University of the Philippines Los Baños
Friday, 09 June 2017 10:12

UPLB unit heads learn importance of QA in higher education


“We cannot be talking about our greatness. We need to have somebody talking about it,” said Dr. Maria Cynthia Rose B. Bautista, UP vice president for academic affairs, as she emphasized the importance of quality assurance (QA) to UP.

Dr. Bautista is one of the speakers who explained the concepts and prospects of QA in higher education setting during the seminar called “HEARTS” on June 7-8. HEARTS, which stands for “Higher Education Assessment for Relevance, Towards Sustained Institutional Excellence: An Orientation” gathered more than 90 academic and administrative unit heads of UPLB at the Development Academy of the Philippines, Tagaytay City.

QA is defined as the “on-going, continuous, and structured process of evaluating and maintaining the quality of a higher education system, institution, or program.” Dr. Bautista admitted that QA is new and not ingrained in the culture of UP.

Dr. Bautista articulated the need for UP to have an institutional QA that would be externally reviewed and assessed. “Unless we get reviewed, our programs, no matter how good they are, will only be good for those who know us. Let us work on quality for itself so that we would be fair to the students who go through our doors,” she said.

Likewise, Dr. Portia G. Lapitan, vice chancellor for academic affairs, in her welcome remarks, also emphasized quality of education in the light of the call for QA. “All of us in the education sector should feel strongly about ensuring that we are giving the best learning opportunity for our students,” she said.

Concepcion V. Pijano, executive director of the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU), explained the differences of internal and external QAs. She also differentiated the ASEAN Quality Assurance Framework and the ASEAN Quality Assurance Network (AQAN), the former being a reference point while the latter being the sharer of good practices in QA. Pijano also discussed the ten principles of internal QA and the basics of institutional assessment, among others.

Meanwhile, Dr. Philip Ian P. Padilla, faculty member at UP Visayas and former UP faculty regent, presented the organizational set-up of the proposed QA Office in UP. He also tackled the framework for institutional assessment of the ASEAN University Network-Quality Assurance (AUN-QA).

Dr. Nina M. Cadiz, director of the Office of Student Affairs, shared the AUN-QA experience of UPLB in obtaining certifications for its undergraduate programs in biology, development communication, agricultural and biosystems engineering, agriculture, and forestry. Dr. Cadiz, an AUN-trained assessor, was the director of the Institute of Biological Sciences when BS Biology obtained its AUN-QA certification in 2014.

Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., who is currently in Paris to sign institutional agreements, delivered a video-recorded inspirational message. He told the participants that UPLB is one of the 11 higher education institutions in ASEAN that was chosen to undergo the AQAN institutional assessment under the European Union Support to Higher Education in the ASEAN Region (SHARE).

On the second day of the seminar, Dr. Serlie Barroga-Jamias, vice chancellor for community affairs and an AUN-trainee, discussed the AUN-QA institutional assessment criteria. According to her, it could serve as an inspiration in preparing UPLB’s self-assessment report for its participation in SHARE. She also identified the UPLB units that could address requirements that need to be complied with for UPLB’s institutional assessment.

HEARTS, one of the preparation activities for the said institutional assessment, was organized by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. (Mark Jayson E. Gloria)