JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
From Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, the Medical Education and Training Campus, or METC, hosted an evaluation team from the Council on Occupational Education, or COE, for the second time in eight years. The purpose of the visit was to ensure that METC is abiding by all standards for national accreditation.
Accreditation is a status granted to an educational institution or program that has been found to meet or exceed stated criteria of educational quality and student achievement. It assures quality and assists in improvement if needed.
The COE is a national accrediting agency of higher education institutions. It came into existence initially in 1971 as the Commission on Occupational Education Institutions of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, a regional accrediting association that serves institutions in an 11-state region.
The U.S. Secretary of Education has recognized the COE and its predecessor agency as a reliable authority on the quality of education offered by the institutions it has accredited. Its current scope of recognition is as a national institutional accrediting agency for the accreditation of non-degree-granting and applied associate degree-granting postsecondary occupational education institutions.
Leading up to the COE site visit, the METC standards and evaluation branch headed an organizational-wide self-study. The primary purpose for the self-study was to examine METC’s qualifications for accreditation through a comprehensive self-evaluation conducted by METC staff in accordance with COE guidance. It also provided an opportunity to make improvements or corrections where needed.
The self-study involved several teams of METC personnel engaged in eighteen months of research, meetings, and taskers under the guidance of Dr. Suzan Bowman, standards and evaluation branch chief, Verranda Price, accreditation officer, and Master Sgt. Elida Todd, senior enlisted advisor. The final self-study report was provided to the COE evaluators and scrutinized prior to the site visit.
“The team work METC displayed during the self-study phase demonstrated that we couldn’t have done this without the support from everybody,” Bowman said. “Everyone worked as a team and had no problem stepping up when help was needed. It’s a reflection on METC as a whole that not only were we ready for this, but we blew it out of the water.”
The COE evaluators reviewed the METC self-study and strategic plan, and toured 10 of 49 training programs to examine compliance with COE’s 30 conditions of accreditation and 343 standard criteria. While touring the programs the evaluators inspected the facilities and interviewed program department chairs, program directors, instructional system specialists, faculty and students.
The three-day site visit concluded with an out brief where a verbal report of no findings, no recommendations, and no suggestions was announced to the METC leadership. The COE members stated in a written report that those who proudly serve our country will continue to receive quality technical training at METC that is, in many cases, world class.
“Receiving such a positive result means to me that we are fulfilling METC’s mission,” Price said. “The mission we created is to train the world’s finest medics, corpsmen and technicians so they can have a lifetime of service anywhere, including civil service or for the government.”
As a result of passing the evaluation, METC will be accredited for the maximum amount of time, six years. COE members will be expected to visit back October 2024.