CEPH Self-study Highlights
The Graduate Programs in Public Health (GPPH) have been accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) since 2011. In June of 2019, the Council awarded GPPH with a 7-year reaccreditation – the maximum amount of time possible under CEPH guidelines. Throughout the reaccreditation process GPPH has reached many goals with significant support from College and University leadership. The CEPH accreditation process includes an in-depth self-study and we have included a few of the highlights below from our most recent self-study in 2018. We are proud to share the updates we have made to better serve our students, faculty and communities and we are thrilled to announce our continued accreditation with CEPH through 2026.
Increasing Faculty Resources
The number of GPPH primary faculty has grown from three in 2015-2016 to seven in 2018-2019. The primary faculty members, who work full-time within GPPH, bring significant expertise in various public health disciplines such as global health, maternal and child health, nutrition, epidemiology, social and behavioral health, health education and career planning. Primary faculty regularly teach courses in their areas of expertise, perform administrative duties in specific areas (e.g., research and service, curriculum, practicum, workforce development), and serve as academic advisors.
GPPH follows the scholar-practitioner model by engaging adjunct teaching faculty who have extensive and current work experience in the field of public health. Our adjunct faculty instructors have been carefully recruited to ensure that each course GPPH offers has a sufficient number of available faculty members with appropriate academic credentials or professional experience.
Read more about our team of primary faculty, also known as “Academic Administration”, and adjunct faculty: https://online.une.edu/public-health/faculty-and-staff/.
Focusing on Student Success and Competency Attainment
Our curriculum has been updated and revised to ensure that it aligns with new competencies published by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) in 2016, and to improve student outcomes.
Read more about the updated curriculum: https://online.une.edu/blog/mph-curriculum-changes/
We recognize that a meaningful career is the ultimate goal of our students, and we have significantly expanded our career services. GPPH’s Assistant Director of Public Health Career Services has done an outstanding job putting together on-demand career resources for our students and developing a Professional Preparation Workshop that we have integrated into our curriculum.
Read more about them: https://online.une.edu/blog/public-health-career-services/
Our work does not end when a student graduates and joins the workforce. It is our professional responsibility as an academic program to continuously assess, adapt, and support the current and future public health workforce. Our Assistant Director of Public Health Workforce Development, who joined us at the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic year, is working to regularly assess the needs of the workforce and to provide trainings designed to help fill skill gaps.
Read more about our workforce development initiatives: https://success.une.edu/public-health/graduate-programs-in-public-health-workforce-development/
We also believe that strong student support is critical to our success. At GPPH, each student is supported by a Student Support Specialist and an Academic Advisor. The Student Support Specialists help students navigate various aspects of online education (e.g., time management, communication with faculty, accessing university services) while the Academic Advisors guide them through the curriculum and career planning.
Enhancing Shared Governance
Over the past few years, we have worked hard to ensure that we solicit and incorporate stakeholder input into academic and administrative decisions within GPPH. Our Advisory Committee and Curriculum Committee have faculty, student and community representatives. Primary faculty are active in numerous committees within the program and the university such as the GPPH Admission Committee, the Faculty Assembly of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies, and the UNE-wide University Faculty Assembly, to name a few. Adjunct faculty provide input into the curriculum and program administration through faculty meetings every semester, annual satisfaction surveys, and reflection meetings every term. In addition, GPPH has also formalized mechanisms to solicit stakeholder input, particularly in assessment of student outcomes. Preceptors and employers of GPPH graduates are regularly surveyed for their perceptions of how the program prepares students on a set of public health competencies, and results are used for continuous quality improvement of the program.
Beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year, GPPH is enhancing student participation in shared governance by supporting the creation of a new student-led advisory committee. This committee will complement the work of the existing American Public Health Association Student Assembly (APHA-SA) group by gathering student input, producing an annual report with actionable recommendations to the program, and ensuring frequent and effective communications between the student body and program administration.
Encouraging Research and Scholarship
At GPPH, we are presented with an interesting challenge in the area of research and scholarship. Primary faculty are encouraged to actively pursue research projects, and such time is protected and valued. However, most of our students have family and full-time job responsibilities outside of graduate school, and our adjunct faculty are full-time practitioners in the field of public health. While many of our adjuncts pursue research and other scholarly work as part of their jobs, our students often have limited time to pursue research projects outside of their regular work in the field. At the same time, we appreciate that the generation of new knowledge through research and scholarship activities is critical to maintaining the rigor of our curriculum, our academic values, and learning environment. Our Assistant Director of Research and Scholarship has led various efforts to encourage research and scholarship among GPPH faculty and students, including making mini-grants available for faculty and student research and scholarly activities, and identifying and publicizing research, scholarship and funding opportunities that are most relevant to our students and faculty. See the current opportunities at https://success.une.edu/category/research/.
More information on the GPPH Mini-Grant Program: https://success.une.edu/mph_opportunities/new-gpph-mini-grant-program-available/
The importance of research and scholarship is also emphasized through the newly-designed Applied Practice Experience (APE) and Integrative Learning Experience (ILE). During the APE, students work closely with a preceptor/public health practitioner to produce deliverables that demonstrate relevant public health competencies. During the ILE, students have an opportunity to work on an in-depth research project, program evaluation, or policy analysis. Students receive mentoring and supervision from adjunct faculty with specific subject matter or methodologic expertise, and they produce a publishable-quality written product. Our Practicum Coordinators continue to work on mechanisms that will support publication of these high-quality written products.
Through these efforts, and others described in the self-study, we hope to make it as easy as possible for our students and faculty to pursue research opportunities that will enhance their public health practice and add to the body of public health knowledge that will enrich the field.