Reaccreditation PUCP: we reaffirm our quality
In 2013, the prestigious IAC-CINDA awarded us a five-year institutional accreditation in the Undergraduate, Graduate, Research and Institutional Management areas. PUCP received this recognition of quality, committed to exceeding the goals set back then. This week, thanks to all our community’s effort, we have been awarded with the institutional reaccreditation for the 2018-2023 period.
Our university keeps a constant effort to have a system that ensures quality. The university aims to improve aspects related to education – undergraduate and graduate students, and to promote research, among others. To this end, it started an accreditation process with successful results. In 2013, we were awarded with the accreditation in the areas of Institutional Management and Undergraduate, Research and for the first time in the country in the Graduate area. This five-year-accreditation was awarded by Instituto Internacional para el Aseguramiento de la Calidad (IAC International Institute for Quality Assurance), of Centro Interuniversitario de Desarrollo (CINDA Inter-University Development Center). IAC – CINDA awarded the accreditation for four areas; even though only the first two are compulsory, PUCP wanted to go beyond and also requested to be evaluated in the areas of Research and Graduate Teaching.
PUCP did not stop working, the following step was to improve our quality standards in order to obtain the institutional reaccreditation. Thus, in 2016 we started this process which required PUCP community work and participation. “Accreditation offers us the possibility to have an external and objective view on how our university works. In this way, we make sure that we are ready to face the new challenges regarding tertiary education and its context. Additionally, it allows us to establish a culture of internal evaluation, based on the analysis of the identified strengths and weaknesses”, commented Eng. Jorge Zegarra, director of the Academic Affairs Office (DAA).
To achieve it, first we summoned the Institutional Accreditation Committee and the evaluation committees by areas. Then we consulted the different actors about the functioning of our university. Similarly, we collected information from the academic and administrative units in order to complete the institutional assessment. Later, we evaluated the University situation in relation to the standards of the accreditor. “In the self-assessment process we found strengths, for instance quality and accredited faculty. An aspect to be improved is to reduce the time spent by students to graduate. For this reason, we have been studying the causes and the graduation and degree modalities are being revised” stated Jorge Zegarra.
Finally, from May 29th to June 1st 2018, we were visited by the external evaluators and on November 30th that year we received the approval reaccrediting us.
Eng. Zegarra mentions the conclusions reached by the accreditor: “PUCP has a government and management model that ensures the coordination and commitment of the different authorities to the development of programs. In undergraduate programs, PUCP is recognized as leader in the country and in graduate programs, it is highly appreciated. Finally, it recognizes PUCP interest in strengthening the research area”, he pointed out.
To value accreditation in its real dimension, the Head of the Quality Assurance Office of the Academic Affairs Office, M. Claudia Solis, mentioned: “It is important because it enables us to establish a mechanism to ensure the quality of education offered to our students. In addition, it positions university and promotes the mobility of our students, faculty and professionals, while reaching the quality standards at an international level”.
Recently four academic undergraduate programs have been accredited by IAC – CINDA. Two of them belong to the School of Art and Design: Sculpture and Engraving, and the other two to the School of Social Science: Economics and Sociology. The first two hold an accreditation valid from 2018 to 2021, whereas those belonging to the School of Social Science have a period of validity from 2018 to 2023. Similarly, the Special Plan – Licentiate in Education of the School of Education has received the reaccreditation valid until 2021.
In each case, the process to reach this important goal has been complex and fruitful. The coordinator of the Sculpture program, MA. Marta Cisneros, pointed out that it was a joint effort from different programs of the school- with the aim of making changes in the curriculum. The rigorous evaluation, in addition to the visit of peer evaluators and the decision report, made her know thoroughly the strengths and aspects to be improved in her program.
In Engraving, the path to modify the program orientation started before seeking accreditation. Carolina Salinas, coordinator of the program, explained: “We aim to be a program focused on promoting social development from the creation of the image”. Having followed that path was really useful to the Engraving program, which obtained really good observations by the external evaluators.
In the case of Economics, something to highlight is the active and enthusiastic participation of all its members during the accreditation process. “It is remarkable that practically 100% of our students participated in the survey. This became some kind of census, instead of just a sample”, mentioned MSc. Ismael Muñoz, coordinator of the program. Furthermore, faculty, alumni and staff also provided valuable opinions.
About Sociology, previous coordinator MA. Percy Bobadilla, tells us that an accreditation committee was formed and he led it and work with professors: PhD Martha Rodriguez, PhD Silvana Vargas and PhD David Sulmont. Additionally, there was also the support of students and the Academic Office of Faculty (DAP). “Without the support of the colleagues, it would have been impossible to achieve it”, he added.
For the Special Plan – Licentiate in Education, the reaccreditation was an opportunity to continue enhancing the quality of the faculty and the strength of the contents. “We are accredited in a modality that is not conventional”, stated PhD. Cristina del Mastro Vecchione, dean of the School of Education about the program, which is currently blended. For both, the first accreditation in 2015 and the latest one, this modality has been approved.
Five academic programs of Engineering (Civil, Electronic, Industrial, Informatics and Mechanical) have been reaccredited by the American Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET and the the Technical Committee on Engineering Accreditation of ICACIT. Similarly, the same accreditors awarded the accreditation to Mechatronics Engineering, Mining Engineering and Telecommunication Engineering in 2016. “The accreditation makes the programs visible. We can say that we are the best university in Peru but in the USA they may not know us. But if I am accredited by ABET, I am recognized” stated PhD Sandro Paz, general coordinator of accreditation in the School of Science and Engineering.
In addition to the above mentioned, the National System of Evaluation, Accreditation and Certification of Educational Quality (SINEACE) gave recognition to the two accreditations obtained by the eight academic programs of the School of Science and Engineering. “It is similar when you obtain an academic degree abroad and then you validate it In Peru. Being recognized by Sineace means having a certification granted by the Peruvian State” said Paz.
It is important to mention that among the Undergraduate Programs Early Childhood Education and Primary Education programs have been accredited by Sineace, being valid until 2020; Chemistry, until 2019, by the National Council for Chemistry Teaching and Professional Practice A.C. from Mexico; Accounting by IAC – CINDA until 2019; and Law until 2023, by the National Council of Accreditation from Colombia.
We look forward confidently to the upcoming years to keep growing and learning.
Voices of joint work
Miguel Mejía Puente, dean of the School of Science and Engineering: “It is essential an external opinion to validate what is offered and see how it can be improved. Joint work is vital because, in the case of our school, eight programs were involved through eight professors, who were in charge of training other professors who cooperated in the process. Students and alumni were also involved”.
José Carlos Dextre, dean of the School of Accounting: “We have collaborated with the progress reached in reaccreditation by contributing to established procedures in order to improve education quality, in this case the academic training of Accounting students. Thus, together with other schools, we contribute to reach this good level offered by PUCP in the country, the continent and the world”.
Patricia Ruiz Bravo, dean of the School of Social Science: “The accreditation is important to show the quality of our teaching externally. Internally, the reaccreditation contributes to the formation process of academic programs, since you need to do self-assessment. This implies that professors, students and alumni do some reflection and try to identify positive/problematic elements and things that need to be changed”.
Voices of the accredited programs
Carolina Salinas, coordinator of the Academic Program of Engraving: “Before the accreditation process, in Engraving we had already started to make changes. To that effect, we communicated with foreign institutions, since in our country there are no universities with the major of Engraving. In that way, we started the path to accreditation. The importance of having that recognition is based on showing that what we teach has the same quality as our accredited peers abroad. This means that a student who graduates from this major may go to other universities with confidence and strength. It is a certificate of the good academic level we have”.
Marta Cisneros, coordinator of the major of “Sculpture”: “doing self-assessment in each of our programs was key to face a structural change in the curriculum. Based on this principle, we started this complex process. I consider it has been really valuable to do self-assessment following the guidelines provided by the accreditor. Thus, we got a diagnosis, which confirmed intuitions we had and let us move forward. Having obtained the accreditation gives us the possibility of opening spaces and proposing master’s degree programs to develop new approaches. Likewise, accreditation is crucial for students regarding internationalization in order to apply for graduate programs”.
Percy Bobadilla, former coordinator of the Academic Program of Sociology: “Sociology is a program of people who like to question and break the mold. As professors, we like innovation and academic autonomy. When a new system intends to set some parameters, some resistance will probably take place. That is why, at the beginning of the process, there was some concern that our reflexive, critical, rigorous and innovative aspects would be limited. However, I think that this recognition is going to help us reinforce those aspects. All professors of this program conclude that accreditation is not a straitjacket but an opportunity to become better”.
Ismael Muñoz, coordinator of the Academic program of Economics: “All students, faculty, employees, alumni, authorities and administrative staff rest assured that there is major concern to ensure and improve the quality of teaching and education provided in the academic program of Economics. In other words, there is concern to train the faculty, the way how the curriculum is conducted (from classes to syllabus) and that it can be updated and related to the field work and current situation. Being pragmatic, we get better positioned in the rankings. Achieving an accreditation means that we care about quality”.
Cristina del Mastro, dean of the School of Education: “This program offered to people from other academic programs who want to obtain an education degree in different majors, had already been accredited by IAC-CINDA. In the reaccreditation process, improvements made have been recognized. The importance of this recognition is both internal and external. The main core is to be aware of our strengths and opportunities to improve, which generates commitment. Externally, it is a recognition to the work we have been performing, and it also proves that the blended learning modality of this plan is valid. We are really pleased to have been recognized”.
Accreditation Award Ceremony
On Thursday 11th PUCP was awarded the certificate of reaccreditation by IAC – CINDA for the period 2018 – 2023. The accreditations to Sculpture, Engraving, Sociology, Economics and the reaccreditation to the Special Plan – Licentiate in Education were also awarded. This event had the participation of the pro tempore President PhD. Efraín Gonzales de Olarte, the Minister of Education Flor Pablo Medina, the executive director of CINDA María José Lemaitre, the President of Sunedu Martín Benavides and the former vice-president of Universidad de los Andes (Colombia) José Rafael Toro.
Felicitaciones a la comunidad educativa. Su servicio de calidad garantiza el logro.
Felicitaciones a todos los docentes involucrados en la acreditación de la Especialidad de Grabado, fue una tarea ardua de muchas horas de trabajo pero tuvo sus frutos, ahora podemos decir tarea cumplida.
Mis felicitaciones a la Facultad de Arte y Diseño por los logros alcanzados, especialmente a las especialidades de Escultura y Grabado.