Frequently Asked Questions


What is a comprehensive review?

A comprehensive review is the process used to determine whether an institution meets HLC's criteria for accreditation. The process includes a review of federal compliance, review of quality assurance and a site visit by a team of .

What is the quality assurance review based on?

MCCMS is asked to prepare a narrative assurance argument that explains how the college satisfies HLC's criteria for accreditation. The assurance argument has a limit of 35,000 words and is supported by evidence (documentation) that is included in the report.

What is the federal compliance review based on?

As a federally recognized accrediting agency, HLC is required to assure that all its member institutions are meeting Title IV program requirements. The federal compliance review provides documentation to verify that MCCMS is eligible for federal financial aid for its students.

What is the purpose of the site visit?

The purpose of the site visit is for a team of peer reviewers to verify the claims made in the assurance argument.

A typical visit includes:

  • Meetings with institutional leadership, board members, and groups involved with preparing accreditation documentation
  • Open meetings to discuss each of the five criteria for accreditation with members of the campus community
  • Open meetings with various campus constituency groups such as faculty, staff, graduate students and undergraduate students
  • One or more areas of focus determined by the team as needing additional attention
  • An exit session between the peer review team and the Mayo Clinic president and CEO at the conclusion of the visit

Will the visitors be going to the Florida or Arizona campuses?

Due to HLC's Policy on Affiliated Institutions (INST.B.10.020), MCCMS campuses in Arizona and Florida received accreditation through affiliation with the educational and operational activities on the Rochester campus. The peer reviewers do not plan to visit Arizona or Florida at this time, though this is subject to change at any time.

What is the role of the peer reviewers?

Reviewers are faculty and administrators at peer institutions that are also accredited by HLC. Their role is to review the assurance argument, verify that the information and evidence presented accurately reflect the institution, and request additional information or evidence if needed to support the argument.

After the site visit, the reviewers submit a report of their visit to HLC, which becomes an additional source of evidence (along with the assurance argument and federal compliance review) for use in determining MCCMS' accreditation status.


When is the next comprehensive review?

The next comprehensive review is in 2018, concluding with the campus visit on Dec. 3-4, 2018.

Who is responsible for the coordination of this comprehensive review?

The preparation has been a multi-site, campus-wide effort coordinated by the Office of Continuous Accreditation, Licensure, and Compliance under the direction of:

  • David L. Dahlen, administrator for Continuous Accreditation, Licensure, and Compliance
  • Debra M. Eagle, education division chair and MCCMS' Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO)
  • Jim Maher, Ph.D., dean of Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and co-chair of MCCMS' HLC Executive Steering Group
  • Michael H. Silber, M.B., Ch.B., dean of Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences and co-chair of MCCMS' HLC Executive Steering Group

How can I participate in this process?

The participation of our campus community is an important element of the accreditation and self-evaluation process.

MCCMS leaders, faculty, staff and students will have the opportunity to participate in one or more of the listed opportunities:

  • Coordination with the writing subgroups
  • Invitation to contribute to the assurance argument and evidence file
  • Open forums during the site visit

Students and members of the community will also be able to participate at different stages of the process:

  • Student survey
  • Open forums during the site visit
  • Opportunity for public comment

Post-visit decision

Do peer reviewers make the final decision about Mayo's reaffirmation of accreditation?

No. Reviewers prepare a site visit report and submit it to HLC, along with their recommendations. HLC decision-making bodies make the final decision about the reaffirmation of accreditation.

How are decisions about accreditation status made?

HLC decision-making bodies determine the institution's accreditation status based on their review of the site visit report, the assurance argument and evidence, and the federal compliance documentation. See the HLC website for more information about decision-making bodies and processes.

When is the final decision made?

The decision-making process begins once the site visit concludes. After the visit, the peer review team submits a report that includes a recommendation to an HLC decision-making body that meets approximately every six weeks to review cases.

How will the results be reported?

HLC will send an official correspondence (Action Letter) to MCCMS detailing an action taken regarding our institution. HLC's decision will be publicly announced on the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science's accreditation website and via other internal and external media.


What does accreditation mean?

Accreditation in higher education is the recognition that an institution or program maintains standards requisite for its graduates to gain admission to other reputable institutions of higher learning or to achieve credentials for professional practice. The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality.

What types of accreditation exist?

Go to U.S. Department of Education for a general FAQ on accreditation.

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