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Accrediting Doctoral Programs into the 21 st Century. Dr. Luis G. Pedraja Executive Associate Director MSCHE Tbilisi State University 25-26 June 2005. Assessing Challenges and Strategies for Quality Assurance in Graduate Programs. PRESENTATION OVERVIEW. Background: What is Accreditation?

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accrediting doctoral programs into the 21 st century

Accrediting Doctoral Programs into the 21st Century

Dr. Luis G. Pedraja

Executive Associate Director

MSCHE

Tbilisi State University

25-26 June 2005

Assessing Challenges and Strategies for Quality Assurance in Graduate Programs

presentation overview
PRESENTATION OVERVIEW
  • Background: What is Accreditation?
  • The Bologna Process: Implications
  • Accreditation Criteria
  • General & Specific Considerations
  • Assessment Considerations
  • Challenges & Opportunities
  • Conclusion & Questions
background what is accreditation
Background: What is Accreditation?
  • Quality Assurance & Enhancement
    • Sustains and strengthens quality and integrity
    • Seeks a commitment to excellence & improvement
    • Promotes public confidence
  • Self-Regulation & Peer Review
  • Voluntary and/or Government Mandated
the bologna process implications
The Bologna Process: Implications
  • Berlin Communiqué: Doctoral Degree as Third Cycle (Level)
  • Access to Doctoral Studies: Masters Level/ Second Cycle & Specific Access Requirements
  • Salzburg (2005): Ten Principles
    • Duration of Degree: 2-3 Years
    • Assessment; Transparency; Research

Sources: “A framework for Qualification for the European Higher Education Area”; Bergen Communiqué.

accreditation criteria
Accreditation Criteria
  • Appropriate to institution’s mission and context
  • Focused study & relevant independent research
  • Specialized nature & program coherence
  • Mastery of increasingly difficult subject matter
  • Differentiates between degree levels
  • Curricula provide for development of research and independent thinking skills at advanced level
  • Faculty with appropriate credentials
  • Assessment of student learning outcomes & improvements made based on assessment

Source: Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education (MSCHE)

general specific considerations
General & Specific Considerations
  • Does It Fit the Institution’s Mission & Context?
    • Institutional commitment to the field & program
    • Adequate Funding & Support
  • Are There Adequate Resources?
    • Access to information (libraries; Internet; etc.)
    • Research capabilities (equipment, funds, etc.)
    • Qualified faculty (Ph.D.s; field of specialization; experience)
  • What Are the Program Goals?
    • Develop researchers, scholars, teachers, peers, and/or independent thinkers
general specific considerations1
General & Specific Considerations
  • What Are Some Desired Skills?
    • comprehensive knowledge base of subject & applicable research methodology/techniques
    • able to contribute to field through research, publications & development of new skills or processes
    • ability to effectively communicate subject matter to specialist/non-specialist and instruct others
    • Skilled in critical thinking, analysis, evaluation, problem solving, self-reflection, and independent thinking

Adapted from Jenny Moon, “Linking Levels, Learning Outcomes and Assessment,” Exeter University.

assessment considerations
Assessment Considerations
  • Depend on Goals and Desired Skills/Outcomes
  • Direct & Indirect Measures (Do they reflect desired outcomes?):
    • Comprehensive exams, dissertation/ thesis
    • Presentations, symposia, and/or dissertation defense
    • Supervised teaching & research
    • Benchmarks and data comparison with others
    • Marketability of students (Are they being hired?)
    • Long term: promotions & contributions to field by graduates
    • Indirect Measures: evaluations, focus groups, etc.
challenges opportunities
Challenges & Opportunities
  • Adequate Peer Review:
    • Not enough qualified peers at doctoral level for effective review in some areas of study and geographical regions
    • Availability of reviewers
    • Cost and travel concerns
  • Cultural & Political Considerations:
    • Language and cultural differences
    • Academic freedom & censorship
    • Political instability & government support
challenges opportunities1
Challenges & Opportunities
  • Resources & Comparability:
    • Available resources can vary between regions, institutions, and programs
    • Intensity and rigor of program are difficult to assess
  • Pedagogical Training:
    • Doctoral students need training in pedagogy & supervised teaching opportunity to be effective instructors (often absent in programs)
  • Globalization:
    • Market demands & ease of communication
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Does one model fit all?
    • Differences between academic & professional degrees
    • Need to account for differences between disciplines (technical, scientific, social sciences, humanities, etc)
    • Importance of cultural contexts (cultural differences can contribute new insights, perspectives, etc)
    • Non-traditional models should not be dismissed
  • Continued dialogue enriches the process & assures success
resources
Resources
  • Resources Available on Internet:
    • Middle States Commission on Higher Education Publications (U.S.A.): www.msche.org
    • Bologna Process:
      • www.bologna-bergen2005.no/
      • www.aic.lv/ace/ace_disk/Bologna/index.htm
  • Contact Information:
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