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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA Phoenix medical school dean might be on his way

Dr. Stuart D. Flynn

The dean of the UA College of Medicine-–Phoenix, Stuart Flynn, is one of four candidates for a position as the dean of a new medical school in Fort Worth, Texas.

This new school is through a partnership with Texas Christian University and the University of North Texas, according to Judy Bernas, the associate vice president of university relations at the College of Medicine–Phoenix.

Flynn has been the dean since 2009, according to Michael Jonen, senior associate vice president for heath sciences in the UA Health Sciences Department.

Being dean for seven years is slightly longer than the average tenure length.

“Tenure length for deans varies greatly, but previous studies have shown the average for medical school deans to be four to five years,” Jonen said.

Turnover of deans is “fairly common,” according to Dan Hunt, the co-secretary of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education and the senior director for accreditation services of the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The UA College of Medicine–Phoenix is currently seeking its preliminary accreditation, according to the LCME website.

From there, the college can be advanced to provisional accreditation and later to full accreditation.

The college’s next survey date is listed as “pending” on the LCME website. When it comes to accreditation of medical schools, Hunt said that while dean turnover will “garner some interest,” it’s not “unique.”

“The LCME can’t really say [if dean turnover will affect accreditation] until it looks at [the school] and gets the information,” Hunt said.

Jonen said that he doesn’t think the dean’s departure would have an adverse impact on the accreditation progress of the school.

“The college possesses an incredible depth of leadership talent that is responsible for the delivery of our medical education curriculum and meeting the quality standards expected of accredited programs,” Jonen said. “There is tremendous confidence in the college’s education team and their ability to continue the development of our educational mission in support of our outstanding medical students in Phoenix.”

Regardless of whether the dean’s departure could affect the college’s accreditation, his departure would mean that the school would have to look for a replacement dean.

“I don’t know when exactly they would get things started, but I know it would be important for them to have a new dean in place as quickly as they could,” Bernas said.

Flynn’s leaving could also affect the school in other ways.

“His departure would mean we would need to be proactive in continuing to build the external partnerships and relationships with community stakeholders as well as continue to advance the programmatic growth agenda of the college,” Jonen said.

These changes don’t mean the school would be unable to continue if the dean were selected to head the new medical school in Texas and had to leave the UA College of Medicine–Phoenix campus.

“We feel like the school has a great structure and we love having Dean Flynn, but the medical school will certainly continue without him,” Bernas said. “He’s put together a great medical school and hopefully he’ll continue leading this school, but if not the school will continue to shine in Phoenix.”

Jonen considers Flynn’s candidacy for the new position to be a testament of his leadership qualities and understanding of the complexities of building a new college.

“His leadership in taking the college from a branch campus, to a separately accredited medical school built upon the distributed clinical experience model with hospital system partners throughout Phoenix, will long distinguish his tenure as dean,” Jonen said.

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