Oceania University of Medicine’s Accreditation reaffirmed
APIA: One year after granting formal accreditation to the Apia based Oceania University of Medicine, the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) has reaffirmed OUM’s accreditation, following an interim review of the changes the University made during 2011.
“An accredited institution which undergoes substantive changes must notify its accrediting body, and we invited PAASCU to revisit OUM to ensure that those changes met its quality measures,” says Taffy Gould, Interim Vice Chancellor, Chair of the OUM Council, and founder of the University.
Earlier this year, the University made some changes to its curriculum including a new online Introduction to Medicine course, the addition of basic science modules to give students more exposure to the basic sciences, and its examination practices. In addition, some faculty members and administrators left the University, and new staff people were hired. In June, OUM invited PAASCU to review the changes.
In late October, a team of two of the site visitors who reviewed OUM in 2009 and 2010 as well as PAASCU’s executive director, met in Baltimore, Maryland (USA) with University officials, faculty, and students to evaluate the changes and to make recommendations. The PAASCU team was in Washington, DC, to make a presentation to the United States’ National Committee for Foreign Medical Education Accreditation (NCFMEA) immediately prior to the meeting with OUM.
Four Areas Reviewed
The reviewers—a dean and a retired administrator of medical schools in the Philippines—reviewed four of PAASCU’s eight focus areas: Faculty, Curriculum & Instruction, Administration, and Students.
The team found that OUM’s faculty remains of high quality and that its overseas specialists program continues to attract top people to teach students and support faculty.
The additional basic science material in the online Introduction to Medicine course and the e-Foundation Sciences modules strengthen the curriculum, according to the accreditation team, in addition to continuous assessment of student performance via weekly quizzes.
The University’s senior management team has been strengthened with the inclusion of seven medical doctors, and the Academic Board has been reconstituted to be a more effective advisor on academic matters to the OUM Council.
Students welcomed the changes and are generally satisfied with the direction of the University, according to a student survey conducted by the University and the team’s personal interviews with students.
“OUM provided us with excellent documentation to support the changes as well as access to faculty, staff, and students to confirm that high quality measures have been maintained,” says Concepcion Pijano, PAASCU’s Executive Director.
Recommendations included reconstitution of the University’s Faculty Development Unit, the addition of courses in medical jurisprudence and ethics, and more definition of OUM’s academic advising program.
PAASCU’s focus areas not reviewed in this interim round were Research, Clinical Teaching Sites, the Library, and Facilities, though all areas will be reviewed during PAASCU’s regularly scheduled accreditation visit in 2013.
Benefits of Accreditation
When it was accredited last year, OUM became the first accredited medical school in the South Pacific Island nations. Accreditation makes OUM eligible to compete for education and research grants from international organizations. In addition, philanthropic foundations offering student scholarships frequently require recipients to attend an accredited institution.
For students and faculty, accreditation demonstrates that OUM has met rigorous international standards, providing confidence that OUM is comparable to well-established medical schools.
Founded in 1957, PAASCU is a service organization that accredits academic programs to meet standards of quality education. Since 1991, PAASCU has been a full member of the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education, which is composed of 200 accrediting agencies in more than 90 different countries. PAASCU also is a founding member of the Asia-Pacific Quality Network. PAASCU has linkages with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, which is a private, nonprofit national organization that coordinates accreditation activity in the United States, as well as with the NCFMEA.
Located on the grounds of the National Hospital Complex in Apia, Samoa, Oceania University of Medicine, which offers MD and MBBS degrees to its graduates, has a current student body of approximately 140 from nine countries.
Graduates are receiving their post-graduate residency and internship specialty training at teaching hospitals in Australia, Samoa, and the United States. OUM is accredited by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities, listed in the World Health Organization’s World Directory of Medical Schools, and recognized by the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.
For more information about OUM, visit www.oum.edu.ws.
Editor’s Note: Media needing more information should contact Chris Dudley at email@example.com or +1-305-456-1625.