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Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science placed on probation

July 13, 2009 |  4:06 pm

The regional accrediting commission that oversees Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science has placed the South Los Angeles institution on probation because it has failed to meet certain assessment standards, the latest blow in what has been a tumultuous year for the university.

In its report, the commission said there were problems with the university’s systems of educational assessment and quality control.

University officials said the panel recommended improvements in “campus-wide communication, financial and budgetary systems and data-based systems … greater stability at the university presidential level and increased board involvement in fiduciary and strategic planning.”

The commission scheduled a special visit in the spring of 2011 to evaluate the university's progress.

Interim President Keith C. Norris, who along with other school officials was notified of the probation ruling last week, said he plans to use the commission’s recommendation to “strengthen the university and ensure the highest level of quality education for our students.”

University officials stressed that the school maintained its accreditation and that they are committed to serving poor, minority communities.

The probation ruling is only the latest in a series of setbacks for the school.

Former President Susan Kelly resigned in May after three years on the job. She had announced earlier that the university would have to lay off 10% of its faculty and staff and suspend contributions to all employees’ retirement funds.

The private, nonprofit medical and health sciences university, which serves predominately black and Latino students, was created after the Watts riots in 1965. It is located in the Watts-Willowbrook area.

Last month, the university announced that it had begun hiring faculty and recruiting students for its new school of nursing, which is under construction and expected to open early next year.

The Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing, housed in a nearly completed $43-million research and education building, will offer an entry-level Master of Science nursing program.

-- Ari B. Bloomekatz

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