Appeal Scheduled for Nursing Accreditation; How Did We Get Here
By Jacqueline Diaz
Metro Campus Associate Editor
A new reporting structure on how the new interim dean of nursing will report to college officials went into place when May Wykle joined Cuyahoga Community College to lead an unsettled nursing program.
In a recent college-wide email, Belinda Miles, provost and executive vice president of academic and student affairs, announced Wykle, who joined Tri-C June 4, will report directly to Patricia Reid, vice president of health care education initiatives.
“Ms. Reid will provide guidance and direction to Interim Dean Wykle and her team as they continue their focus on serving students through our nursing program,” Miles said in the email. “Her considerable subject matter expertise is a great asset that will strengthen our programming and operations in this high-demand area.”
Back in April, Tri-C’s nursing program accreditation was questioned after a local news article publicized the program’s noncompliance with the National League of Nursing Accreditation Commission. The program is under appeal.
The students that graduated this past spring still graduated from an accredited institution, according to documents obtained by The Voice. The college is operating under “accreditation with conditions,” but that could change depending on the decision of the accreditation commission.
The Ohio Board of Nursing announced it is also planning a follow-up visit due to the accreditation downgrade from the commission.
Some issues that could affect NLNAC’s decision are: 1. Tri-C did not formally announce the change in accreditation which is required by the commission; 2. It cited that the college expanded too fast and still does not have enough teachers possessing master’s degrees; 3. The commission is in the midst of a lawsuit with itself and the National League of Nursing; 4. and lastly, due to the change in accreditation status the commission and state nursing board have scheduled another site visit.
In November of 2009, Tri-C submitted the first of a series of reports to the accreditation board. The board did a follow-up visit in February of 2010. Due to some discrepancies between the report filed by the college and the visit by NLNAC, the commission reported to Tri-C July 2010 that they would be downgraded from “fully accredited” to “accredited with conditions,” and given a deadline of September 2012 to submit a follow-up report. During this time the college was given a full accreditation by the OBN.
Tri-C submitted the follow-up report in September 2012, and in January 2013, NLNAC reviewed the report. The commission denied the follow-up report and in turn denied the college accreditation. In response, Tri-C submitted an appeal to the decision in April 2013. The appeal was accepted. During the appeal process, the nursing program continues to operate under accreditation with conditions.
One of the main concerns held by students is that the change in accreditation and appeal were not announced until April 2013 by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The college quickly responded to the article by sending out an email to the staff and students. Then, the Plain Dealer printed a follow-up article stating that students at Tri-C were upset due to the lack of communication between the administration and students about the accreditation.
Former Nursing Dean Marsha Atkins went on record with the Plain Dealer stating that the change of accreditation was untrue and stated “Cuyahoga Community College was still fully accredited” even though records indicated that the college has been operating under accreditation with conditions since July 2010.
Voice Reporter Lauren Mangan reported on CCCVOICE.COM in April 2013 that course catalogs misrepresented the accreditation status of the college by stating the college was still fully accredited.
The end of April saw a quick turnaround in the way the college began to handle the change in accreditation. Jerry Sue Thornton, who retires as college president the end of June, sent out an email stating that “accreditation retention was a top priority.”
Thornton, along with Atkins and Miles, began a series of meetings to discuss the situation with nursing students on all campuses. The college is expecting another site visit with the OBN but no specific date was released.
The Voice will continue to follow-up with the new administration concerning the upcoming OBN visit and NLNAC appeal decision, and further explore what these decisions mean to the nursing students at the college.