by Kathryn Stroppel & Heinz Woehlk

At ATSU, change is constant

From the university’s formation in 1996, to the addition of four schools, to a change in presidential leadership, ATSU constantly has striven to improve student learning, create a positive working environment, and communicate its mission within its own walls and to the outside world. This year, the result of days, weeks, and months of planning and restructuring has resulted in some of the most significant changes in the university’s history, changes that include leadership, centralizing data, working with local entities to recruit physicians, undertaking a formal strategic planning process, and achieving accreditation for programs.

There’s a new energy at ATSU, a new strategy for the future, and a renewed commitment to what we do so well – educating highly competent and compassionate healthcare professionals in a supportive, cooperative, and welcoming environment.

What follows are some of the most significant changes on the horizon as ATSU continues to push toward a bright future, all the while honoring its 118-year legacy.

Developing institutional research capacity

ATSU is fully compliant with all state, federal, and accrediting agency requirements regarding the submission of data, but data collection efforts tend to be dispersed among the various schools and colleges as well as selected administrative offices. Thus, centralizing key data at the institutional level is sometimes a challenge.

The charge of the Universitywide Assessment Committee (UWAC) includes being responsible for ensuring that the data necessary for assessment and strategic planning is as readily accessible as reasonably possible. The committee has received funds for software that will aggregate data, and implementation of the software will be a top priority for 2010-2011.

Recruiting physicians cooperatively

For the first time, ATSU-KCOM, Northeast Missouri Health Council (NMHC is a local Federally Qualified Health Center), and Northeast Regional Medical Center (NRMC) will begin recruiting providers cooperatively. For more than 100 years, physicians arrived on their own in Kirksville or were recruited by one entity or another without looking at the needs of the community.

An integral component of the agreement is the involvement of KCOM to ensure that new physicians have the interest and ability to become clinical educators at KCOM and to participate in its evolving curriculum. Costs for recruitment will be shared. NRMC, a Thompson Top 100 hospital based on quality, has agreed to provide initial income guarantees so physicians can choose to practice at KCOM or NMHC, if appropriate, or enter private practice.

Planning strategically

The University Strategic Planning Committee (USPC) has nearly completed a five-year strategic plan for ATSU that will guide its future development as an integrated university, including new draft mission and values statements.

The committee has worked to identify appropriate actions that will address the strategic issues it determined are important to ATSU’s future. The USPC has shared the draft planning documents with appropriate campus and alumni groups for their feedback, including open fora in Kirksville and Mesa. The USPC will soon submit the draft to the President and the Board of Trustees.

Obtaining accreditation

The Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health’s Orthodontic and Dentofacial Orthopedic Program has received “approval without reporting requirements” from the Commission on Dental Accreditation and will not be site-visited again until 2016.

The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy (ACOTE) awarded ATSU-ASHS’ O.T. program a seven-year accreditation, which may be extended to 10 years’ accreditation by attending to two areas of concern, which already are being addressed by faculty.

Leading purposefully

Several key changes in university administration took effect this summer. Click below to see each profile.

Positional changes

Douglas L. Wood, D.O., Ph.D.
Senior Vice President – Academic Affairs

Thomas McWilliams, D.O., FACOFP, ’76
Dean Of SOMA

Barbara Maxwell, D.P.T., ’06
Dean of ASHS

Kimberly O’Reilly, D.H.Ed., ’08
Dean of SHM

Craig Phelps, D.O., ’84
Executive Vice President For Strategic Initiatives

O.T. Wendel, Ph.D.
Vice President For Arizona Operations &
Special Assistant To The Executive Vice President