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FHS staff member wins 2022 SFU Staff Award for Work Performance
SFU Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) public health program coordinator, Kate Carty, was recognized today with the 2022 SFU Staff Award for Work Performance. This award honours a university staff member whose work performance is consistently above and beyond the call of duty.
Carty is a key member of FHS’ Education Programs team. Her work encompasses two broad areas of focus: in her ‘day-to-day’ work, she supports Master of Public Health (MPH) students in securing practicum placements. Carty – along with professional health programs director Malcolm Steinberg – reach out to clinical, academic, and commercial organizations and stakeholders to encourage them to offer a practicum experience, one that not only offers a first working, professional experience in public health, but also an opportunity to engage in a research project. During the Spring semester of each academic year, Carty pairs together a practicum provider with a student, matching skills and interests that will allow both parties to work towards successful completion of the immersive experience.
“Although I’ve coordinated hundreds of practicum placements since I joined FHS in 2013, I can honestly say it is our [MPH] students who represent SFU and FHS so well, and help us maintain strong relationships with our practicum partners, paving the way for future students,” says Carty. She adds that she loves helping MPH year 1 students find a practicum that allows them to test the waters, to take what they've learned in their first year into a professional setting. “It’s rewarding to see the level of confidence that [MPH students] come back with – they feel much more prepared to finish the last six months [of the program] and get into the workforce.”
The second area of focus that Carty oversees is the coordination, management, and completion of the complex and comprehensive CEPH (Council on Education for Public Health) accreditation process. Managing this work is arguably Carty’s greatest contribution to the Faculty of Health Sciences, as accreditation requires the collection and compilation of years of data to address 48 criteria, including administrative and financial processes, student graduation rates, student outcomes, advising, community involvement, faculty scholarship, faculty service, faculty instructional effectiveness, complaint procedures, diversity and cultural competence, and much more. CEPH accreditation requires input and commentary from students, faculty, staff, partners, and external third parties – Carty is the hub who coordinates, encourages, guides and advises contributors in the development of content for the Faculty’s self-report. She also coordinates meetings, conversations, and feedback opportunities between FHS community members and the CEPH accreditation team during in-person site visit.
Is accreditation worth the work? Carty believes it is. “Being accredited assures students of a quality educational experience, one that covers essential skills and knowledge needed for today's [public health] jobs. It also means that our curriculum meets established standards with respect to administration, instruction, research, service and faculty, staff and student qualifications.”
To date, Carty has guided the Faculty of Health Sciences through two successful CEPH accreditation cycles – with the most recent cycle seeing FHS renewing its’ CEPH accredited status through to 2030. With each iteration of accreditation, Carty has established additional infrastructure and processes that facilitates better and easier data collection as well as collaboration across teams to reduce duplication of work, easing the burden of self-reporting for FHS faculty, staff, and students. These contributions have transformed accreditation from an onerous undertaking that occurs every five to seven years, to a continuous quality improvement process that, while demanding, can progress smoothly with deft coordination and collaboration.
Robyn Bailey, associate director of Education Programs and Equity noted that Carty’s work on CEPH accreditation has ensured that FHS has a strong reputation in the academic community. “The Faculty of Health Sciences was one of the first Canadian schools to attain accreditation by CEPH, and Kate has ensured our accreditation remains to this day. She participates multiple times per year in CEPH events to remain up-to-date on all new procedures and processes [and] represents FHS during these meetings with the utmost professionalism and competency.”
The SFU Staff Award for Work Performance is not the first for Carty, whose work was previously honoured with the 2017 FHS Staff Award for Outstanding Service to the Faculty and SFU. However she describes this award as “the icing on the cake” after having recently secured CEPH accreditation renewal. “[FHS has] been recognized by the accreditors for the hard work [we’ve done] – to be recognized personally for the contributions I’ve made feels wonderful!”