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Faculty, staff and students appointed to self-study accreditation team

(ATHENS, Ohio —Feb. 14, 2014) The Heritage College’s Office of Institutional Assessment and Planning has formed a self-study team to assess how the college is meeting each of the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) standards in preparation for COCA’s next full-accreditation site visit to the college later this year.

The self-study team is made up of faculty, staff and students who were appointed by Heritage College Executive Dean Kenneth Johnson, D.O., in October 2013 based on their individual content expertise within each COCA standard area. The team is led by Nicole Wadsworth, D.O., associate dean of academic affairs and assistant professor of emergency medicine.

“Each member of the team contributes their own individual strengths,” Dr. Wadsworth said. “We are working as a team, not only to address the standards for this cycle of accreditation, but also to assess our processes with a long-term eye so that we can be continuously engaged in exceeding the standards.”

The team includes standard leaders, who are assigned one of the eight COCA standards required for continued accreditation based on their area of expertise. These leaders collaborate with work groups developed to critically assess how the college is meeting the standard, assessing both strengths and weaknesses.

Alexander Murphy, medical education program evaluator in the Office of Institutional Assessment and Planning and one of the standard leaders, said, “I selected work group members that I knew would contribute valuable expertise and insight to our standard. These individuals contribute to the assessment of the standard and help to finalize a document for review.”

The Heritage College is accredited through fall 2014. COCA will conduct a comprehensive, full-accreditation site visit during the week of Nov. 10, visiting both the Athens and Dublin campuses. In preparation for this on-site visit, the college will submit the final self-study report to the COCA in September.

Continuing accreditation is granted to colleges that meet or exceed the accreditation standards for educational quality. Accreditation status is reviewed every seven years following a cycle of self-study and a comprehensive on-site evaluation.

During the last full site visit in 2007, the Heritage College met all of the accreditation standards and received four commendations for achievements in research productivity, the Office of Student Affairs’ financial literacy programs for students, the recruitment of a diverse student body, and the development and commitment of the college’s executive committee.

Theresa Lester, accreditation and program analyst with the the Office of Institutional Assessment and Planning, said, “As a college, we need to be actively engaged in a continuous improvement process that provides evidence for how we meet the COCA standards. Being open to new ideas, policies and processes that can improve the way we operate is an important part of this self-assessment.”

The Office of Institutional Assessment and Planning was established in 2009, after the self-study process that preceded the 2007 accreditation visit identified the need for increased college-wide assessment. Since that time, the office has been responsible for organizing and evaluating institutional data for program and planning analyses and to produce recommendations that further the Heritage College’s mission. The Office of Institutional Assessment and Planning manages the college’s accreditation process.

Wayne Carlsen, D.O., senior associate dean and associate professor of geriatric medicine/gerontology, serves as the administrative reviewer for the self-study team, along with Dr. Wadsworth and Lester. Kapil Bajaj, medical informatics analyst, offers document sharing and IT support for the team and work groups.

The self-study team relies heavily on administrative support staff for editorial and meeting support, research and other communication efforts.

Each of the eight standards has one to three individuals leading the assessment:

·         Standard 1, Mission, Goals and Objectives: Jill Breeze, coordinator of medical informatics operations and OHF Vision 2020.

·         Standard 2, Governance, Administration and Finance: Shelley Ruff, chief financial officer.

·         Standard 3, Facilities, Equipment and Resources: Beth Maxon, chief administrative officer.

·         Standard 4, Faculty: Angela Spangler, director of human resources, and Dr. Wadsworth.

·         Standard 5, Students: John Schriner, Ph.D., assistant dean of admissions; Pat Burnett, Ph.D., assistant dean of student affairs; and Nate Overmire, CPCII Curriculum Advisory Committee representative and Albert Schweitzer Fellow.

·         Standard 6, Curriculum: Angie Mowrer, director of preclinical education; Virginia Regula, primary care family medicine associate; and Dr. Wadsworth.

·         Standard 7, Research: Jack Blazyk, Ph.D., associate dean of research.

·         Standard 8, Graduate Medical Education: Murphy and Robert Cain, D.O., associate dean for graduate medical education.


For more information, visit the accreditation Web page at

In April, members of the self-study team will present a session titled “Planning for your Site Visit: Compliance with Assessment Standards at the Committee on College Accreditation Training Workshop in Washington, D.C., at COCA’s request as an example of best practices in assessment.

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Last updated: 01/28/2016