“The achievement of full accreditation is a testament to the outstanding effort and dedication of our students, faculty and staff,” said John R. Raymond, Sr., MD, president and CEO of MCW, who envisioned the creation of the School of Pharmacy in 2014. “Our PharmD graduates will continue to transform healthcare within the state of Wisconsin and beyond through the continuum of discovery and the advancement of innovative pharmacy practice and patient care models to achieve better health.”
ACPE-MCW Community Connection
Yes, there are three levels of accreditation, Pre-accreditation, Accreditation, and Accreditation with Probation.
Pre-accreditation – A newly instituted Doctor of Pharmacy program of a College or School of Pharmacy may be granted one of two pre-accreditation statuses, depending upon its stage of development. In the instance of a newly founded College or School of Pharmacy, the program progresses through both statuses. The standards are the same as those employed for accredited status, however, pre-accreditation involves, in large measure, planning in accord with standards and provision of reasonable assurances for a quality outcome.
- Precandidate – A new program that has no students enrolled but that meets the eligibility criteria for accreditation may be granted Precandidate accreditation status. The granting of Precandidate status indicates that a college or school’s planning for the Doctor of Pharmacy program has taken into account ACPE standards and guidelines and suggests reasonable assurances of moving to the next step, that of Candidate status. Granting of Precandidate status brings no rights or privileges of accreditation. Full public disclosure by the college or school of pharmacy of the terms and conditions of this accreditation status is required.
- Candidate – Following achievement of Precandidate status, and once students have enrolled in a new program, but the program has not had a graduating class, the program may be granted Candidate status. The granting of Candidate status denotes a developmental program that is expected to mature in accord with stated plans and within a defined time period. Reasonable assurances are expected to be provided that the program may become accredited as programmatic experiences are gained, generally, by the time the first class has graduated. Graduates of a class designated as having Candidate status have the same rights and privileges as graduates of an accredited program.
Accreditation – The professional degree program of a college or school of pharmacy is granted accreditation if it has been demonstrated to the satisfaction of ACPE that the program complies with accreditation standards, including the appropriateness of the program’s mission and goals, the adequacy of resources and organization to meet the mission and goals, outcomes which indicate that the mission and goals are being met, and the reasonable assurance of the continued compliance with standards.
Accreditation with Probation – A professional program of a College or School of Pharmacy that has been granted accreditation and is subsequently determined to be in non-compliance with a standard or standards will be given the accreditation status of probation. Due notice of this action, indication of the area(s) of non-compliance, and the time period within which the program is expected to bring itself into compliance with standards (not to exceed two years) are given. Graduates of a program in a probationary status retain all the rights and privileges associated with an accredited program. Probation is not an adverse accreditation action.
ACPE is an autonomous and independent agency whose Board of Directors is derived through the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), and the American Council on Education (ACE).
The Board of Directors then makes their general accreditation decision and issues an Accreditation Actions and Recommendations Report (AAR), which specifies the final assessment for each standard, identify areas to be monitored, and the tentative window of time for the next accreditation site visit.
Beyond decisions concerning the three levels of accreditation, the ACPE Board may also take the following actions:
- Affirmed: An action to “affirm” implies that a previously established accreditation term has been confirmed.
- Continued: An action to “continue” implies that the accreditation term has been extended.
- Probation: A professional degree program of a college or school of pharmacy that has been granted accreditation and is found to be in non-compliance with a standard or standards may be placed on probation as described in ACPE Policies and Procedures 9.1 and 9.2.
The ACPE accreditation process and subsequent compliance benefits all constituents, not just institutions:
To the Boards of Pharmacy, accreditation provides a reliable basis for decision-making with regard to licensure either by examination or reciprocity.
To the public, the values of accreditation include:
- an assurance of external evaluation of the program and a finding that there is conformity to general expectations of the profession;
- identification of programs that have undertaken explicit activities directed at improving the quality of the institution and its professional programs and that are carrying them out successfully; and
- an improvement in the professional services available to the public as accredited programs modify their requirements to reflect changes in knowledge, skills attitudes, abilities and practice.
To students and prospective students, accreditation provides:
- an assurance that the educational activities of an accredited program have been found to be satisfactory and, therefore, meet the needs of the students;
- assistance in the transfer of credits; and
- eligibility for entering the profession by satisfying educational requirements for licensure.
Institutions benefit from accreditation through:
- the stimulus provided for self-evaluation and self-directed program improvement;
- the strengthening of program self-evaluation through the knowledge of a subsequent review or audit and counsel by the evaluation team;
- the enhancement of the reputation of the program because of public regard for accreditation; and
- the use of accreditation in decision-making for the investment of public and private funds.
And finally, accreditation serves the profession of pharmacy by:
- providing a means for practitioners to participate in setting entry requirements for the profession; and
- giving assurances that those practitioners who follow them will be adequately prepared.
Preparation for an ACPE Precandidate, Candidate, and Full Accreditation site visit is normally a nine-month process. The timeline for the upcoming accreditation visit starts after receipt of the Board of Director’s prior accreditation decision and the determination of the next accreditation site visit date. The site visit for the MCW School of Pharmacy normally occurs in the months of April or May.
Nine to Five Months Prior to ACPE Visit:
The Assistant Dean for Curriculum convenes the Self-Study Committee, typically comprised of the School of Pharmacy Governance Committee Chairs (Academic Standing, Admission, Assessment, and Curriculum) and staff from the Office of Academic & Student Affairs. During this meeting, the committee creates a timetable that identifies and assigns work groups for each of the 25 ACPE Standards, the Committee Liaison for each work group, and the deadline by which the work group must complete its initial draft. The Committee also discusses any special monitoring requirements identified in the Accreditation Action and Recommendations report that must be addressed.
After the work group assignments have been made and announced, the Committee Liaison meets with their respective work groups to provide general guidance about the process and answer any preliminary questions. After that, the Committee Liaison is available to meet or consult with the work group as it prepares its section of the accreditation document.
During this period, the Dean receives the following information from ACPE for action:
- Proposed site visit dates; and
- List of site team members for review and approval; and
- Site visit sample itinerary and meeting instructions.
Five to Two Months Prior to ACPE Visit:
The work groups submit their initial drafts by the predetermined deadline. Shortly after the deadline, community meetings are held where presentations on each of the 25 Standards occur. These presentations provide qualitative and quantitative data to support how well the School of Pharmacy is meeting or exceeding each of the Standards. The meetings also provide an opportunity for attendees to ask questions, seek further clarification, and suggest additions to the report that may have been omitted.
Two Months Prior and Immediately Preceding ACPE Visit:
The report editors take the final drafts for every Standard and develop a comprehensive report. The final draft is then reviewed by the Self-Study Committee and final edits are made. The final report, along with any accompanying supporting materials are submitted to the site team members no later than six weeks prior to the scheduled visit date.
The School of Pharmacy holds several update meetings for faculty, staff, preceptors, and students to review program accomplishments and challenges prior to the site visit.
The Self-Study Committee holds a rehearsal meeting with each of the groups or committees that will meet with the site visit team.
The meeting itinerary and other required documents are submitted to ACPE for review by their stated deadlines.
To learn more about the ACPE accreditation process, visit the ACPE accreditation website.