Surveys to assist UNMC's re-accreditation efforts

by Bill O'Neill, UNMC public affairs | August 22, 2005

UNMC's faculty, staff and returning students will have the opportunity to share their views of UNMC during the next few weeks via electronic surveys that will be sent to their e-mail accounts. Survey data will be used as UNMC prepares for re-accreditation by the North Central Association of College and Schools.

"The survey gives us an opportunity to evaluate where we are now as a campus, and it will highlight perceived strengths and unmet needs that we need to address and where there are opportunities for growth," said John Adams, Ph.D., assistant vice chancellor for budget and strategic planning and a member of the re-accreditation Executive Committee.

During the next 1 1/2 years, UNMC will participate in a self-study process required for re-accreditation. The guiding principle of the re-accreditation effort isn't simply to get re-accredited, but to improve through the process, said John Benson, M.D., a professor of internal medicine who is chairing the Executive Committee.

"The self-study isn't a responsibility that we want to go through only to get accredited, then put all of our work on a shelf after the site visit team has left," Dr. Benson said. "By systematically collecting and then utilizing the information that we gather and taking steps to implement appropriate changes, we will become a better health care center in the years to come."

Many faculty and employees will have their first opportunity to participate in the re-accreditation efforts by completing the survey. Already, a letter from Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D, explaining the survey has been sent to faculty members, who will receive the survey in their e-mail boxes today (Aug. 22). Letters will be sent to regular full- and part-time staff and returning students within the next couple of weeks. Surveys should arrive on Aug. 29 for staff and on Sept. 6 for returning students.

Russell Smith, Ph.D., director of the School of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, is administering the survey. Only aggregate data will be prepared for UNMC, and all comments will remain anonymous.

"Not only does this survey provide a baseline for our efforts, but it also provides everyone on campus the opportunity to learn more about the accreditation process," Dr. Adams said.

Institutional accreditation is important to UNMC for several reasons, including allowing UNMC to maintain its eligibility for federal student financial aid programs. The institutional accreditation process is separate from the specialized accreditation processes that UNMC colleges, the hospital, continuing education, professional programs and residencies undergo, Dr. Benson said.

More information on UNMC's re-accreditation efforts will be available soon on the UNMC Web site and at http://www.unmc.edu/nca.