Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) Accreditation for the
University of Maryland College Park School of Public Health
The School of Public Health began the Council on Education for Public Health accreditation process for the first time in Spring 2007. The Council examined the school based on 27 criteria to establish our eligibility for accreditation in October 2010. In June 2010, we were accredited for five years - the maximum amount of time possible. The following information is a record of the accreditation process.
Evoution of the School of Public Health
Since our beginning as the Department of Physical Culture in 1898, the College has been committed to promoting the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities through education, research, policy and practice. As the College has grown over the past century (explore our history here), we have made major contributions to the University of Maryland, the State of Maryland, and the nation. However, recent threats to our nation's health and security underscore the need for superior public health programs to train the future public health workforce, assess the health of individuals and their environments, and develop programs and policies that help our citizens to lead healthier lives.
In the last 150 years it has become clear that some of the greatest gains in both longevity and quality of life have come from efforts at health protection and health promotion. There is now consensus that lifestyle choices (such as tobacco and alcohol use and sedentary lifestyle), public policy, and environmental exposures can be significant threats to the health of populations. Heart disease, cancer, and other diseases represent the expression of the results of such lifestyle choices and environmental exposures. The comprehensive behavioral, social, and policy strengths of our College and University position us to be a leader in the new public health, focused on health promotion and improved quality of life. Building on our tradition of excellence in public and community health, kinesiology, and family studies, in 2005 the College of Health and Human Performance began the process of reorganization to become the first School of Public Health at a public university in the Mid-Atlantic region. In addition to enabling us to better address the University's Mission and Goals, the 2004 Maryland State Plan for Postsecondary Education, and the national shortage of well-trained public health personnel, this reorganization will also allow us to enhance our graduate and undergraduate programs, increase our interdisciplinary research, broaden our community outreach, diversify our faculty and student body, and foster meaningful partnerships with the government, non-profit, and private sectors.
Public Health is "the science of protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and research for disease and injury prevention" (Association of Schools of Public Health; to learn more about public health visit "What is Public Health?"). We are seeking accreditation as a School of Public Health from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), an independent agency recognized by the US Department of Education to accredit schools of public health and certain public health programs offered in settings other than schools of public health. Attaining CEPH accreditation for our School of Public Health is both an exciting and critical step in the on going evolution of our College as we continue to promote and protect the health and well-being of citizens of Maryland, the nation, and the world through interdisciplinary education, research, public policy, and practice.
Why is Accreditation Important to Us?
As with other disciplines, colleges and institutions, accreditation status serves multiple purposes for a number of constituents, ranging from students and faculty to university administrators, from prospective employers to prospective funders. The following are only a few of the many advantages of accreditation.
- Accreditation provides assurance that the school and programs have been evaluated, that minimum standards of quality education in the profession are met, and that graduates leave with the same base knowledge and competencies as graduates of other accredited schools and programs.
- Accreditation promotes on-going self-evaluation against established benchmarks for measuring the quality of the school and programs. Such organizational self-evaluation enables us to identify our strengths, weaknesses and opportunities, resulting in better assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all of our instructional, research and services programs.
- Accreditation enhances the national reputation of a school or program, represents peer recognition, and advances the health, safety and welfare of society by assuring competent public health professionals.
- Accreditation demonstrates a school or program's commitment to continued self-evaluation and improvement, provides an effective system for accountability, provides assurance that the curricula cover essential skills and knowledge needed for today's jobs, and serves as basis for determining eligibility for federal and other public funding.
The core of our accreditation process is a self-study. Our self-study will reflect a thorough review of the entire School of Public Health, organized into 4 major categories: The School of Public Health; Instructional Programs; Creation, Application and Advancement of Knowledge; and Faculty, Staff and Students. Each criterion for accreditation will address issues of policy, performance and assessment in relation to how the school meets the particular standard. As defined by CEPH, the self-study is an "explicit process for evaluating and monitoring [the proposed school's] overall efforts against its mission, goals and objectives; for assessing the school's effectiveness in serving its various constituencies; and for planning to achieve its mission in the future." Conducting this self-study requires that we undertake "systematic, broad-based and integrated evaluation of [our] activities."
CEPH accreditation will be dependent upon the quality of both our product and our process, and requires that we examine everything from our mission, goals, organization and evaluation to our governance and resources, instruction and degree programs, and contributions to research, service and workforce development.
We Need Your Help!
A rigorous and successful self-study will engage the faculty, students, staff, alumni and community members as active participants to help develop our self-study process approach, craft the self-study documents, and participate in meetings with site visitors from CEPH. Throughout this process you can find more information about the CEPH criteria and review our self-study using the links on the left-hand side of this page. Check back to our website, read our newsletters, and be on the lookout for additional information about the accreditation process and how you can get involved.
We look forward to working with you as we continue to grow and evolve, and I invite you to contact us with any questions, concerns, or ideas about our self-study or how we can continue to promote and protect the health and well-being of citizens of Maryland, the nation, and the world.
Robert S. Gold, PhD, DrPH, FASHA, FAAHB
School of Public Health