College’s Commitment to Student Success Cited as Particular Strength
The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) announces that two of its Health Sciences Division programs were recently re-accredited. Both the Associate Nursing Degree and Practical Nursing Certificate programs at CSM have been granted a full eight years of accreditation with the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.
Accreditation is a voluntary, peer-review process that recognizes programs that have met or exceeded a set of standards and criteria for education quality. It is important because it provides an external measure of the caliber of the program. In addition, most graduate schools require that students complete their undergraduate education at an accredited school.
“Receiving full accreditation and being told that we are in compliance with all standards validates the nursing faculty and staff commitment to student success and excellence in nursing education,” said Laura Polk, chair of CSM’s Health Sciences Division. “We know we have an amazing program … but it is great to hear that from an agency that compares programs nationally.”
The accreditation commissioners specifically recognized the strength of CSM’s student support services, writing in their report, “Student support services are extensive on each of the three campuses and reflect a strong commitment by the college and the nursing program to promote student success.”
The accreditation process is demanding and time-consuming, Polk said, as is focuses on continuous improvement. It requires yearly data collection and analysis, writing a self-study, preparing for and participating in the site visit and responding to the site visitor and Evaluation Review Panel reports. “I want to personally thank the nursing faculty and staff for their contributions to the process and their commitment to providing our students with a strong foundation in nursing principles that prepares them for entry in the nursing profession,” Polk said. “Their work was clearly recognized by the commissioners as they affirmed the quality of the CSM nursing programs.”
CSM’s Practical Nursing Certificate program was established in 1975, and initial accreditation was received in 1979. The program has maintained continuous accreditation since 1979 in compliance with all standards. CSM’s Associate Degree in Nursing program was established in 1979, and initial accreditation was received in 1987. That program has maintained continuous accreditation since 1987 in compliance with all standards.