UAMS Reaccredited 10 Years by Higher Learning Commission

By ChaseYavondaC

The Higher Learning Commission is the regional accrediting body for higher education institutions. Accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission is important to UAMS for many reasons. It enables students to transfer credits and degrees to other accredited colleges and universities. Many organizations that offer professional licensure require graduates come from accredited institutions. Accreditation is also required for students to receive federal financial aid.

UAMS is accredited under a process that includes comprehensive evaluations at the four- and 10-year mark, with the 10-year evaluation determining its reaccreditation status. Its reaccreditation is effective through 2027.

The process includes submission of thousands of pages of documentation on the part of the institution; a federal compliance review; surveys of students, faculty and staff; and an on-site peer review visit, which was conducted in April.

“As Arkansas’ only comprehensive academic health center, it’s critical for us to provide the highest quality health education,” said UAMS Interim Chancellor Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D. “Achieving accreditation standards like these show that we are delivering on this promise to the state and meeting our mission to educate tomorrow’s doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals.”

Gardner credited campuswide participation for contributing to the success of UAMS’ application. Students and staff responded to the necessary surveys and attended events as part of the peer review.

“When the review team visited, they held 17 meetings with 457 faculty, staff, students and administrators. The people involved worked for 15 months to prepare for that visit, which we passed with flying colors,” Gardner said. “I would like to thank everyone for their participation and hard work.”

Tim Hill, UAMS Health System chief operating officer; Bob Bishop, vice chancellor for Institutional Compliance; Kevin Ryan, associate dean in the College of Public Health; Susan Long, associate dean in the College of Health Professions; and Bill Bowes, chief financial officer, chaired committees to develop key pieces of the documentation submitted to the commission. In addition to Gardner, the process was led by Associate Provost Elizabeth Bard and Program Manager Jeffrey DeSantis.

“It’s a really inclusive process,” DeSantis said. “We reach out to all areas of the university and also many areas of the state to try to get a good assessment of where we are as an institution. Luckily here at UAMS, we have outstanding programs, faculty and students, so it makes the process both revealing and rewarding.”

The formal vote for reaccreditation was taken on Aug. 1 by the Higher Learning Commission’s Institutional Actions Council.

The Higher Learning commission accredits institutions in 19 states, mostly in the Midwest and South. It is one of six regional accrediting associations in the United States.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.