By Marwa Kotb.
“Higher education accreditation is a type of quality assurance process under which services and operations of post-secondary educational institutions or programs are evaluated by an external body to determine if applicable standards are met. If they are met, accredited status is granted by the agency” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higher_education_accreditation). The significant benefits of the accreditation process are that it helps institutions to set goals for continuous self-improvement, assists students determine the acceptable institutions for enrollment and signals to employers if graduates had met jobs’ qualifications (Council for Higher Education Accreditation, 2010).
The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) is responsible of accrediting medical schools in Canada. Examining some of the important standards and elements of a program evaluation, they include dean’s qualifications, sufficiency of administrative and faculty staff, student and patient safety, university policies, library resources, faculty preparation and productivity, educational resources and infrastructure, curricular design and objectives, uniform system of formative and summative medical student assessment and protects, conduct for the faculty-student relationship, student clinical learning experiences, and students’ selection and progress. (CACMS, 2014, March).
A shocking news hit the headlines that McGill’s University medical school which is one of the best and has been ranked No. 1 on Maclean’s magazine’s list of universities offering MD programs (Brown, 2014, October 30) was “put on probation for the first time and at risk of losing its accreditation” (Rukavina, 2015, June 17). The decision was taken by the committee of AFCM after their two days inspection that took place on February 2015. The agency “found the school deficient in 24 of 132 accreditation standards” (Moore, 2015, June). Based on the consolidated letter sent by CACMS (Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools)and LCME (Liaison Committee on Medical Education) agencies to the school, some of the administrative deficiencies were that the school provides limited library hours and Wi-Fi access, final grades take long time to be revealed, and there were “a frequent number of violations that occurred in the school’s workload policy in all rotations but psychiatry and family medicine” (Moore, 2015, June). During the visit some students reported to the inspectors that staff cannot reach at times when they are needed. Based on the Canadian Graduation Questionnaire, students reported they are not receiving sufficient instruction in women’s health and family and domestic violence (Ertekin, 2015, July 8).
The university next visit is on 2017, and by the time all issues must have been addressed and resolved or it will lose its accreditation (Rukavina, 2015, June 17). Dr. David Eidelman, Dean of Medicine & Vice-Principal of Health Affairs commented on the tragic news that most of the shortcomings found by inspectors were related to inadequate documentation and that they were running two different curriculums at the same time (Rukavina, 2015, June 17). The medical school started the Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) accreditation action plan right after the incident. In February 2016 the plan was approved by CACMS, and the institute promised to continue exhibit all the efforts required to regain back its accreditation (McGill, 2016, April 12).
Browne.R.(2014, October 30).The 2015 Maclean’s University Rankings. Maclean’s. Retrieved from http://www.macleans.ca/education/unirankings/introducing-the-2015-macleans-university-rankings/
Council for Higher Education Accreditation.(2010, June). The Value of Accreditation. Retrieved from http://www.chea.org/pdf/Value%20of%20US%20Accreditation%2006.29.2010_buttons.pdf
Ertekin.C.(2015, July 8).McGill medicine program put on probation:Report cites inadequate instruction in women’s health, family and domestic violence.McGill Daily. Retrieved from http://www.mcgilldaily.com/2015/07/mcgill-medicine-program-put-on-probation/
McGill University.(2016,April 12).Going forward. Retrieved from https://www.mcgill.ca/medicine/about/our-vision-mission-values/update-ugme-accreditation.
Moore.D.(2015, June 18).McGill med school put on probation. Yahoo News. Retrieved from https://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/dailybrew/mcgill-med-school-put-on-probation-183017394.html
Rukavina.S.(2015, June 17).McGill’s medical school put on probation by accrediting body:Association of medicine faculties found undergraduate program failed to meet 24 of 132 required standards.CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/mcgill-s-medical-school-put-on-probation-by-accrediting-body-1.3117241