Accrediting Doctoral Programs

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Information about Accrediting Doctoral Programs

Published on January 11, 2008

Author: Dionigi


Accrediting Doctoral Programs into the 21st 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 Considerations:  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 & Opportunities:  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.): Bologna Process: Contact Information: Dr. Luis G. Pedraja:

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