Health Science Center receives 10-year SACS accreditation

SAN ANTONIO (Dec. 10, 2008) — The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), meeting Dec. 8 in San Antonio, reaffirmed the accreditation of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. SACS accreditation is required for the Health Science Center to have all of the privileges and status of a fully accredited educational institution.

The Health Science Center received the maximum accreditation – 10 years until 2018. Its accreditation was last affirmed in 1998, also for 10 years. The SACS Commission on Colleges is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in 11 Southern states, including Texas.

“SACS focuses on assuring the quality of student learning,” said Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president of the Health Science Center. “Many individuals have worked diligently for three years to ensure the Health Science Center excels in this area. We have created new ways of educating our students. This accreditation affirms that the educational experience of our students is among the most outstanding in our country.”

The Health Science Center meets or exceeds the 74 standards established by SACS for accreditation, said Theresa Chiang, Ed.D., vice president for academic administration and leader of the Health Science Center’s accreditation process. In addition, the SACS process required the Health Science Center to increase the effectiveness of student learning through a five-year Quality Enhancement Plan. “Several faculty teams wrote proposals for this plan,” Dr. Chiang said.

The winning proposal is to develop, over five years, a case-based, virtual healthcare education resource that is interactive, allowing students to: 1) collect patient history and physical exam data, 2) order diagnostic tests, and 3) view test results, written reports and images using a multimedia approach. The system will provide tools for instructor grading or self-evaluation and will provide feedback to students.

“The long-term goal is to develop a centralized resource through which any Health Science Center instructor can easily incorporate online, case-based learning into an existing or new teaching/learning activity,” Dr. Chiang said.

SACS Commission on Colleges panelists visited the Health Science Center in February to review the proposed new resource.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $668 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $15.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $35 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 23,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and other health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, visit

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