Dr. Camille Reese speaks with community members during a public forum as part of the nursing department accreditation visit.
The road to accreditation for the UNM-Gallup Nursing program began over 2 years ago and passed a major milestone with a visit from the accreditation site review team the last week of February. The site review team, consisting of 3 representatives from the Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing, met with members of the administration, nursing faculty, and finally community representatives in an open public forum. Dr. Camille Reese, chairwoman of the review team, noted that the purpose of the site visit was to “verify, clarify and amplify” a self-study report which was submitted by the nursing program as one of the final steps in the accreditation process. Dr. Reese felt that the self-study was well-written and she expressed her desire to present the program in the best light possible.
The process began nearly two years ago with the preparation of a candidacy application packet. The packet was submitted in the summer of 2013, and candidacy was granted in September of 2013. The next step was the construction of the self-study report which was written collaboratively by the entire faculty and staff of the nursing department. The document was divided into sections with every person taking at least a part of each section. Assistant Professor Robert Galin assisted by compiling all of the sections into one document with a consistent tone. Sally Vink, adjunct faculty member, assisted with document compilation. The large accumulation of documentation supporting the self-study included syllabi, samples of student work, CV’s and transcripts. The arduous task of preparing the self-study was done by the team at the same time they were fulfilling their fulltime teaching and administrative duties.
The visiting team conducted an exit interview with the nursing faculty as the final step of their visit. They will now complete their report and allow the UNM-Gallup nursing program the chance to edit for any errors of fact. From there, the site review team’s recommendations will be submitted for a peer panel review in Atlanta, Georgia in June. Their board of commissioners will make a final determination as to accreditation status in July. For this initial accreditation process the only two options will be “accreditation for 5 years,” or “not accredited.”
The public forum was well-attended by community members, students, parents, UNM-G board members and local nurses, many of whom were alumni of the program. Feedback from the audience was very positive and indicated the strong local need for trained nurses, as well as the importance of having a quality local program available for students. Erik Nourse, nursing program alumni, said that he happened upon the UNM-G nursing program, but it was “the best decision he ever made.” He went on to say that the training he received at UNM-G prepared him for everything he has seen and he plans to continue on with his bachelor’s degree.
Marji Campbell, Nursing Program Director, was optimistic about the results of the site visit and said “The visit went better than I dared to hope it would be. The site visit experience depends so much on the site visitors. All three were fellow nurse educators and they were all collegial and professional. We owe a big thank- you to everyone on campus from the students to the top administrators for helping with the site visit.”
Ms. Campbell went on to say that the site review team was especially impressed with the students, past and present, in the program. Their knowledge, dedication and praise for the program were noted by the site visit team members.
(Written by Marilee Petranovich, Marketing and Communications Officer)