inPractice - Summer 2017 - 7

"Mary Grace has a rare combination
of vision, intellect, drive and the
heart of a servant leader. As a result,
she created the vision for PA College,
developed the strategy to achieve the
vision, persevered to see the vision
carried out, and energized others to
join her in the journey. We have been
blessed to have Mary Grace as a
leader in the Lancaster community."
- Mike Van Belle, first Chair of the
Board of Trustees for PA College

and Healthsystem
Association of
Pennsylvania and
worked with thenGovernor Schweiker
to change the Nurse
Practice Act to
require the Board
of Nursing to work
with institutions
in transition. As a
result, even though
the College was
operational in
2002, the nursing
school was run as
an independent
institution until the
regulations changed
in 2005.




ollowing approval for
Middle States candidacy,
the next step is to
complete a self-study for initial
Middle States accreditation.
The self-study involves a deep
and thorough examination
of the programs, policies and
services of the College and
how well they align with the
College's mission and goals, as
well as identifying strengths
and challenges of the College.
"We asked to go to self-study
right away, and they said it
doesn't work that way and that
we need to take a few years
to reflect on and evaluate our
programs - not realizing as
a health sciences institution,
we already had to do that
for our clinical programs."
So, President Simcox invited
Middle State representatives
to the College for a visit, and
by 11 a.m. that morning, the
representatives agreed that the
College was ready to complete
its first self-study.


nce the College received approval from the Board of Education, it was
time to again reach out to Middle States to begin the accreditation
process. In this case, time was of the essence, because the College was
set to grant its first degrees in 2004 and needed to at least be approved
by Middle States as a candidate for accreditation by that time. "Usually,
institutions work toward candidacy status for five years or so, but we did
not have that kind of timeline. So, we worked closely with our Middle
States liaison and within a year, we had candidacy status." Not only does
Middle States candidacy require a detailed application, it also involves a
self-analysis, site visit, and thorough Commission review.



ecause the College had already laid
so much of the groundwork for
a successful self-study, the entire
process moved extremely quickly, and PA
College was officially accredited by Middle
States in 2006. "I don't know if other
colleges have moved through the process
as quickly as we did, but we certainly did
it with record speed. And in fact, Middle
States rewrote the self-study regulations
to allow for programs that could move
through the process more quickly, and
we helped them write it because we were
the ones who had gone through it." The
College completed additional self-studies
in the following years to maintain Middle
States accreditation, and continues to
receive high accolades with each review.
SUMMER 2017|inPractice 7


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