The Reference Frame that CETYS University Adopted Within the Educational Effectiveness Self-Study
The educational effectiveness self-study had two important starting points: the recommendations offered by the WASC Team that visited us in March of 2007; and the need to create a generic model in learning assessment, a model relevant to CETYS. The construction of this model to suit our institution began in August 2007, within the Academic Vice-presidency.
The feedback provided by the WASC Team has been very important and highly relevant for the institution; and the administrative and academic departments have organized themselves to provide an appropriate follow-up to all of the recommendations. The transcendence of the work done by this team is acknowledged due to the fact that CETYS University is the first higher education institution in all of Latin America that has submitted itself to an accreditation process by WASC. The great responsibility that this step means for CETYS University was assumed by all of its members with a great sense of solidarity and respect: The administration, instructors, students, board members and employees in general enabled the development of the WASC Team visit to be highly efficient and with no complications.
We could see the depth of the analysis in the work of the Visiting Team and made us proud when they acknowledged the quality of our work, and that they could observe the seriousness and professionalism throughout the CETYS community.
The commitment of the institution regarding the follow-up on the recommendations made by the Visiting Team has been integrated into this report on educational effectiveness. Each one of the recommendations has received a code as MR#, and they have been aligned with the 4 WASC accreditation standards. This is reflected in a document that was used in guiding the work of the 4 teams in charge of the 4 standards. The document is annexed (36 and 67).
This document was created after multiple analysis sessions between the WASC- CETYS Team. It summarizes the recommendations of the WASC Team in a table, together with their relation to the standards and the CETYS area responsible for the follow-up.
In order to provide a brief answer we decided to focus on the 5 major recommendations sent by WASC in its letter after the visit from the Evaluating Team. We will describe these 5 recommendations and their follow-up:
1.Writing of the Educational Effectiveness Report With a High Degree of Analysis and With All its Evidence Documents Written in English.
Actions taken to meet this recommendation:
We analyzed and reflected on each of the recommendations made by the Visiting Team, we placed them within the pertinent standard and we assigned a person responsible for the appropriate follow-up.
Multiple working sessions were held with the WASC-CETYS teams since 2006, with the intention of analyzing the focus of this report and to define working strategies deriving from the recommendations received during the institutional capacity visit, and from the need for a better understanding of the learning assessment paradigm.
In April 2007 a Team integrated by CETYS academicians and directors attended the annual WASC convention in San José, California. During this event the group learned more about learning assessment, including about the importance of curricular.
Afterwards, almost the identical team attended a workshop on learning assessment organized by the San Diego State University in San Diego, California, in July of 2007. Finally this team attended a workshop in learning assessment organized by WASC in October 2007 in Irvine, California. These activities rounded our vision on learning assessment, and CETYS University could already count on a team of people capable of enhancing learning assessment within their institutional realms. We also learned from experts how to define working strategies to approach areas of opportunity identified by the Visiting Team.
We hired a group of translators and CETYS University met the commitment to present the evidence in English, giving a special answer to a request by WASC and the Visiting Team to have a minimum of two courses of each academic program translated into English. This requirement was set in the minutes of the July 2nd meeting in San Diego with the WASC Chairman as well as the Chair and Co-Chair of the Visiting Team.
2. Substantially Improve The Information Technology Resources in CETYS University, Specifically Those Related to The Library.
Actions taken to meet this recommendation:
In response to the suggestion made by the President of WASC in San Diego on July 2nd, consisting in visiting some American universities and getting support from a library expert to identify the best way to improve the service level in our library, in September 2007 we paid a visit to the National University. The Director of the Library, Dr. Anne Marie Secord and her staff provided us with a session where they explained their operative processes, their strategic plan, their resources and their infrastructure. The three directors of the CETYS libraries of our three campuses and the coordinator of information technology of our Mexicali campus attended this session.
After that and to address the second part of the suggestion made by the President of WASC, the institution hired Dr. Susan Parker, Director and CFO of the library in UCLA. Dr. Parker visited the libraries at our three campuses on September 19th and 20th, 2007. On October 15th, 2007, Dr. Parker presented her preliminary report about the visit; we have remained in continuous contact and the Strategic Plan of the Library includes the recommendations coming from Dr. Parker.
Also, we have hired Dr. Paul Kim to assist us in matters of educational information technology. He is the Director of Information Technology at Stanford University. Dr. Kim visited the Mexicali campus in June and October of 2007.
3.Revision of the Doctoral Programs (MR3).
Actions taken to meet this recommendation:
We first requested that WASC send us the criteria to implement a doctorate program according to the WASC standards as well as information about which universities in the United States had programs similar to ours. When we received the criteria, the coordinators of our existing doctoral programs documented these according to the criteria established by WASC. In October 2007, Dr. Celestino Fernández from the University of Arizona held a working session with the coordinators of the doctoral programs in order to review the aforementioned documentation. Follow-up on the feedback received in this meeting was provided in another meeting in Dr. Fernández´ office during the first week of December. Dr. Fernández acknowledged the quality of the structure and content of all Masters programs, and particularly the Masters in Education and the Doctorate in Education, during a working session held with the coordinators of latter programs. These documents are identified as evidence #87 included in a special chapter of this report ‘Supplemental in Doctoral Programs’.
We are focusing part of the library strategic plan effort to create a doctorate culture. To be able to set this in motion, in January of 2008 training sessions for instructors in the use of databases were scheduled. For such purposes the Educational Services Direction and its Staff of Library Directors met to assemble a Training Manual on this topic, which is attached as evidence (59-C). Immediate follow-up has been given to this recommendation made by the WASC Team, and for such purposes the budget allocated to the library for year 2008 onwards had to be significantly increased.
With the expert assistance of UCLA’s Dr. Susan Parker, we know that institutional support for the doctoral programs will improve for the benefit of the students and the instructors.
We continue hiring external instructors who are highly qualified in the subjects offered for out two active doctoral programs: education and management. The instructor list is in the office of the Graduate Operation Director. The line of the new Academic Vice-president is professional and academic excellence within the faculty staff for the Postgraduate programs.
4.Review of Masters Programs (MR5).
Actions taken to meet this recommendation:
We explained to WASC and to the Chair and Co-Chair of the Visiting Team the legality of the registration procedures for programs with the Secretaría de Educación y Bienestar Social of Baja California (Secretary for Education and Social Welfare in the State of Baja California) and the Federal Government´s Secretaría de Educación Pública (Secretary for Public Education). This explanation served to clarify how academic levels are obtained in Mexico, and how the academic programs have to be documented in order to obtain their official valid registries.
We note again that in Mexico each specialty in a Master’s program has to have separate registration. This is why so many Master’s programs are listed. However, in reality the actual number of Master’s programs offered by CETYS is. Additional information pertaining to this issue will be provided by the Postgraduate Direction.
With the assistance of Dr. Susan Parker, the Direction of Educational Services is working on a strategic plan for the library, a plan which not only includes an increase in information technology resources but also involves the formulation of the respective learning outcomes that lead to the improvement in the use of information resources and that contribute to the strengthening the culture of information use, particularly in the master’s and doctoral programs.
5..More Efficient Use of Our information for Academic Planning:
Actions taken to meet this recommendation:
Following an initiative from the Academic Vice-presidency, the Directors of Planning and Academic Effectiveness and of Institutional Effectiveness with the support from the Colleges and Schools directors have reviewed elements from the basic statistics of the institution to identify which pieces of information are needed most for planning each school period. Similarly, academic indicators have also been revised in order to align them with the concepts of Capacity and Educational Effectiveness. The next step will be scheduling the review cycles of these indicators in order to close the continuous improvement cycle.
We are working on the improvement of our information system with a special emphasis on academic technology. As we have noted elsewhere in this report, we will getting technical support and advice from Dr. Paul Kim from Stanford University.
In evidence #17 of this report, we present information on improvements and advances made through November of 2007 regarding the development of the institutional information system.
It is important to mention and comment on IENAC’s support of, and interest in receiving CETYS University information on the progress and work undertaken regarding each of the WASC recommendations. The Chairman of IENAC and other Board Members are fully supportive and actively involved in the follow-up of the process leading to this accreditation.
Along with the follow-up of the recommendations of the WASC Evaluating Team, the review of Educational Effectiveness at CETYS has led us to the following conclusions:
Our learning-centered educational model and the Academic Reform we initiated in 2004 have been strengthened through the new paradigm on learning assessment and our emerging model on learning assessment. We still have a long way to go towards putting this model into action, but in 2008 we will be selecting and evaluating a wider quantity of learning evidence our students will have achieved. Additionally, faculty training has become a priority, and that is why the institution has planned a series of workshops on learning assessment, beginning on January 7th, 2008 with the presence of Dr. Mary Allen, an expert in this area.
We already had institutional graduation profiles for each Bachelor’s program, something that was motivated by the registry requirements set by the Mexican Education authorities. Now, however, the establishment of Institutional Learning Outcomes applicable to every graduate from CETYS, as well as the formulation of learning outcomes in academic programs, has contributed to making the characterization of those graduate profiles more objective. Work still pending includes assessing to what extent learning is taking place, and modifying, as necessary based on experience, the learning assessment tools. We expect that by the visit in March 2008, the Visiting Team will be able to see progress in the implementation and operation of the e-portfolio.
Although we have been reviewing academic programs every 4 years, it is important that we review in a more comprehensive fashion the old practice of evaluating the performance of the curriculum, and we should not allow ourselves to release a new curriculum into the market without reflecting on and assessing the favorable aspects of the previous curriculum. In this way we will avoid reinventing the wheel. Again, in the periodic review the curriculum, it is critical to continue to rely on the participative leadership of the faculty. They currently participate in the curricular review scheme as Experts in Content and Curricular Design Administrators; nevertheless, in future reviews they will do so through instructor academies responsible for the curricular assessment and review. The College and School Directors as well as the Director of Curricular Development will supervise their participation and formulate the process for curricular review and revision.
Under the new organization of faculties for the review of academic programs, learning assessment will be the means to validate the best pedagogical practice and the starting point to strengthen the pedagogic skills of instructors. If learning is not taking place, faculty must be the first to propose and take actions to enhance student learning. Systematization of learning assessment is something that is a most relevant and welcomed challenge for 2008.
(MR4) Delivering quality education and having sound finances in the institution will continue to be the most influential forces in decision making. To reach both goals, CETYS must achieve a better alignment between the academic enterprise and supporting areas. Thus, we identified the following actions as necessary, together with others which will be identified later and as necessary, in order to meet the aforementioned recommendations:
Reinforce the present academic programs with an additional number of full-time professors in order to improve service to student. The professional training of faculty will be strengthened as well, together with their pedagogic skills and the opportunities that they may have to become more involved in research, publications, and participation in international exchanges, to take advantage of the formal agreements the institution has with more than 40 universities (6).
This planning has been included in Plan CETYS 2010 and will be reinforced in the Projection towards Plan CETYS 2020.
To substantially increase information resources, in academic as well as administrative areas and particularly for the library. Regarding the library, we have taken significant actions with the assistance of Dr. Susan Parker and by developing our Strategic Plan for the Library, which includes increases in budgets from 2008 forward and including future investments of the institution.
To strengthen the infrastructure, classrooms and laboratories, capitalizing on relationships with the business, service, and government sectors. We have already made significant progress the relations established over the years with numerous firms and state government agencies.
To review and be creative in our schedule planning practices so that the planning of each school period is more effective and requires fewer contingent actions.
With IENAC’s approval, the institution will initiate its next strategic planning cycle towards the Plan CETYS 2020. This planning process will give us provide an opportunity to include the various perspectives and recommendations that the WASC Accreditation process has generated. Without a doubt, this planning process will be strengthened by the feedback WASC has been providing to us, and CETYS’s commitment to educational quality and effectiveness will continue to deepen and grow stronger.
The President has indicated that he expects that this accreditation process will bring about an attitude and behaviour change in every individual participating in these efforts. The objective of CETYS University is to be able to create a culture of evidence and continuous improvement and to become an organization truly centered on learning. In this report we have documented the various efforts the institution has made to demonstrate the progress made in following up on the recommendations made by the Visiting Team, and most of all, in improving our educational effectiveness.
We fully recognize that it will take several years for CETYS to be fully transformed and become an evidenced-based, learning outcomes-focused university., However CETYS University is commitment to this path and in doing so has the support of its entire community.