College of Medicine accreditation leaves some faculty members unhappy with process

The College of Medicine moved one step further toward the goal of opening in 2013, but the process continues to leave some unhappy.

On Wednesday, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education granted preliminary accreditation to the CMU medical school. CMED Dean Ernest Yoder said this is the third step in a five-step process, which could finish in the fall of 2016 with full accreditation from the LCME.

He said with provisional accreditation, the school will welcome its first class in the summer of 2013.

"It's consistent with the timeline and puts us in a good shape to recruit our first class of students and (faculty)," Yoder said. "It's something to rally the faculty and staff around."

His staff will now focus on several other things, he said. One big decision being worked on is CMED's Saginaw campus, which he expects will open in 2015. No official announcements have been made about the building.

"Right now we are engaged in program planning; there will be things to talk about in the summer," he said.

But not all are excited about the decision.

During an LCME team visit in November, several faculty members, including Academic Senate Chairman Jim McDonald, met with LCME officials to express concerns about the state of CMU and CMED.

"There could be a much more transparent communication process about what CMED is going to be and that would clear up a lot of the misunderstanding and the negative feelings," McDonald said.

The team of faculty members that met with LCME officials were not against CMED, but did bring up several issues they thought needed to be addressed, McDonald said. Some were concerned about a lack of transparency in budget decisions regarding CMED, which came to a head when Provost Gary Shapiro announced CMED costs would likely exceed $30 million after initially being set for $25 million over five years.

James Hill, a professor of political science, was also in the meeting and said he's glad CMED got preliminary accreditation.

"I'm happy that the investment has not been lost," he said.

Hill said he was excited for the college when it was announced but wanted to talk to the LCME more about his frustration with the process of making a medical school. He said the lack of transparency and shared governance were issues he thought the LCME team needed to know about and was glad that they sat down to talk.

"I'm upset that this type of process still resulted in a school," he said.

McDonald said the team also talked to LCME officials about the lack of transparency with initial documents about CMED and campus climate.

"(We're) hoping for transparency and good communication," McDonald said. "... I think we're still not getting that."

The news release said the LCME looked for five items while at CMU: governance and administration, curriculum, medical students, faculty and resources.

“We are very pleased that the LCME has granted preliminary accreditation to our medical school,” said University President George Ross in the release. “This is a significant milestone as we strive to create an innovative and highly successful program to help fill imminent needs for physicians and medical education opportunities in our state.”


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