College embarked on two-year Self-Study Process in academic effectiveness

Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences, central Pennsylvania’s preeminent educational institution for the health care field, has earned renewed accreditation status by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Additionally, PA College received 12 commendations for the quality of its graduates, its health and wellness programming, the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Center for Excellence in Practice, and the new Health Care Core Curriculum.

Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences was awarded initial accreditation from MSCHE in 2006, and continued accreditation in 2011. In 2019, the college embarked on another accreditation journey by participating in the agency’s self-study process. The multi-year process consists of two interrelated phases—a self-study conducted by an institution and peer review conducted by an evaluation team.

MSCHE is a voluntary, non-governmental, membership association that defines, maintains, and promotes educational excellence across institutions in the Mid-Atlantic region. Recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, it serves as an accrediting agency and operates by conducting institutional reviews every eight years.

“The self-study process brought everyone at the college together to evaluate the effectiveness of our programs to prepare the next generation of Health Science professionals,” said Penni Longenecker, Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness at Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. “It allowed us to grow, learn, and celebrate the importance of the MSCHE reaccreditation journey. We’re excited to have earned the renewed accreditation and the recognition of excellence for our programs and the quality of PA College’s educational experience.”

During phase one of the self-study, PA College conducted an in-depth analysis of its mission, goals, ethics, integrity, design, and delivery of student learning experiences, in addition to its educational effectiveness and need for institutional improvement. Pennsylvania College of Health Science’s report included more than 200 pieces of supportive evidence on its educational effectiveness and was culminated over the course of two years.

Following, the MSCHE peer reviewing group conducted an evaluation based on the Commission’s standards for accreditation, requirements of affiliation, policies and procedures, and federal compliance requirements. The peer review team consists of individuals from similar colleges and universities, which conducted a virtual site visit that included interviews with current students, alumni, board members, faculty, and staff.

“We’re proud of our recent, successful re-accreditation visit and meeting the compliance with all seven standards and 50 requirements of affiliation,” said Dr. Mary Grace Simcox, President of Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. “As PA College continues to evolve to meet the complex needs of health sciences professions, this re-accreditation represents our commitment to continued excellence and marks this institution as the pinnacle of health care education in our region.”

PA College will embark on the next scheduled accreditation visit in 2028-2029.

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Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences, central Pennsylvania’s preeminent educational institution for the health care field, announced a new Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Education beginning in the Fall 2021 semester.

Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences’ 15 credit course program, designed for nurses who already hold a Master of Science in Nursing, provides cutting-edge educational theory in clinical and adult learning, including curriculum design, teaching strategies and assessment. The program includes a 120-hour applied practice experience in the academic setting, that may be held on the PA College campus.

“Whether working in the academic setting to prepare the next generation of nurses or serving in a clinical role to share the latest advances of the profession, nurse educators are an essential part of the health care landscape,” said Dr. Rita Wise, Program Director of Masters in Nursing Administration and Masters of Nursing Education programs at Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. “This new program at PA College helps meet the rapidly growing demand for nurse leaders.”

The program can be completed in one year over three or four semesters and courses are can be taken in any order (with the exception of NUR 632, which must be taken last.) The curriculum also includes a doctoral-level course, offering a steppingstone to a terminal degree, should a student decide to pursue a doctorate. Applicants must hold a Master’s degree in nursing from an accredited institution, as well as a current RN license in the state where their clinical practice will occur.

“PA College is excited to launch this new program for our students. We recognize the importance and responsibility for helping students develop as nurses, while integrating the values and behaviors expected of those who fulfill that role,” said Dr. Cheryl Grab, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences’ Dean of Nursing. “This is a great next step for nurses who are looking to educate the next generation of nurses, influence quality of patient care, and gain autonomy in their career.”

Recognizing the importance and responsibility for helping students develop as nurses and integrating the values and behaviors expected of those who fulfill that role, we are excited to launch this new program.”

PA College is currently accepting applications for this program for the Fall 2021 semester. To learn more about the new Post-Master of Science Certificate in Nursing Education, click here.

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Respiratory Care Associate Degree boasts 97 percent job placement rate, as graduates achieve educational and professional success

Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences, the region’s preeminent institution for the health care field, has received the Distinguished Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) Credentialing Success Award from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) for its Respiratory Care program.

For the second year in a row, the College received this award in recognition of its success in preparing its Respiratory Care students to achieve the highest educational and professional aspirations. The award is presented as part of the CoARC’s continued efforts to value the RRT credential as a standard of professional achievement.

The award is based on a rolling three-year average of things like test scores, retention, and student/employer satisfaction.

“This past year in particular has shined a light on the critical and integral work of respiratory therapist in our communities and healthcare system for the best possible outcomes for patients,” said Jim Christie, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences Respiratory Care Program Chair. “PA College’s Respiratory Care Program teaches those future healthcare workers the important interactive, hands-on experiences and interdisciplinary exercises that model the dynamics of a hospital, and real-life skills development through our clinical affiliates.”

Graduates awarded a Respiratory Care Associate Degree maintain a 97 percent placement rate. The current national placement rate is 87 percent. Program gradates also hold a 100 percent employer satisfaction rate and a 100 percent RRT credentialing success rate.

“We are honored to see our program recognized for our students’ success and outcomes and dedication to high-quality education, especially in a field that is so critical,” said Mary Grace Simcox, PhD, President of Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. “This award is a testament to our faculty, students and graduates for meeting these rigorous criteria, as we collectively work toward training the future or successful, highly skilled registered respiratory therapists.”

PA College was recognized by the CoARC board of directors and awarded the distinguished honor by exceeding the following criteria:

  1. Have three or more years of outcomes data;
  2. Hold accreditation without a progress report;
  3. Maintains documented RRT credentialing success of 90 percent or above, and
  4. Meet or exceed established CoARC thresholds for CRT credentialing success and retention.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for respiratory therapists is $61,330. Employment demand for respiratory therapists is projected to grow 21 percent through 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. The COVID-19 pandemic has created an even greater need for licensed, skilled respiratory therapists to provide critical care for patients with severe pulmonary conditions caused by the virus.

For more information about Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences and the Respiratory Care Associate Degree, click here.

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