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OU-COM commended for effective class size increase

AOA accreditation body applauds college’s implementation of enrollment growth

By Karoline Lane

March 16, 2009

During their March 12-13 site inspection, officials from the American Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) described OU-COM as “a model for how to effectively conduct a class size increase.”  

In early 2008, COCA granted the college official approval for a class size increase from 100 students per class to 140. This academic year, OU-COM began the increase by admitting 120 students.

“Going to 120 students went very smoothly,” said Peter Dane, D.O., associate dean for predoctoral medical education. “We asked for a class size increase to 140 because we knew that, with our present faculty and facilities, we could absorb that many students while maintaining an optimal student-instructor ratio in our sectioned labs and small groups.”

Dane explained that the college is proceeding more slowly with this next phase of growth to ensure a continued smooth transition.

During last week’s visit, COCA representatives evaluated OU-COM’s progress toward its class size increase, looking specifically at the college’s compliance with the three required standards for such an increase, according to Kenneth Veit, D.O., dean of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

OU-COM has met all three standards, reported COCA inspectors Veit and Konrad Miskowicz-Retz, Ph.D., director of the AOA Department of Accreditation and COCA secretary. During their exit interview with faculty and staff, the two also commended the OU-COM’s thorough and responsible approach to implementing the increase.

The three standards for class size increase include:

  1. Standard 2.3, adequate financial resources,
  2. Standard 3.1, sufficient facilities, and
  3. Standard 4.1, sufficient and appropriately trained faculty.

 

“(OU-COM) is a model of how to effectively conduct a class size increase,” said Veit as he read aloud the commendation from the report that he and Miskowicz-Retz compiled. “The (college) used participatory planning and resource allocation to increase the class size by a very moderate amount. The class size increase was conducted with excellent leadership and in a most responsible manner.”

“I was excited to hear Dr. Veit read the commendation,” said Jack Brose, D.O., dean of OU-COM. “It made me proud to hear our faculty’s work extolled by a national expert in osteopathic medical education.” 

Miskowicz-Retz added that this is the first time in his many years of visiting colleges of osteopathic medicine that he has encountered an accreditation web site (http://www.oucom.ohiou.edu/accreditation/ allowing the college community full access to all the site visit documents. “It reflects the confidence of the people responsible for the college. The documentation was clearly and thoroughly presented.”

The COCA inspectors also praised faculty and their ongoing assessment of how they fulfill the educational mission of the college, as reflected in the attitudes of the students.

“This is something we don’t hear too often: The students very confident and happy with the size of the school and the ability to get to know the faculty and their fellow students,” Miskowicz-Retz added. “For students to talk about their identity with the school is something to be proud of.”

This site visit follows the full COCA inspection conducted in October, 2007, during which OU-COM was granted continuing full accreditation. At that full inspection, the college received four commendations and praise from the commission, and no negative requirements or recommendations.

 

 
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