Frequently Asked Questions

Recently there have been press reports that have raised some questions within our community. Below are the most frequently asked questions and answers.

Probation & Accreditation

I have read that the Boston pharmacy, Boston nursing, and Worcester optometry programs are on probation–what does that mean?

All three programs are accredited. The Boston pharmacy and Worcester optometry programs must meet certain conditions over the next one to two years in order to return to full accreditation. The University is well on the way to meeting all of those conditions. Between December 2016 and September 2017, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing placed the Boston nursing program on warning status because less than 80% of the graduates passed the nursing licensure examination (NCLEX) on the first attempt. The Board has since removed warning status and the program now enjoys full approval.

Is the accreditation of the Boston pharmacy and Worcester optometry programs threatened?

The University is working to meet all of the conditions necessary to return to full accreditation. Over the next one to two years, three accreditation bodies will monitor the affected programs. We expect that they will return the programs to full accreditation.

If those programs lose accreditation, what does that mean for my ability to graduate, take the boards, participate in meaningful clinical rotations and get a good job?

This is very unlikely. However, should any program lose accreditation, all currently enrolled students are allowed to complete their degrees and take the appropriate licensure examination. Students will have full access to the University’s extensive network of clinical sites and the job placement services of the University’s Center for Professional Career Development.

Were University leaders surprised by the warnings from accreditors? Shouldn’t they have been aware of these problems?

University leadership responded immediately and decisively as soon as the accreditation issues were reported by individual deans. In the School of Optometry – Worcester and the School of Nursing – Boston, new and highly experienced deans have been appointed to ensure that all accreditation matters are addressed in a timely manner.

What is the accreditation status of the occupational therapy program?

There are no accreditation issues with the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program at MCPHS – Manchester. The program has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). All new OT programs in the country are given Candidacy Status until the first class graduates. The first MCPHS class will graduate in 2018, at which time it will be eligible for full accreditation.

What should we expect from the recent review by the New England Association for Schools and Colleges that determines the University’s overall accreditation status?

The University is fully accredited by NEASC’s Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, which conducted a comprehensive review of MCPHS last spring, as it does every ten years with all accredited institutions in New England. The Commission will meet in November 2017 to determine the University’s continuing accreditation status. Based on the thorough exit report of the visiting team, the University does not anticipate any change to its institutional accreditation status.

The University receives very high financial ratings. Will this accreditation situation affect those ratings?

The University is extremely proud of its very solid financial ratings and is confident that there will be no adverse effect on them. Moody’s has also reviewed our current financial status and has stated that these issues will have limited impact.

Initiatives Moving Forward

Is there a shortage of professors for the Boston pharmacy program and if so, how is that being remedied?

The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) found that the student-faculty ratio in the Boston pharmacy program is higher than what the guidelines advise. Since learning of this conclusion, the University has 1) hired five new faculty, 2) worked aggressively to fill several existing vacant positions, and 3) initiated an analysis of faculty workload and appointments. As a teaching-focused university, our top priority is assuring the success of each of our students. Having a strong faculty is a key to achieving this.

What is the process for assessing student outcomes and how do you intend to improve upon those processes?

Assessing student outcomes involves gathering information about student learning in exercises and classroom activities, on examinations, in laboratory work, during co-curricular activities, and in other venues. This information is used to identify each student’s areas of success and those in need of strengthening. The University is currently reviewing all student assessment plans in order to foster the highest learning outcome for each student.

Why is the university expanding the President’s residence when there is a space shortage on the Boston campus?

The expansion opportunity for the Brant House will increase its size from 3,800 to 6,000 square feet. The President’s residence occupies less than 1,000 square feet and that amount will not increase. The remainder of the building, including the expansion space, is used for community meetings, alumni events and other University-related activities. The intent of the expansion is to free up space on the Boston campus for academic use.

Some MCPHS classes on the Boston campus are quite crowded, is the University admitting more students than it can handle?

The Boston campus is a dense, urban campus and MCPHS is extremely proud to be located in the premier medical and educational center of the country. The University has carefully planned its growth and program diversification over the last decade and feels confident that the level of enrollment achieved is consistent with those plans. In fact, the overall Boston enrollment has experienced a planned decline of approximately 7% from its peak three years ago.

What is the University doing to alleviate space issues on the Boston campus?

The University has a number of expansion projects currently underway or to be completed within the next year. These include the construction of a new 18-story residence hall in collaboration with Emmanuel College, which will house over 250 MCPHS students in the fall of 2018. This project will allow the University to re-purpose current residence hall space on its Longwood campus into approximately 20,000 square feet of additional academic and student study space. In addition, the University has entered into collaboration with the Massachusetts College of Art to allow MCPHS students full access to MassArt’s approximately 20,000 square foot library, located across the street on Huntington Avenue, as a supplement to the Longwood campus library for student study space.

Why has the University added health science programs?

Over the last 25 years, and consistent with its legislative charter, the University has diversified its program offerings to meet the expanding needs of the healthcare system. This diversification has allowed the University to become a leader in healthcare education and provide an interdisciplinary approach that few other Universities are able to offer.

Has there been an impact on quality as the University has grown?

No. The University’s growth has been strategically planned and is in direct response to the increased national shortage of healthcare professionals. Quality remains high, as evidenced by the University’s first-year retention rate of 87% and its graduation rate of 80%, both of which are far above the national average.