Accreditation Activities Accelerate
The preliminary site visit was successful, the draft self-study report has been submitted, and the external evaluators will come to campus February 2-4. All systems are “go” for the Kent State College of Public Health to be fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) in 2015. “While it’s been a massive undertaking, we’ve been advised that our college is in very good position to be accredited and become a full member of the Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health (ASPPH),” says Dean Sonia Alemagno. “What an accomplishment for a college established just in 2009.”
“Now that we’re in the final countdown, we’re asking our stakeholders to assist by reviewing and commenting on our draft self-study and by submitting letters supporting our accreditation,” she says. “I encourage students, alumni, faculty and the practice community to visit our accreditation website, where they can review the self-study in detail, and to submit written input into the deliberations of the site visit team,” Alemagno says. Letters should be sent by January 1 via email to CEPH Accreditation Specialist Samantha-Rae Dickenson, MSPH, or to her attention at 1010 Wayne Avenue, Suite 220, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
“CEPH’s criteria for accreditation compels you to look at your entire operation – your curriculum, student services, faculty and quality– all that we do here,” explains Kenneth Slenkovich, assistant dean for operations and community relations, who spearheaded self-study report preparation. “We analyzed a lot of data, looking at student surveys, retention rates and research dollars brought in, for example, to help us determine whether we’ve met CEPH’s criteria and to address plans to reach the standards if we’re still in progress,” he says.
The draft self-study report was submitted in early September, and it will be reviewed by CEPH, external consultants and deans who have built and run accredited schools. Comments will be returned to the college in November so that the report can be finalized by January. In February, the site visit team, whose members have not yet been disclosed, will be meeting with community partners, students, faculty, external advisory committee members and Kent State’s president and provost. “They’ll be seeking many different perspectives, and we’ll make available to them all kinds of resource documents, such as CVs of faculty members and course syllabi,” Slenkovich explains.
“Accreditation will signify that the college is moving to the next level,” observes Alemagno. “It will elevate our reputation nationally and internationally and represent a new recruiting milestone for students, faculty and staff. The accreditation marker also will recognize that we uphold a high standard for curriculum and practice experience, assurance for employers hiring our graduates that they’ve achieved the core competencies of public health,” she adds.
“Accreditation also signifies that we are research-intensive and engaged with the community in that research, addressing the public health concerns in Northeastern Ohio. More than 80 percent of our faculty research is in collaboration with a community partner,” Alemagno notes. “Accreditation also will make us eligible for additional post-doc opportunities, and we’ll be able to compete for a different caliber of research funding,” she concludes