HIGHER LEARNING COMMISSION’S 2022 SITE VISIT
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. HLC’s mission is to advance the common good through quality assurance of higher education as the leader in equitable, transformative, and trusted accreditation in the service of students and member institutions.
NEOMED was first accredited by the HLC in 1998 and currently participates in the Open Pathway 10-Year Cycle described below. The Open Pathway allows NEOMED to innovatively address institutional goals, while also reaffirming our mission — an institution focused on student success and quality education.
NEW: Download our 2022 HLC Assurance Argument
NEW: Visit schedule
Video: Ready, Set, Accredit
With Richard Kasmer, Pharm.D., J.D., dean, College of Pharmacy and vice president of academic affairs
Validation of Quality
Institutional accreditation validates the quality of an institution and evaluates multiple aspects of an institution ranging from its academic offerings, governance and administration, mission, finances, and resources. Institutional accreditation encompasses the institution as a whole, a whole, including all academic programs, all degree levels and both onsite and online course delivery. [Source: HLC site.]
- Eligibility for grants and external funding
- Articulation of academic credit to and from Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED)
- Quality education and business practices
- Qualified students are eligible to receive federal and other forms of student financial aid
- Continuous improvement processes for students and all stakeholders, including the community
- Legitimacy of NEOMED as a reputable institution of higher education; and
- Enhancement of the employability of NEOMED alumni
The HLC Open Pathway
The Open Pathway is one of two options institutions have for maintaining their accreditation with HLC. It encompasses a 10-year cycle and, like all pathways, is focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement.
The Open Pathway is unique in that its improvement component, the Quality Initiative, affords institutions the opportunity to pursue improvement projects that meet their current needs and aspirations. Learn more about the Open Accreditation Pathway in the next section.
NEOMED was last visited by the HLC for comprehensive evaluation in 2013. Following that date are a series of events that have occurred as follows:
Years 1-3: Prepare Assurance Filing
NEOMED gathers documents for its Evidence File and writers the four-year Assurance Argument for the Assurance Review
Year 4: Assurance Review
HLC institutions are required to undergo assurance review to ensure that they are meeting the Criteria for Accreditation.
Years 5-9: Quality Initiative Proposal and Report
NEOMED proposes and completes a Quality Initiative suited for its needs and objectives. The purpose of the initiative is to increase the ability of NEOMED to meet its mission. In the current cycle, NEOMED’s Quality Initiative was titled, “Collaboration between two state universities for expansion of distance education programs.”
Year 10: Comprehensive Evaluation and Site Visit for Reaffirmation of Accreditation
HLC conducts a full comprehensive accreditation evaluation. This includes a Federal Compliance Review, a review of the university’s Assurance Argument, a Student Opinion Survey, and a site visit from peer reviewers. This evaluation is designed to ensure that NEOMED meets HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation, follows U.S. Department of Education requirements, and pursues continuous improvement. NEOMED’s next visit for reaffirmation is scheduled for September 12-13, 2022.
The Assurance Argument is an opportunity for NEOMED to conduct a self-study to evaluate its ongoing compliance with accreditation criteria and to tell our story. The format of Assurance Filing is defined by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
The institution prepares an Assurance Argument and Evidence File as part of its Assurance Filing. Both of these pieces must be completed in the online Assurance System before the review is scheduled to begin. In the Assurance Argument, the institution demonstrates how it meets each Criterion and Core Component. For each Criterion, the institution offers:
- An articulation of how each Core Component within the Criterion is met.
- A summary statement regarding any additional ways in which the institution fulfills the Criterion that are not otherwise covered in the statements on the Core Components.
- Links to materials in the institution’s Evidence File for each claim or argument made.
Federal Compliance Filing
As part of the reaffirmation of accreditation process, HLC will review NEOMED’s compliance with federal requirements — specifically:
- Assignment of credits, program length and tuition
- Institutional records of student complaints
- Publication of transfer policies
- Practices for verification of student identity (online)
- Publication of student outcomes data
- Standing with state and other accrediting agencies
The Federal Compliance reviewer will determine how accurately NEOMED meets applicable federal requirements. If needed and/or if the team of reviewers has concerns, NEOMED may be required to submit additional follow-up documentation.
The institution submits a proposal for a Quality Initiative project to be completed in Years 7–9.
NEOMED’s quality initiative was titled, “Collaboration between two state universities for expansion of distance education programs” and created a shared services agreement with Kent State University to respond to the learning needs of students in the NEOMED Health Systems Pharmacy Administration Program (HSPA) by offering all courses online in a high quality and cost-effective way.
Student Opinion Survey
The HLC will survey NEOMED students in Spring 2022. The purpose of the survey is to provide the HLC peer reviewers who will visit NEOMED with baseline information to help them formulate questions for meeting with faculty, staff, and students during the visit.
The results will be aggregated and provided to NEOMED prior to the visit.
The survey is intended to provide students with an opportunity to participate in the accreditation process and to inform the peer review team.
Site Visit by HLC Peer Review Team
A site team of peer reviewers will be at NEOMED on Sept. 12-13, 2022, to complete a comprehensive evaluation.
A series of meetings with faculty, staff and students will be completed to review the 5 Core Criteria.
A report will be prepared that summarizes the findings and follow-up materials may be requested.
The results will be presented to the HLC Board in January 2023 and a final decision on NEOMED’s accreditation status will be available shortly thereafter.
College of Medicine
The College of Medicine’s Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree program is fully accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). Details can be found on the College of Medicine LCME website.
College of Pharmacy
The College of Pharmacy’s Doctor of Pharmacy degree program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). View the accreditation certificate.
Master of Public Health Program
NEOMED’s Master of Public Health program is fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)
MASTER OF MEDICAL SCIENCE IN ANESTHESIA (ANESTHESIOLOGIST ASSISTANT)
NEOMED’s Master of Medical Science in Anesthesia program began in January 2022 and is now fully accredited by the Accreditation Review Committee for the Anesthesiologist Assistant (ARC-AA) of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Continuing Medical Education
NEOMED’s Office of Continuing Professional Education has been fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) since 1983, and was awarded Accreditation with Commendation in 2012. This status is awarded to less than a quarter of those who apply.
State Authorization (NC-SARA)
NEOMED is approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) to offer postsecondary distance education courses and programs. See more about NC-SARA.
May 15, 2021, Finalize Project Plan for Comprehensive Evaluation
May 20, 2021, Quality Initiative Approved by HLC
August 1, 2021, Formal Project Kick Off
Sept. 1, 2021, Launch Steering Committee
Sept. 1, 2021, Launch Criterion Subcommittees
Feb. 15, 2022, First Draft of Assurance Argument
March 15, 2022, Steering Committee Identifies Gaps and Recommends Corrective Action
April 1, 2022, Student Opinion Survey conducted
June 1, 2022, Update to NEOMED Board of Trustees
July 15, 2022, Feedback from External Reviewer on Assurance Argument
August 15, 2022, NEOMED Assurance Argument Locked (submitted)
Sept. 1, 2022, Mock Site Visit
Sept. 12-13, 2022, On-site Visit by HLC Peer Review Team
CHAIR: Jeff Wenstrup, Ph.D., Professor, Anatomy and Neurobiology
Julie Aultman, Ph.D., Interim Dean, College of Graduate Studies
Seth Brownlee, Pharm.D., Sr. Associate Dean for Program Quality and Student Success, COP
Andre Burton, J.D., Vice President, Human Resources and Diversity
Jordan Cinderich, M.Ed., Process Engineer
Sandra Emerick, Ed.D., Sr. Exec. Dir., Academic Affairs and Student Services
Patrick Gallegos, Pharm.D., Chair, University Faculty Council
Allison Hawkes, M.D., Director, Accreditation, College of Medicine
Roderick Ingram Sr., M.B.A., Vice President, Communication and Chief Marketing Officer
Deborah Loyet, M.S., M.A., HLC Liaison Officer
Lacey Madison, M.B.A., Vice President for Strategy and Transformation
Eugene Mowad, M.D., Interim Dean, College of Medicine
Michelle Mulhern, M.P.A., Chief of Staff and Secretary, Board of Trustees
Moses Oyewumi, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Maria Schimer, Esq., General Counsel
Mary Taylor, M.Tax., C.P.A., Vice President, Finance and Operations
Joshua Tidd, M3, Student Trustee
Higher Learning Commission
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500 Chicago, IL 60604
Richard Kasmer, Pharm.D., J.D.
Vice President, Academic Affairs
Deborah Loyet, M.S., M.A.
Executive Director, Institutional Research
HLC Accreditation Liaison Officer
Information related to student complaints is available on the HLC site.
Complaint Process | Student Resources