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Walden Magazine // Jul 20, 2020

Accolades: Holding Ourselves to a Higher Standard

Debra Tervala will lead the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation

Debra Tervala

Debra Tervala has been promoted to associate vice provost for academic accreditation and compliance and will lead Walden’s newly created Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation (IEAC).

The purpose of the office is to improve programs and services across the university and continue to elevate student success and institutional quality. The IEAC will develop, implement, and review ongoing and systematic institutional processes and practices that demonstrate how the university fulfills its mission as a higher education institution. The office also facilitates regional accreditation, such as the university’s current reaffirmation of accreditation efforts with The Higher Learning Commission, as well as oversees programmatic accreditations by specialized accreditors, such as those for Walden’s nursing, business administration, public health, teacher and principal preparation, counseling, project management, information technology, and social work programs.

“Overall, we aim to take a macro look at what we typically do with assessment and accreditation—not just from an individual program standpoint but from an institutional level,” she says. “We want to enhance our efforts so we can examine how we are accomplishing our mission, and how we can continuously improve and grow.”

Tervala has been part of the Walden family since 2012, when she was vice president of both The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership and the College of Undergraduate Studies. She left to serve as provost of Santa Fe University of Art and Design in 2014 before returning to Walden as a core faculty member in 2017. For the past year, she has served as director of academic accreditation and compliance.

Since assuming leadership of IEAC, Tervala has seen the efforts of Walden’s College of Management and Technology faculty and staff recognized with Advancement Level recognition from the Performance Excellence Network (PEN), which represents the Dakotas and Walden’s home state of Minnesota. The 2020 award is based on the Baldrige Excellence Framework and is the culmination of a rigorous evaluation of an organization’s management and performance system. The college has also been honored for its continuous improvement in academic quality with the Silver Achievement Award from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). In 2019, the college was the first recipient of ACBSP’s Bronze Achievement Award (formerly the Accreditation Plus Award).

“One of the things that makes Walden unique is the commitment that our faculty and staff have to student success,” Tervala says. “We are a student-centric organization. It’s that passion that drives us to create the best possible experience for our students.”

Dr. Shelley Armstrong
Dr. Shelley Armstrong (Walden University program director of School of Health Sciences undergraduate programs) received the Outstanding Youth Program Award from the Road Runners Club of America for her YOUth FIT program, which combines her passion for cross-country running and promoting a healthy lifestyle for children.

Emma Frenette
Emma Frenette (BS in Communication ’18) founded the Boys Ballet Summer Intensive. The program provides a safe and nurturing environment for young male ballet dancers.

LaRonda Howard
LaRonda Howard (MPH ’12) is Walden’s 2019 Outstanding Alumni Award winner. She is the founder of H.E.R. Story Productions LLC, a platform for courageous speakers to share their stories to help others find freedom in forgiveness and begin the process of healing after difficult times.

Dr. Jonas Nguh
Dr. Jonas Nguh (Walden University College of Nursing faculty member) was awarded the 2019 Lillian Wald Service Award from the American Public Health Association in recognition of his work in public health nursing.

Dr. John K. Amaglo
Dr. John K. Amaglo (DBA ’19) has been elected president of the Ghana Institution of Surveyors for the 2020–2021 session.

Tara Chalakani
Tara Chalakani (PsyD in Behavioral Health Leadership ’20) has been selected by the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies to receive the Yale University Bulldog Award for Outstanding Leadership in Children’s Services.