Welcome to the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine’s accreditation website. Here you will find information on the SOM’s road to accreditation through the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) and approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools: Commission on Colleges (SACS COC).
We have established this website to keep the TCU and UNTHSC communities updated throughout the accreditation and approval processes, and we encourage you to visit the site regularly and provide your feedback.
What is accreditation?
In general, accreditation certifies that an educational program meets the requirements and standards of an accrediting body. Requirements and standards typically revolve around program areas such as governance, faculty, curriculum design and delivery, assessment and evaluation, student support services, resources and facilities. Educational programs must show that their program supports the mastery of general educational and professional competencies that are foundational for the next stage of professional training or education.
TCU is accredited by our regional accreditor, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools: Commission on Colleges (SACS COC) and the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine has received preliminary accreditation by the program-specific accreditor, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME).
Why is it important?
While the accreditation process usually entails a lengthy self-study and the development and submission of a large amount of data, it is mainly aimed at answering three important questions.
- Has our education program clearly established a mission and program learning objectives?
- Are the education program’s curriculum and resources organized and adequate to meet its mission and objectives?
- What evidence is available that indicates the program is currently meeting its mission and objectives and is it likely to continue to meet them in the future?
Medical education programs leading to the M.D. degree in the United States and Canada are accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education or LCME. The LCME is the organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit allopathic medical schools in the United States and Canada. The LCME is an independent organization; however, it is uniquely tied to both the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
LCME accreditation is a peer-reviewed study conducted to determine whether a medical education program meets established standards. This quality assurance process is an opportunity for self-study and reflection that can foster improvements to our programs and institutions.
To gain and maintain accreditation, medical education programs offering an MD degree in the United States and Canada must meet the accreditation 12 standards and 94 elements, which can be found in the LCME document Functions and Structure of a Medical School. The goal of these components is to represent the trends, best practices and provide thresholds of performance as medical education evolves. They are not prescriptive, but a framework that allows for interpretation and flexibility in meeting the needs of an institution and ultimately supporting its mission and objectives.
In addition to assuring the quality of an institution’s medical education program, accreditation by LCME establishes eligibility for selected federal grants and programs, including Title VII funding administered by the U.S. Public Health Service. Most state boards of licensure require that U.S. medical schools granting the MD degree be accredited by the LCME as a condition for licensure of their graduates.
Eligibility of U.S. students in MD-granting schools to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) requires LCME accreditation of their school. Graduates of LCME-accredited schools are eligible for residency programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC) is the recognized regional accrediting body in the eleven U.S. Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and in Latin America for those institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degrees. The Commission on Colleges’ Board of Trustees is the representative body of the College Delegate Assembly and is charged with carrying out the accreditation process.
Texas Christian University is currently accredited by SACS COC. To gain or maintain accreditation with the Commission on Colleges, an institution must comply with the standards contained in the Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancementand with the policies and procedures of the Commission on Colleges. The Commission on Colleges applies the requirements of its Principles to all applicant, candidate, and member institutions, regardless of type of institution (public, private for-profit, private not-for-profit).
Texas Christian University will pursue a substantive change in accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools: Commission on Colleges (SACS COC). A substantive change is a significant modification or expansion in the nature and scope of an accredited institution. Large scale changes, such as adding significantly different programs to the academic curriculum or offering a majority of the coursework needed to complete a degree, certificate or diploma on-line, may require written notification as well as advance approval of a prospectus; see the Substantive Change policy for details on due dates and on the content of the prospectus. Written notification of the intent for substantive change was made to the SACS COC in July 2015. The Substantive Change Prospectus was submitted by April 2018. Accreditation leaders at TCU and at the school of medicine have been in regular communication with staff liaisons at SACS COC.
Texas Christian University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degrees. Contact the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Texas Christian University.
TCU submitted its Substantive Change Prospectus to the SACS COC in April 2018. The SACS COC Board of Trustees notified the school of its approval of the program in a letter dated November 8, 2018.
After reviewing the submitted preliminary accreditation survey package, the LCME notified the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine in March 2018 that they were granted a survey site visit. In preparation for this important visit, external consultants conducted a mock site visit with the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine. This was an opportunity to provide just-in-time coaching for participants, particularly those who have not previously participated in a site visit. In addition, the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine prepared an update to the survey package which was submitted to the survey visit team prior to the visit. During this site visit, the LCME survey team met with faculty, students, administrators, representatives of clinical affiliates, and community leaders, who provided or clarified information related to the accreditation elements. Upon completion of the site visit, the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine was officially granted preliminary accreditation from the LCME on October 17, 2018 with no areas of non-compliance which is quite an achievement in the national LCME landscape.
- Launch of LCME Provisional Accreditation.
Timeline for the LCME Provisional Accreditation process to be announced late spring 2019.
SACS COC Information