by Maribeth L. Flaws, Ph.D., MLS(ASCP)CM SM, SI
Winter seems to be losing its hold at least in the Chicago area. The song birds are back and the creeping charlie is starting to sprout showing that there really are just two seasons: winter and pulling weeds!
I am honored to serve as the 20th President of the Board of Directors. These are exciting times for the organization and here are just a few reasons why:
- The Doctorate in Clinical Laboratory Science (DCLS) program at the University of Texas Medical Branch was the first to be granted Initial Accreditation;
- We have made progress on the initiatives laid out in our strategic plan that was adopted last year including improved and more timely communications and recognition of our volunteers;
- Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) initiatives will be added to the strategic plan;
- The CEO Search Committee is doing due diligence in finding the next NAACLS CEO replacing Dr. Dianne Cearlock who is retiring after 16 years of service at the helm of the NAACLS office;
- The Future and Emerging Professions Task Force has been busy investigating other educational programs such as categorical microbiology certificate programs that may fit under the NAACLS “umbrella” to be newly accredited;
- NAACLS will no longer “approve” programs. The phlebotomy and clinical assistant programs will be “accredited” similarly to all other programs;
- It’s time to review our current standards to determine if they should be revised and how; and
- NAACLS is up for re-recognition by the Council for Higher Education Accreditors (CHEA) and is currently writing a self-study demonstrating our compliance with their standards.
With regards to CHEA, they just revised their standards and in order to comply, NAACLS has to change a few processes that are intended to increase the transparency of program outcomes to prospective students. Briefly they are:
- Program outcomes must be on the program homepage or one-click from the homepage for programs with webpages. The link must be clearly identified as leading to program outcomes. In addition, program outcomes must include a context. For example, you cannot simply state that 5 students passed the certification examination, you must say that 5 of 7 students passed (71%); and
- NAACLS will begin publishing the full award letter for programs on its webpage starting July 1st. Program directors will receive their award letter prior to being published. Again, this is required by CHEA in the interest of prospective students being able to make informed choices.
To our volunteers without whom NAACLS would cease operating: THANK YOU! They include 150 people who completed self-study reviews and/or site visits in 2021, 38 members of our review committees who read self-study and site visit reports, progress reports and 5-year interim reports, and the 13 members of the Board of Directors who make accreditation decisions and ensure that NAACLS is operating according to its Mission, Vision, Values, By-Laws and Policies and Procedures. Finally, NAACLS awarded its first Distinguished Service Award to Dr. Shauna Anderson in 2021 for her many years of service at all levels including as President of the BOD! Thank you to everyone!
As you can see NAACLS is a strong and vibrant organization and I am honored to serve alongside its dedicated volunteers and staff.