Compliance Certification Report

4.4
Program length is appropriate for each of the institution's educational programs. (Program Length)
√ Compliant
Partially Compliant
Non-Compliant
Narrative:
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston engages in an ongoing process of internal and external program review to ensure the appropriateness of its program length and curricular design. With the exception of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, all degree granting programs at UTMB are independently accredited by national organizations. The Graduate School programs have regularly scheduled reviews.

School of Medicine
The Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the national accrediting body for allopathic medical schools, requires a minimum of 130 weeks of instruction for the MD degree (1). The UTMB School of Medicine curriculum is 164 weeks in length over 3.75 years (2). The School of Medicine underwent its every-eight-year accreditation visit by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) in December 2006 and received notice of continued accreditation for another eight years in June 2007 (3). In addition, internal review of the appropriateness of the medical school curriculum is performed on an ongoing basis by the School of Medicine Curriculum Committee. That committee utilizes both internal and external assessments of students’ knowledge and skills as evidence of the appropriateness of the program, including program length. External measures include the United States Medical Licensing Examinations: Step 1 (administered at the end of the second year), Step 2-Clinical Knowledge, and Step 2-Clinical Skills (the latter two are administered during the fourth year).

School of Nursing
Baccalaureate The Board of Nurse Examiners for the State of Texas requires at least the equivalent of two academic years and not more than four calendar years for the professional nursing degree (4). The UTMB School of Nursing pre-licensure baccalaureate degree program, which has been approved by Board of Nurse Examiners for Texas, (5) requires 61 upper-division credits and is two academic years in length. In total, 120 credit hours are required for the baccalaureate degree (6), a number consistent with credit hours required for the baccalaureate degree in the State of Texas.

UTMB also offers an accelerated pre-licensure program that requires 60 upper-division credits covered within a 12 month (3 semester) time frame (7). The intensity of this program is designed to allow students with undergraduate or graduate degrees in other fields to gain the knowledge and skills of the professional nurse in an abbreviated time and to allow them to move quickly on to higher degrees.

Masters The masters program is guided by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Essentials of Masters Education for Advanced Practice Nursing and the specialty track certifying body (8). Further, all specialty tracks are approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). In general a fulltime program of study in the masters program is 39-49 credits, depending on the program, and is 4-5 semesters in length (9). Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for specialty board certification.

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is the national accrediting body for baccalaureate and masters programs in nursing. The UTMB programs were reaccredited for 10 years (until 2015) in April 2005 (10).

School of Allied Health Sciences
The School of Allied Health Sciences five programs are reviewed by national accreditation agencies for five individual programs. The length of the five programs – Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Physician Assistant, and Respiratory Care –meets the essentials of the different accrediting bodies and is approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The Occupational Therapy program was reviewed in 2004 by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (11) and the Physical Therapy program was reviewed by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education in 2005 (12). The Clinical Laboratory Sciences program was reviewed in 2003 by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (13), and the Physician Assistant program was reviewed in 2002 by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (14). The Respiratory Care program was reviewed in 2006 by the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care in Collaboration with the commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (15).

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) programs’ average time-to-degree (time from matriculation to graduation) for doctoral students is 5.4 years. This average time compares favorably to the national average of 7.1 years in the life sciences (16).

The maximum time for progression through all degree programs in GSBS is set forth in the school’s by-laws which are enforced by the faculty, The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the university president and the Graduate School dean (17). The master’s degree programs are structured to be completed in two years. The doctoral programs typically consist of 1.5 to 2 years of formal course work and 3 to 4 years of research and completion of the final dissertation. Absolute time limits for completion of the master’s is four years from time of admission (18) and five years for the doctorate from admission to candidacy (19).

The Graduate School program curricula (new and substantially modified programs) are reviewed internally on a regular basis by the GSBS Curriculum Committee and, in addition, each program is reviewed every five years by the GSBS Program Review Committee (20). This process entails a self-study report conducted by the GSBS Program Review Committee members and off-campus site visitors and other GSBS faculty members. The GSBS Program review Committee consists of a chair appointed by the dean of the Graduate School, one member from each graduate program appointed by the program directors, and the dean and staff as ex-officio members.
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Source
1
The Liaison Committee on Medical Education, II. Educational Program, B. Structure and General Design, p. 2)
http://www.lcme.org/functions2006june.pdf
2
UTMB Program Length
http://meded.utmb.edu/UTMB%20School%20of%20Medicine%20Academic%20Course%20Calendar%202006-2007%20REV060206_.pdf
3
The Liaison Committee on Medical Education Final Report of the Survey of The University of Texas Medical School at Galveston
Hard copy located in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness
4
Texas Board of Nurse Examiners: Texas Administrative Code, Title 22, Part 11; Chapter 215, Section 215.9, Program of Study
http://info.sos.state.tx.us/pls/pub/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=22&pt=11&ch=215&rl=9
5
Professional Nursing Education: Programs Approved by Board of Nurse Examiners for the State of Texas
ftp://www.bne.state.tx.us/rnschools.pdf
6
Documentation showing program length at UTMB School of Nursing BSN Pre-licensure Graduation Requirements
http://www.son.utmb.edu/academic_programs/baccalaureate/BSN_general1.asp
7
UTMB School of Nursing BSN accelerated curriculum
http://www.son.utmb.edu/academic_programs/baccalaureate/BSNPROGRAM.pdf
8
Criteria for Evaluation of Nurse Practitioner Programs, Criterion III D, p.16
http://www.nonpf.com/evalcriteria2002.pdf
9
School of Nursing Masters Program
http://www.son.utmb.edu/academic_programs/masters/masters_prog.pdf
10
School of Nursing Commission Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) Accreditation
http://www.aacn.nche.edu/CCNE/reports/rptAccreditedPrograms.asp?state=TX&sFullName=Texas
11
Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education Criteria used in determining program length
http://aota.org/nonmembers/area13/links/LINK31.asp
12
Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education: Criteria used in determining program length, Evaluation Criteria for PT Programs, p. B-iv
http://www.apta.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=PT_Programs1&Template=/TaggedPage/TaggedPageDisplay.cfm&TPLID=132&ContentID=21559
13
National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences: Criteria used in determining program length
http://www.naacls.org/PDFviewer.asp?mainUrl=/docs/standards_cls-mt.pdf
14
Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant: Criteria used in determining program length
http://www.arc-pa.org/Standards/standards.html
15
Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care in collaboration: Criteria used in determining program length
http://www.coarc.com/documents/new/CAAHEP-CoARC%202003%20Standards.doc
16
Comparison to National Average Time to Graduation in life sciences: Survey of Earned Doctorates, 2005, Years in Graduate School, p. 23
http://www.norc.org/NR/rdonlyres/2E87F80C-82F6-4E26-9F78-CA4C6E0B79C6/0/sed2005.pdf
17
UTMB Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Bylaws, Time for Progression through all degree programs, Admission, Retention, and Graduation Requirements, Time Limits, p. 35
http://www.gsbs.utmb.edu/bylaws.pdf
18
UTMB Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Bylaws, Section 4.6113 Time Limits for PhD, p. 34
http://gsbs.utmb.edu/bylaws.pdf
19
UTMB Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Bylaws, Section 4.6213 Time Limits for Master’s Degree, p. 38
http://gsbs.utmb.edu/bylaws.pdf
20
UTMB Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences By-Laws, Section 2, Standing Committee, C. Program Review, p. 13
http://gsbs.utmb.edu/bylaws.pdf