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Charles R. Drew University removed from academic probation

July 13, 2011 |  1:28 pm

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science was removed from academic probation by its accrediting agency this week, the latest indication the South Los Angeles medical school is recovering from recent financial woes.

The private nonprofit school founded a year after the 1965 Watts riots to train minority physicians has withstood various crises during the last decade. It had 504 students enrolled last academic year.

In 2006, problems forced Drew administrators to close their residency program. In 2009, the school was placed on probation by the Western Assn. of Schools and Colleges (WASC), an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Last year, Drew was in danger of being seized by lenders because it was unable to pay for a new $43-million nursing school.

On Wednesday, Drew officials were notified that WASC had removed them from probation due to evidence of improvement.

University leaders cite improvements made during the last year, including a new governing board, new strategic plan for growth and $10 million in funding from the University of California.

As of this month, the university also has a new president, Dr. David M. Carlisle, former director of the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. Carlisle moved into the university's residence in Ladera Heights July 1. He said his primary goal is ensuring Drew’s financial well-being.

“The school finished the fiscal year in the black. That’s a significant achievement and a lot of work went into that,” Carlisle said. “We look forward to continuing to grow financially. The WASC decision helps to enable us to do that.”

Carlisle said he hopes to restore the residency program and to expand enrollment in nursing and other programs.

“This is the new Drew,” said Dr. M. Roy Wilson, chairman of Drew’s board of trustees, in a Wednesday statement. "As our momentum builds, we continue to produce outstanding graduates and provide strong academics. I hope people will judge us not on the past, but from this day forward.”


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-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: Charles Drew's $43-million nursing school, opened last year. Credit: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times