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4.6 Leadership at All Levels.
From the Board of IENAC and the Presidency and across all administrative levels of the institution, there much support for aligning their operations with students’ learning and to improve the effectiveness of the teaching-learning process. The new organizational structure has created the following entities to strengthen the academia: Academic Vice -presidency; Office of Educational Services, which includes a series of services related to the student development and his/her academic life; the Director of Academic Planning and Effectiveness, whose responsibility includes an evaluation of the institution’s educational effectiveness; the Academic Vice-president’s professional staff, which collaborates with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness in order to take actions required for assuring and improving the quality of learning.
The following examples involve a series of practices to generate information that allows the participation of directors, instructors and administrative staff in the improvement of learning, learning environment and instructor pedagogic competence, program and institutional accreditations, syllabus redesigning, the Instructor Comprehensive Development Program [PDIP], Student Tutoring Program [PTA], Professoriate Evaluation and Compensation System [SERP], Student Satisfaction Study [ESA] and the Bachelor Graduate Exam [EGEL].
- The Institution with Significant Faculty Involvement Engages in Ongoing Inquiry Into the Process of Teaching and Learning, as Well as Into the Conditions and Practices that Promote the Kind and Levels of Learning Intended by the Institution.
An example of the search for improvement in student learning and for assessing the effectiveness of the institution’s educational mission is the accreditation of bachelor academic programs. This occurs with the different accrediting agencies through the initiative of the corresponding school directors, who are supported by the college directors and various campus offices, as well as with the commitment from the faculty. In programs that have already been accredited, improvement actions are being taken and/or improvement implementations are being initiated. Not all programs are accredited; evidence is being gathered for those that have open processes. Some programs are in the accreditation process and others are beginning with the contacts deemed necessary so as to initiate the accreditation process. These processes need to demonstrate greater progress on the Ensenada Campus. On the other hand, the force and impact of the accreditation effect at CETYS require verification with regards to the outcomes that are being obtained. (Report on the follow up of the recommendations of an academic program) (26).
Through the initiative of the Office of Curricular Design and the participation of instructors, most of the 2004 & 2005 bachelor programs have been revised with the participation of the faculty of all campuses. Programs such as content outlines, learning outcomes for curricular design, assignment and learning assessment are being used by class instructors as reference. The use of logs and notes by the instructor for course improvement purposes has not been clarified. However, this is a process that was set in motion in a very short time, while more attention has been given to the design of subjects design before the beginning of a new semester, and a limited time and effort has been assigned to the feedback of programs that had already been redesigned. (Report of redesigned programs and faculty list) (27).
Instructor Comprehensive Development Program [PDIP]
One of the recent actions of the Academic Vice-presidency has been the creation of the Instructor Training and Technology Center. Starting this semester (2007-2), the function for the creation of the instructor development program has been redesigned, since only a few isolated courses had been offered. The course on Learning Centered Education was reinstated. A workshop for the design of assessment tools is offered in Mexicali, through Blackboard. However, the impact of these actions require verification regarding the outcomes being obtained. (Evidence of instructor participation in the education certificate program) (28).
Student Development Center (CEDE)
The Student Development Center (CEDE) has been recently created with the leadership of the Presidency and the support of the Academic Vice-presidency, as part of the Educational Services that are dependent on the Academic Operation (OPA), so that the institution is able to standardize the efforts to support student academic development, through vocational, educational and personal orientation. On the three campuses, at the undergraduate level, there is the organization and personnel that work with at-risk students, with the purpose of improving their learning and reducing the drop-out rate, guiding them to the appropriate entity. These processes that had been operating differently on each campus, although with the same objective, are now standardized with the same structure and name: CEDE. (39) This center also operates, promotes and supervises the efficiency of the student tutoring program (29).
Instructor Evaluation and Compensation System [SERP]
The faculty at a Bachelor’s Degree level is evaluated by means of a practice that involves students, and that has been in place since 1969. The SERP has been monitored by the Office of Academic Operation and the school directors are essential for its most valuable use. This instrument is used to evaluate the effectiveness of the in-class teaching-learning process every semester; with regards to administration, it evaluates the instructor’s punctuality, attendance, submission of outcomes, fulfillment and collaboration with the institution. Currently, the system is being restructured to administer it on-line and thus to have the results in a more timely manner. Thus, the system will permit reports that can be managed electronically, including outcomes; and it will be applied to all the classes of every instructor and not only to just two of the instructor’s courses, as it is currently done. One of the problems of the current system is that outcomes are briefly analyzed, focusing mainly on the financial compensation for instructors who earn high evaluations. Another application of these outcomes is to avoid rehiring instructors who constantly receive poor evaluations. (SERP) (30)
Bachelor Graduation Exam [EGEL]
The application of this exam is under supervision of the academic division. It is a standardized test that is given nationwide to many bachelor graduate students. The EGEL is not administered for all bachelor programs, since the CENEVAL has not been able to prepare this exam for all academic programs.
Even tough the EGEL exam evaluates the quality of graduating students with regards to a defined standard, its outcomes are rarely used for the review of academic programs. Clearly, we need to work on the analysis of our programs with the competencies assessed in this exam and then make decisions about the differences. Currently, not all schools emphasize equally the importance of this exam and thus the preparation of their students for taking it. In most cases, they only inform and recruit students for this test. (EGEL-results) (31).
Students Satisfaction Survey [ESA]
The campus directors and the Presidency are the main promoters for the execution of this qualitative survey that is conducted through the Office of Development and Promotion. This survey includes all educational levels in the institution. Outcomes are provided and discussed with all directors from the administration and the academic division so that the corresponding departments implement corrective actions. In the last applications of this survey, the need to improve the student milieu emerged as a major result. The improvement actions require the identification on the students’ own account of what would be a good student environment (ESA) (32).
Traditionally, CETYS University has carried out periodical reviews of its bachelor academic programs (every 4 years). Such review usually entails shorter cycles for graduate programs. In both cases, the involvement of the faculty is unquestionable. Holistically speaking, the primary goal of these processes is program improvement, including curriculum and teaching. The short response times demanded by the accelerated changes in the world, particularly in science, have resulted in the program evaluation and revision processes to be carried more efficiently than they used to be. As a result of these periodic reviews, the syllabus has been identified as the starting point for curricular development. The syllabus contains topic units, course description, learning outcomes, course entrance profile, pedagogic principles and educational model nuances that are to be encouraged, as well as the evaluation of the supplemental resources and learning activities. The professoriate has been responsible for designing these elements. At CETYS University this is known as “micro curricular design”, while the syllabus design is known as “macro curricular design”. The micro curricular design is completely developed by the CDM and SME bodies.
The macro curricular design involves the participation of the Office of Curricular Design, College Directors and School Directors. Its main task is to define the design parameters of bachelor and graduate academic programs. These parameters are related to providing responses to the needs described by employers, to the recommendations of the accrediting agencies and to the requirements of the Secretaría de Educación y Bienestar Social (SEBS). Aside from the aforementioned, the institutional purposes of CETYS University should be added. Based on such parameters, the following aspects are defined: program length, educational axis, the credits required to earn the degree, the hours of academic work that students have to complete both in a curricular and co-curricular fashion and the cost structure in order to determine the corresponding tuitions. (A bachelor/postgraduate program) (33 and 34) (Academic Program documentation format) (35).
We have made several periodic reviews and we expect to improve on the use of all the information gathered that is related to the administration of academic programs, as well as the best practices on macro curricular design that have been developed in the past. For this reason, in 2008 we will initiate a learning assessment system, with the support of information systems, in order to gather and analyze information regarding the performance our academic programs and the students’ academic performance. The latter is in response to some recommendations made by the WASC Team (MR1, MR2, MR9, MR10, MR16).
4.8 The Role of Stakeholders in the Assessment of Effectiveness of Educational Programs.
CETYS In addition to internal evaluations, the University looks to its alumni and to employers in order to assess the effectiveness of its academic programs. For such purpose, it uses several tools and studies from the field of institutional research, as well as those recommended by the accrediting agency (25 y 26).
Even though the mechanisms implemented to gather opinions from different groups, which decide and guide the conduction of periodic reviews of academic programs, can be improved, our greatest area of opportunity is to make the most of its outcomes, and those generated by our own information systems regarding the performance of the academic programs.
On the other hand, it is necessary to include a group of faculty in the revision processes of academic programs in order to enrich its design and for instructors to better engage in making the most of these programs. The learning assessment process that should be established to evaluate our students’ learning requires the participation of such scholars, which provides another justified reason for its establishment. This action will reinforce quality assurance in micro and macro curricular design.
Although it is necessary to use the data collected from studies more efficiently, we are currently working on the creation of mechanisms that generate knowledge and intelligence about the variables that are used in various studies, in such a way that the information systems can be an advantage of great value for the decision making process in our institution.
Besides the studies of vocative demand and employment demand, the periodic reviews also consider the State Government Strategic Planning and its Entrepreneurial Development Policy, as well as the Educational Development Plan of the Federal Government. The creation of alliances, agreements and establishing relationships with interest groups are essential elements for fulfilling the CETYS mission.
The IENAC seeks for the institution, through the exercise of its mission, to respond to the needs of the region.
CETYS University applies and obtains outcomes from its strategic planning processes, but it needs to improve its effectiveness in the achievement of its strategic goals. For such purposes, the administrative levels of the institution have to improve their ability to analyze and discuss information generated by the operation of their strategic planning, as well as to respond more effectively to the opportunities provided by the environment. The professoriate, directors and staff are firmly committed to the mission of the institution; however, this commitment must become evident in the generation of innovative ideas that result in an organization that is more focused on learning and continuous improvement.
The IENAC’s Executive Commission has authorized the Planning Committee to begin with the formulation of Plan CETYS 2020, with the participation of internal and external publics. This development plan will create a new vision along with new programs and goals, which are able to redirect the commitments that are currently present in the “Plan CETYS 2010”.
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