Page 1 - 2
CREATING AN ORGANIZATION COMMITTED TO LEARNING AND IMPROVEMENT
CETYS University is an organization that is fully committed to maintaining its academic prestige and to effectively responding to the needs of the larger community. Thus, the institution bases its daily actions on continuous improvement processes and long term learning. The interest in obtaining accreditation by WASC reflects this institutional position.
In this section of the report, we describe the ways in which the team in charge of Standard 4 worked to address the WASC Team recommendations regarding the following topics:
MR 1: The University needs to invest in information resources.
MR2: To drive academic planning and to focus on learning outcomes.
MR7: To find a balance between current work demand and new programs.
MR9: The institution needs to utilize information more efficiently.
MR10: CETYS needs to focus more on academic planning.
MR16: The use of information on student performance for planning purposes.
STRATEGIC THINKING AND PLANNING
(CFR’s; 4.1, 4.2, 4.3)
The current and future development of CETYS University is based on and oriented towards the “Plan CETYS 2010”, which includes among other elements, measurement and a set of strategic plans: Strategic Programs 2007-2 (15); which were revised yearly by the Presidency, the Vice-Presidents and their professional staff members. This revision is a result of the changes taking place in at least three interrelated areas: (a) changes originated by the evolution of the organization, as an organism that learns and develops throughout time; (b) the changes that occur in the immediate environment of the institution; and (c) those changes originated by the natural continuous interaction between the institution and its surroundings. Following, we will present the central strategic ideas of the institution that has been fed with information of from its environment, interaction with the business and service sectors, among others.
4.1 Academic Planning
This institution has a strategic plan in which the annual priorities and actions are specified. This plan is reviewed every six months with the participation of all of its functional areas. Until December of 2006, educational planning was in charge of the Education Division.Once the organizational structure was modified with the designation of the new Academic Vice-president, all education planning will be the responsibility of this office. A central feature of this new organizational structure is to provide a greater voice for the academic area by fostering the participation and commitment from all who are part of the academic enterprise (VPA Work Plan) (23).
An obvious example of the exercise of academic planning under this new structure is the formulation of a learning assessment model that includes the definition of missions and visions, both from the academic units, as well as from the academic programs. Similarly, we have designed and formulated learning outcomes (SLOs) to be applied both at an institutional level (16) and at the level of the academic programs, thus at the same time complying with one of the WASC Team recommendations (MR2).
The Office of Education Services and the Office of Information Technology have launched the design of an academic information system (17) which will include the portfolios that document the evidence related both to the achievement of learning outcomes by the students and the teaching practices that are considered to be of the highest quality (MR1). In developing these projects, we have been greatly assisted by Dr. Paul Kim from Stanford University, who visited our institution twice: on June 13th and on November 15th and 16th, 2007 (18). We expect that these institutional projects will result in better decision making in the academic planning area. This effort was also another recommendation from the WASC Team.
4.2 Alignment of Institutional Needs, Strategic Objectives and Priorities.
One of the results of the institutional reorganization has been that the University Strategic Plans are generated by entities such as the Presidency, the Academic or Administrative Vice-presidency, and with input provided by the college directors, e.g., administration, engineering, and psychology, whose participation is now more frequent, systematic and efficient. The main objective of this new way of conducting business is to achieve a closer alignment of the existing needs in the various university entities with the strategic objectives and available resources.
The use of the Balance Scorecard (BSC) tool will allow us to achieve greater effectiveness in the supervision, monitoring, and support of academic projects, which in turn will lead to the strengthening of the institution’s educational model. The work of all the university entities under this new structure will allow us, first and foremost, to improve the university’s educational mission and secondly to be in a position to better access and obtain national and international accreditation processes (CETYS 2010 Plan) (1).
4.3 The Use of Data in the Planning Process.
In its strategic planning process the university uses information provided by three primary sources:
- BSC indicators and the “Plan CETYS 2010” (22).
- Data related to the academic performance of its students.
- Qualitative and quantitative observations obtained by the tutors at the three campuses.
- Information systems.
Following we will describe the way in which each one of the aforementioned sources contributes to the data-based strategic planning.
1. BSC Indicators and Plan 2010
The data provided by these control instruments are used mainly to assess the success (pertinence, accuracy) of the actions associated with the objectives of Plan 2010. This evaluation is conducted every six months and involves all of the functional areas of the institution. This set of indicators includes a measurement with which educational effectiveness and student learning are assessed (BSC Semester Control Boards) (21).
2. Academic Performance of Students
The Curricular Development Direction (DDC), (a unit within the Academic Vice-presidency), monitors/supervises/updates the various instruments with which student academic performance is assessed every semester. Teaching-Learning Centers (CEA) operate on each of the campuses, which under the new organizational structure are called “Student Development Centers” (CEDE). Such centers are in continuous contact with the student academic performance vicissitudes, and are supported by a team of tutors from the full-time instructors of each of the schools (Tutor Report) (20).
3. The Role of Tutors
Due to their close contact with students, tutors are able to obtain quite valuable qualitative information that is used to directly provide feedback to the students in a respectful manner regarding their academic performance, and also by using the data generated by the assessment instruments given to each student. In sum, this results in an emotional-educational monitoring of students which has yielded quite positive results at the Tijuana Campus, and thus the emphatic recommendation to replicate it, respecting the regional idiosyncrasy as well as the institutional uses at the other campuses. In this way we will be fulfilling a recommendation on this matter made by the WASC Team (MR14) Tutor Report (20 and 29).
4. Information Systems
The lack of information systems that facilitate the timely access to quantitative and qualitative data that are produced in the different university entities hinders their incorporation into the academic planning process so it may be continuously improved. We are systematically working to develop and implement the academic information systems that will facilitate all of the activities related to learning assessment. It is important to relate the results obtained by the CEDE with the information obtained from the learning outcomes in order to have a clearer understanding of what takes place at the University in this area (MR10).
COMMITMENT TO LEARING AND IMPROVEMENT
(CFR’s: 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.8)
4.4 The Institution Employs a Deliberate Set of Quality Assurance Processes.
CETYS University has a basic set of systems and academic and administrative processes to ensure the quality of its educational services. For instance, to ensure the quality of students’ learning, CETYS University makes use of different quality assurance processes, among which are the following:
- A process of creating new academic programs
- Student Selection
- Instructor Selection
- Orientation and Support for Students
- Orientation for Instructors
- CENEVAL EGEL Tests
- Admission Exams
As outcomes of these processes, we note that all of the academic programs that were opened in 2007, such as the Service Administration Program and the Master’s Degree Program in Aerospace Engineering, complied with all established institutional practices. The same can be said of all the students that were admitted and of all the instructors that were hired (Approval Process of the Bachelor’s Degree Program in Service Administration, LAS) (24).
Despite the existence of documentation of processes such as the aforementioned, since formulating its “Plan CETYS 2010”, the institution detected that there is an area of opportunity in the description, simplification, and automation of its quality assurance processes. Additionally, it is necessary to develop a learning assessment process that will allow us to be more effective in assessing educational effectiveness.
4.5 Institutional Research.
The institution has created a Research Guiding Plan (83), consisting among other elements, of the regulations that control research activities, the guidelines that identify the research relevance for CETYS, and the programs and projects that can be undertaken. At CETYS University, research in two main fields of investigation is being conducted: one that promotes projects aimed at institutional and educational research (PIIE), and another that entertains academic research projects (PIA). Each of these two programs is divided into two subprograms as follows:
Institutional and Educational Research (PIIE)
- Institutional Research Subprogram
- Educational Research Subprogram
Academic Research Program (PIA)
- Scientific Research Subprogram
- Research Skills Development Subprogram
The progress made and outcomes that have been obtained from the research carried out in 2006 and 2007 are the following:
The Institutional Research Subprogram consists of the projects proposed and developed by different departments of the University, for example, the Office of Institutional Promotion and Development (DDPI), the Office of Institutional Effectiveness (DEI), and the Administrative Vice-presidency, among others. Financial resources have been allocated to each of these departments in order to support such studies.
In this subprogram, the following research projects were formulated and carried out during 2007-08:
- Alumni Monitoring Survey (DEI)
- Survey of Alumni Reviewed by Employers (DEI)
- CETYS Alumni Employment (DEI)
- Potential Market (DDPI)
- Satisfaction Survey (alumni, parents, etc.)
- Image and Positioning Survey (DDPI)
- Study of the Competition (DDPI)
Usefulness of the Aforementioned Projects
The alumni survey allows the institution to gather information on the professional and work development of its alumni, the fields in which they are working, as well as their social, economic and political participation in our region. Another important aspect of the survey is to obtain the ethical profiles (their values) of alumni and their professional development. Results from this survey, which is carried out every six years, are disseminated among academic directors and faculty in order to provide feedback for the curriculum and the university administration.
Satisfaction Surveys provide information regarding the quality of educational services provided by the institution, thus, they allow for the identification of issues as well as areas of opportunity in different departments. Results are disseminated at the campuses, with the request to take actions towards the improvement of critical situations.
Potential Market Research Surveys document information regarding to the number and types of students expected to enroll. This information is extremely useful since the Administrative Office is able to establish student estimates for the following periods. Results from this survey are disseminated among academic directors and instructors.
Survey of Employers Perception with regards to the Performance of CETY’s Alumni.
This study provides valuable information related to the characteristics of professionals needed by employers. It also allows for a performance evaluation of professionals that graduated from CETYS, as well as the identification of the companies’ most important values. The last study of this kind showed a comparison between the needs of the business sector and the profile of CETYS’ alumni. Results from this survey are disseminated among College Directors and those in charge of designing academic programs.
Image and Positioning Surveys provide valuable information regarding how different publics perceive our institution, including relative to other higher education institutions in our region. Based on this survey, improvement actions are established in the communication processes, linkage with the media, designs for printed media campaigns and other means of marketing and promotion.
Alumni Employment Survey. This survey is carried out in two stages: first, at the time the student graduates, and second, six months after graduating. The survey provides data regarding the type of employment obtained by alumni. It is important for the university to know if the job of any given student is within his/her professional field. Results from this survey are shared with the academy in order to carry out improvement actions related to the academic programs that are being offered. It should be mentioned that it was decided that this survey would be to conducted annually, instead of twice a year.
All surveys have generated valuable information that inform and guide decision making and a series of actions have resulted from them; unfortunately, not all actions are in written form and with sufficient evidence. It is necessary for the institution to establish the documentation of improvement actions that result from such surveys (MR9).
The following actions have had an impact on the four research subprograms from the Research Guiding Plan: events to promote the Research Institutional Program (PII) have been initiated for all instructors on the three campuses, three courses are offered to instructors, one on each campus in Research and Funding, and a course on researcher training is offered to faculty on the Tijuana campus. The creation of the Multidisciplinary Institute, the CEDES Center and the Humanism and Values Center, all are intended to support internal and external research. The process (agreement and request) to incorporate instructors into the Sistema Nacional de Investigadores (SIN) (National System of Researchers) before the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) was initiated. An institutional budget for research has been established with internal funds. Research projects financed with external funds are supported and promoted. See report from Research Director. (Employee follow-up survey) (25).
Page 1 - 2