Accreditation 101: using inhouse processes and platforms to ease workflow and lessen cost and stress during professional course accreditations in the health sciences
Ennever, E, Accreditation 101: using inhouse processes and platforms to ease workflow and lessen cost and stress during professional course accreditations in the health sciences, INTED2022 Proceedings, 7-8 March, 2022, on-line international conference, pp. 2076-2084. ISSN 2340-1079 (2022) [Refereed Conference Paper]
In Australia many courses offered in the health sciences are accredited by external professional bodies, which ensures graduates of courses have the requisite knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes to enter and practice in their chosen field. Accreditation is now driven by national priorities and quality monitoring of professional training. The national Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and health profession Boards affiliated with Ahpra covered by national legislation have responsibility for accrediting university courses that train young professionals and TEQSA and the Boards monitors course, and graduate, quality.
This paper will give an overview of the University of Tasmania's approach to the most recent accreditation rounds for the Paramedicine and Psychology courses in the College of Health and Medicine (CHM). The chief accreditation consultant involved shifted from being a permanent employee to a casual consultant over the years of the projects to achieve accreditation, and in both instances the professions had newly come under national registration requirements monitored by Ahpra, which involved addressing new accreditation standards.
The lessons learned from previous CHM accreditation rounds 2003-2016 will be briefly addressed, taking account of evolving national university self-accreditation monitoring as overseen by TEQSA and how this interacts with the Ahpra Boards. A description of the system developed to use internal resources and platforms to streamline consultation will be given, showing how this lessened staff workloads and stress in editing and compilation of accreditation portfolios. This meant that the CHM avoided the engagement of external parties and costly project management systems by making the most efficient use of institutional expertise and platforms. Examples of this were the configuration of a "non-award" version of a unit in the learning management system to house and link appendices, and creation of bespoke internal drive folder structures to manage the complex editing processes.
Both of the most recent completed accreditation rounds, with Psychology undergoing accreditation during the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-2021 and Paramedicine, fully accredited by 2017 under the Council of Ambulance Authorities but now under the Paramedicine Board of Australia and placed in a new accreditation round in 2020 with the advent of new Standards, achieved very good reviews from the accrediting bodies. The Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) has recommended the University of Tasmania's approach to documentation and processes to other universities.
Refereed Conference Paper
accreditation, quality, paramedicine, psychology, health sciences