Kaler calls for outside review of U’s Academic Health Center

It follows an internal review that amassed criticism.
January 31, 2012

The Academic Health Center at the University of Minnesota will undergo an external review, University President Eric Kaler announced Monday.

The review will be conducted this spring by a small committee chaired by Dr. Ken Kaushansky, Stony Brook University’s senior vice president for Health Sciences and dean of its medical school.

The committee will consider whether the AHC is structured to “ensure excellence” in its six health science schools at the University, Kaler wrote in an email to faculty and staff.

The external review will take place soon after the Medical School accreditation team visits the University in March.

“One of my strategic goals for the University is to strengthen the health sciences and improve the national reputation of the Medical School,” Kaler wrote.

An internal evaluation of the AHC’s mission, structure and possible inefficiencies was delivered to Kaler last November. Among other recommendations, it said the position of vice president for health sciences and dean of the Medical School should be split.

Currently, deans for other AHC schools, like  the School of Nursing and the College of Pharmacy, report to Aaron Friedman, who currently holds the joint position. Because he is the dean of the Medical School, he reports to himself.

Kaler said that while the evaluation made several good recommendations, it was not designed to answer larger questions regarding the “vision and future of the AHC.”

The 32-page report was supplemented by 83 pages of feedback from the University community largely criticizing the evaluation for being uncritical of the structure of the AHC.

The internal evaluation was headed by an executive committee appointed by former President Bob Bruininks. The committee included Friedman and Vice President for Research Tim Mulcahy.

The AHC’s own Faculty Consultative Committee said the review was “vague, ambiguous and lacked transparency.”

The length of the external review and what will be contained in the review won’t be known until after the accreditation visit, according to a University spokesman.

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