In a Season of Gratitude, NEOMED Makes Us Proud

Dear NEOMED Community,

As members of the leadership team of the Student Impact Committee (SIC), Bradley Eckert, Geetika Srivastava and I want to share with you during this season of thankfulness some encouraging news from the Independent Student Analysis (ISA).

As an integral part of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LMCE) accreditation review, we independently designed a comprehensive survey to measure student satisfaction, drawing from required LCME questions and our committee’s assessment of distinctly NEOMED challenges and strengths. We had enormous support from the College of Medicine leadership team as well as the Office of Institutional Research and Office of Public Relations and Marketing. But it was the students who showed up and let their voices be heard. With 95% student participation, we were impressed by our peers’ dedication and confidently analyzed the data as representative of the student body. 

As members of SIC, we understood the enormous opportunity we had to shed light on challenges at NEOMED.  For the many of us who have been frustrated at different points during our medical education and yet continued to see reasonable solutions to keep student success primary, we sought to deliver a comprehensive and detailed report that all stakeholders—faculty, administration, staff, students, and our university partners—would find balanced, respectful and amenable to implementation of our recommendations.  Following the release of the ISA report in May 2018, we have been heartened by the responsiveness of individuals who have reached out to us in gratitude and have begun the hard work of digging deeper into challenges to drive positive change. 

We know humans instinctively focus on the negative. Speaking for myself, I’m critical because I want things to be better. In reading the ISA, we know there are places for great improvement: listening and responding to student feedback, improving the quality of basic science education, and providing more consistent clinical experiences across the many clinical sites. We also know NEOMED has a pride issue. The etiology is complex, but I want to share with you today the good news from ISA. In fact, there is quite a bit of encouraging and motivating news: Nearly half of all the survey items (65 of 132 questions) showed high levels of student satisfaction (defined as 90% or more of respondents indicating they were satisfied or very satisfied). As we looked closer at these results, the ISA revealed five thematic strengths of NEOMED.  I believe that by internalizing these strengths, we can build a framework from which to grow and strengthen our institutional pride.

Administrative leaders who care

The survey included 19 items regarding the accessibility, awareness of student concerns, and responsiveness of various College of Medicine and University leaders. Remarkably, 15 of those 19 items showed high levels of student satisfaction, reflecting extremely positive regard for Dean Elisabeth Young, Vice Dean Eugene Mowad, Assistant Dean Paul Lecat, and University Ombudsman Angela Dash, who scored consistently high (90% or higher satisfaction levels) across all three dimensions of caring. Additionally, Clerkship Director David Sperling was recognized for his responsiveness to student concerns and Executive Director of Student Affairs Sandra Emerick for her accessibility.

A protective and nurturing campus environment

Numerous survey items indicated that NEOMED provides an environment that is highly protective of its students. Ninety-seven percent of all respondents expressed satisfaction with campus safety and security. Ninety-five percent or more of all respondents felt that NEOMED provides a safe environment for students of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions; physical and cognitive abilities; cultural backgrounds; and races. NEOMED students believe that their University respects diversity, creates a safe space where individuals of varying backgrounds thrive, and creates a nurturing place to learn.

Substantial physical facilities and resources for learning

Several questions elicited high levels of student satisfaction in relation to the resources supporting medical education, both at the Rootstown campus and at clinical teaching sites. Ninety-three percent of all respondents to the survey expressed satisfaction with lecture halls and large group classroom facilities, and a similar percentage were satisfied with small group teaching space on the Rootstown campus. Ninety-six percent expressed satisfaction with ease of access to library resources and holdings. Ninety percent or more of respondents from the third- and fourth-year classes were satisfied or very satisfied with educational/teaching space at affiliated hospitals, student study space at clinical sites, and access to patients during third-year clerkships.

An extensive support system

NEOMED has established several systems to provide support for students during the course of their education, and the student analysis singled out many of them as institutional strengths. Ninety-eight percent of all respondents to the student survey were satisfied or very satisfied with library support and services, while 93% expressed satisfaction with access to computer support. Students benefitted from highly-rated tutorial help (93% of responding students were satisfied or very satisfied) and academic counseling (91% expressing satisfaction). Ninety percent of all respondents were satisfied with debt management counseling, and 94% with financial aid services. Ninety percent of all respondents also expressed satisfaction with the confidentiality of personal counseling.

Clinical educational excellence

This may come as a surprise to many readers, especially with the concerns regarding the first- and second-year curriculum. Yet in spite of the various problems identified in the pre-clinical years, respondents had incredibly high praise for many of their educational experiences and for their preparation for the next stage of their education in residency. NEOMED’s pre-clinical strengths lie in the following courses that garnered satisfaction ratings of 90% or more for course quality: Foundations of Clinical Medicine 1 and 2, Human Values in Medicine 1 and 2, Human Values in Medicine 3 and 4, Medical Neuroscience, and General Pathology.

Clinical education and preparation of students for residency is where the College of Medicine truly shines. M3 and M4 respondents were highly satisfied with the overall quality of third-year clerkships (93% satisfied or very satisfied), quality of fourth-year clerkships (94% satisfaction), and supervision they received during those clerkships (93% satisfaction). Ninety-two percent of M3 and M4 students were satisfied or very satisfied with the clinical skills education they received to prepare for residency, and 90% expressed satisfaction with the amount of formative feedback they received during their clinical education. Ninety-five percent were satisfied with the education they received in caring for patients from diverse backgrounds.

In this season of gratitude, amidst some much-needed rest, the hubbub, the parties, the presents, and the things we ought to do, we have the rare opportunity to take stock of ourselves, our relationships, our accomplishments, and our aspirations. While NEOMED certainly has areas to improve upon in response to our passionate students’ resounding voices, we can be thankful for the countless individuals who strive, in both public efforts and quiet, private moments, to make NEOMED a place we are all proud of.


Gretchen A. Ferber
Past-President, Student Impact Committee
Class of 2019

To see the full Independent Student Analysis, log in to the NEOMED Intranet and access the link to the report, which will be located at the top of Quicklinks (on the right side of the homepage).

For next steps in the LCME site visit process, visit the LCME Timeline, which can be found on The Pulse.

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