Accreditation: Participant
perspectives, in triplicate

Published February 01 2019

Undergraduates at  Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, work on a summer project. Jason Pough, Tony Rivas, and Khoa Tran, all undergraduates at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, work on a summer project designed around the proteomic analysis of mucus from local fish species.Hampden-Sydney College The number of baccalaureate programs accredited by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has grown steadily. By the end of 2019, just six years after the accreditation program began, the number of accredited programs likely will reach the century mark.

Despite the program’s progress, many potential participants still ask, “Why should our program become accredited?”

We have addressed this question in three ways. The first was via a survey of accreditation stakeholders recently published in the journal Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Education. The second was the recent publication of a letter describing details of the program in the journal CBE-Life Sciences Education. The third was by reaching out to representatives of three diverse accredited programs to learn how ASBMB accreditation has affected their programs:

Douglas McAbee of California State University Long Beach, a large (enrollment 37,000), public, master’s granting institution on the West Coast;

Michael Wolyniak of Hampden-Sydney College, a small (enrollment 1,100), private, primarily undergraduate institution in the mid-Atlantic region; and

Paul Black and Erin Sayer of the University of Nebraska, a large (enrollment 25,000), public, research-intensive university in the Midwest.

Overall, these programs reported the following benefits of accreditation:

the focus on concept-based education in the accreditation application helps them critique and improve their programs;
guidelines from a national society help them strengthen the programs at their institution; and
accreditation of the program and certification of students through a common exam help create assessments for internal and external use.

On the facing page, in chart form, are their more detailed answers to our questions.

Want to learn more about the ASBMB accreditation program? Go to the ASBMB accreditation page.


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Cheryl Bailey Cheryl Bailey is dean of the School of Natural and Health Sciences and Education, Mount Mary University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Peter Kennelly Peter Kennelly is a professor of biochemistry at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.