Accreditation and Continuous Quality Improvement

WVSOM takes part in several activities to ensure the quality of the programming and services provided to students. These activities include both accreditation, monitored by outside entities, and continuous quality improvement efforts, monitored internally.

Each activity has specific goals as outlined below but both work together for the betterment of the institution.


Dr. Mary Norris is the Director of Accreditation and Continuous Quality Improvement.  She coordinates and oversees all elements of the accreditation processes for both the regional accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and our program accreditation through the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).  She also provides support to WVSOM departments on developing and monitoring Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) plans.


WVSOM Accreditations

Accreditation is a voluntary action taken by an institution of higher learning.  The accreditation process ensures that the education provided by the institution meets acceptable levels of quality. It also creates a culture of continuous improvement of academic quality and stimulates a general raising of standards.  The process involves faculty, staff and students in the practice of comprehensive institutional evaluation and planning.

Accrediting agencies are recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as reliable authorities concerning the quality of education offered by the institution of higher education.  Accreditors develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are met.  Institutions who meet an accreditor’s criteria are then “accredited”.

There are two types of educational accreditations, “institutional” and “programmatic/specialized”.  Institutional accreditation applies to an entire institution and programmatic/specialized accreditation applies to a specific program of study.   

WVSOM is accredited by an institutional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and by a programmatic/specialized accreditor, the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) for its Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program of study.

HLC Assurance Argument for the May 6-7, 2019 Standard Pathway Year 4 Comprehensive Evaluation Visit.


Higher Learning Commission Accreditation Information (HLC)

Assurance Review

Federal Compliance Program

Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA)

COM Continuing Education Standards

Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)

WVSOM’s Continuous Quality Improvement Committee sets benchmarks for the student learning outcomes and then reviews data from various departments to determine improvements that need to be established and monitored at an institutional level.  Data related to student outcomes that is reviewed by the committee includes (but is not limited to); five-year COMLEX-USA first time pass rates for Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3; student body diversity; faculty diversity; completion rates; retention rates; and persistence rates.  

The committee’s composition includes leadership from several areas of the institution: academic departments; curriculum; assessment; faculty; and accreditation.  Through the review of data, the committee assists with the “closing of loop” for assessment of student learning outcomes and other institutional benchmarks.