31 programs getting a checkup

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Story by Jessica BostickAssistant News Editor

Thirty-one of Murray State’s academic programs across four colleges are up for review as part of the reaccreditation process during the 2015-16 academic year.

“Accreditation of the academic preparation programs provides assurance job candidates have received an education that includes the essential knowledge and skills needed for the work setting,” said Kelly Kleinhans, academic director of the center for communication disorders in the College of Education and Human Services, which is one of the 31 programs up for review this year.

Those programs will be reviewed by the accreditation organization that oversees that area of study.

College of Education and Human Services: 23 programs

Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering & Technology: 3 programs

College of Humanities & Fine Arts: 2 programs

Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business: 4 programs

Accreditation agencies are private educational associations that develop standards and conduct evaluations to assess if those standards are being met. 

Accreditations are requested by an institution to show a program’s credibility and the quality of the education being provided by the university.

“I definitely want to receive my degree from an accredited university,” said Rodney Mills, a senior from Eddyville, Kentucky. “In the grad school application process, this would seem very important.”

These accreditation renewals include programs in the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business, the College of Education and Human Services, the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, the Hutson School of Agriculture and the Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

The College of Education and Human Services will try to ensure the reaccreditation of its speech-language pathology, teacher education, counseling and social work programs in 2016.

“For speech-language pathologists, this includes evaluation and treatment of all types of communication disorders, skill with evidence-based practices, cultural competence and oral and written communication skills, as well as an understanding of ethics in the profession,” Kleinhans said.

The reaccreditation of this program will cost more than $30,000, said David Whaley, dean of the College of Education and Human Services.

During the reaccreditation process, Murray State pays for accreditation agencies to send teams to review its programs. This includes the cost of travel, hotels and anything else the team might need during their stay.    

  These site visits last for several days and involve members of the accreditation team sitting in on classes, reviewing course syllabi and the advising process and meeting with students, administrators and faculty members.

“Students choose to pursue education degrees at Murray State University because of the outstanding reputation of our programs, which is affirmed by national accreditation,” Whaley said.

The process of accreditation shows future employers that students attended a university that has its programs regularly inspected through agencies that specialize in that area.

“The job market is intensely competitive in this day and time,” said Olivia Fowler, a junior from Camden, Tennessee. “In a job interview, a degree from an accredited college would have the upper hand versus a degree from an unaccredited college.”