Thomas said the Fifth Year Interim Report is where a school shares the outcomes of the QEP with SACS.

“To put it mildly, MUSC was viewed as a model success story in this respect,” she said. “When we engage in continuous quality improvement across all aspects of the institution, everyone wins – faculty, staff, and most importantly, the students.”

July 17, 2013

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