After rocky start, physician’s assistant program set to end

Samira Felix
News Editor

The University of La Verne has ceased all new enrollment for the master of science physician assistant practice program in anticipation of a Jan. 1, 2025, program end. This comes after the University withdrew the program from consideration by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant on April 24. 

Faculty, staff and students were informed on April 30 of the program’s pending end. The program will remain “accredited on probation” until Dec. 31.

According to the “FAQs for ULV’s Voluntary Withdrawal from Accreditation Process for Master of Science Physician Assistant Practice Program” on the University of La Verne website, the University withdrew the program to take time to re-evaluate its offerings and determine future options, after studying the accreditation requirements. 

“The choice to withdraw was really about protecting the students and I think that was obviously an appropriate move,” said Paul Alvarez, professor of kinesiology and faculty senate president. 

Second-year students expected to graduate in December 2024 will graduate with a degree from an accredited program as long as graduation requirements are met. First-year students expected to graduate in December 2025 will be provided with a plan from the University regarding the opportunity to complete the program at another institution with an accredited PA Program. 

“The intention always was to have a viable program, and obviously, carry it forward for whoever knows how long. But obviously that didn’t work out,” Alvarez said.

The 27-month program was launched in fall 2018 with the mission to educate diverse, ethical, collaborative and holistic medical professionals. In March 2018 the program received provisional accreditation. It was placed on accreditation probation in October 2021, where it remained until April of this year. 

Rick Hasse, instructor of accounting and finance and chairman of the faculty budget and compensation committee, said the program was successful at acquiring and enrolling students, but it lacked leadership. 

“We hired incompetent people to run the program, and the people who were supervising them, who are no longer in a position here in the administration, had no idea what to do,” Hasse said. “So we did things wrong.” 

Risa Dickson, interim provost since January 2024, and Kathy Duncan, interim dean of the Cástulo de la Rocha College of Health and Community Well-Being since January 2023, declined to comment on the program ceasing enrollment. 

Faculty and staff in the program along with ULV President Pardis Mahdavi did not respond to requests to interview by press time.

“The Physician Assistant Program was a wonderful vehicle to get in, but we did it on the cheap and because we did it on the cheap, we didn’t know what we were doing,” Hasse said.  “And now we’ve lost the program.” 

Samira Felix can be reached at samira.felix@laverne.edu.

Samira Felix, a junior journalism major with a concentration in print-online journalism, is news editor for the Campus Times. She previously served as a staff writer.

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