College of Public Health begins accreditation process

Carrie Blazina

Kent State’s College of Public Health is one step closer to its accreditation, a process that certifies the college as a high-level school of public health and makes it more attractive to both potential students and employers looking to hire public health professionals.

The college, which opened in 2009, announced Tuesday that the Council of Education for Public Health approved its application to start the two-year process. This means it has pulled its resources into place to meet the council’s initial standards for faculty, academic degrees and infrastructure.

Dean Sonia Alemagno said accreditation would boost students’ chances in finding public health jobs after graduation.

“An accredited school sends a message to employers that when they hire our graduates, they can be assured that the graduates have achieved the level of competencies that have been recommended nationally,” Alemagno said. “Our students will be the most competitive for open positions in public health.”

The next step is to attend an accreditation orientation workshop and conduct a one-year self-study. Four peer reviewers from the council will then visit for three days to check its accuracy.

Alemagno said the process will involve everyone in the college — from the administration to department chairs to faculty to students.

“When the time comes, the site visitors will want to talk to our students, and also to representatives of the community, about how the College of Public Health has been growing,” she said.

Alemagno said once the process is complete, the college will have achieved a “standard that is at a very high level in terms of services offered to students and the research being conducted in the college.”

Because Kent State was accepted to begin the accreditation process, the college is now an associate member school in the Association of Schools of Public Health, the national organization representing accredited schools of public health. There are 50 member schools and eight associate members.

Contact Carrie Blazina at [email protected].