Carle Illinois College of Medicine receives provisional accreditation


Photo Courtesy of Brian_Stauffe

The Carle Illinois College of Medicine’s first class poses for a group photo in front of the University’s Alma Mater on July 3, 2018. The college recently received provisional accreditation for the quality of their education.

By Alexandra Gergova, Staff Writer

Following an in-depth process that included a virtual survey visit due to COVID-19 with the Liaison Committee on Medical Education in August, the Carle Illinois College of Medicine received provisional accreditation this February, which served as a testament to the quality of the education provided, according to Iuliana Balascuta, assistant dean for accreditation and assessment at Carle Illinois. 

Accreditation is a process with various stages in which medical schools across the United States and Canada must demonstrate compliance with standards and elements delineated by the LCME, which is the accrediting body. 

“Provisional accreditation is really a stamp of quality that our institution is on track to continue to provide a quality of education for all our students,” Balascuta said. “And it’s also a step closer to achieving full accreditation.”

According to the LCME website, the twelve standards consist of topics ranging from Medical Student Health Services, Personal Counseling and Financial Aid Services to Curricular Content. There are additionally 93 total elements, which are components of the standards. 

In order for a medical school to receive provisional accreditation, it must demonstrate compliance with all 12 of the standards and 49 of the 93 elements assessed, according to Balascuta. In 2017, Carle Illinois received preliminary accreditation and had to demonstrate compliance with all 12 standards and all 93 elements. 

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“[For provisional accreditation] we were responsible for fewer elements within the standards, but we still had to be in compliance with the entire standard,” Balascuta said. 

In order to receive provisional accreditation, Carle Illinois was required to submit a Data Collection Instrument, which was roughly 800 pages- 1,000 pages including appendices. 

Additionally, Carle Illinois students had to submit an Independent Student Analysis, which is completed entirely independently by the students without any influence from faculty and staff. 

“It’s roughly 40 questions mandated by the LCME, which again is the accreditor,” Balascuta said. “Students are asked questions regarding their satisfaction with educational programs, with student affairs, with faculty affairs, with academic affairs and with research.”

Prior to analyzing and reflecting, Carle Illinois must also compose a Self-study report. Following the gathering of all this data, Carle Illinois analyzes the data and reflects on potential improvements. A summary is then written and submitted to the LCME. 

After the LCME has received and reviewed all these documents, a visiting team traditionally visits the campus to speak with students, faculty and staff in order to make a final verdict regarding accreditation. However, the survey visit occurred over Zoom last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

About 15 Carle Illinois students met with three representatives to discuss topics ranging from how Carle is addressing student wellness to how the engineering-enthused curriculum elevates students’ medical studies and their abilities to solve problems, according to Bailey Macinnis, a second-year student at Carle Illinois. 

“Our school has a great Student Affairs staff and is very focused on making sure that we are not only happy and healthy in our careers but happy and healthy in our lives and in personal matters as well,” Macinnis said. “We also talked about how exactly engineering fits into our curriculum and specifically elaborating that the engineering is not in any way getting in the way of our medical education.”

Carle Illinois is now preparing for the full accreditation visit, which is anticipated to tentatively occur in 2022 with a verdict made in February of 2023. Because accreditation is an ongoing process, it supports consistent improvement. 

“You want to continue to improve,” Balascuta said. “You want to continue to make sure that you’re providing a high quality of education to your students because, again, people’s lives depend on our graduates or graduating medical doctors.”

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