by Raul Agner
Deans, chairpersons, and directors huddle in groups and rack their brains as they try to fill in and substantiate self-evaluation forms in relation to key result areas and corresponding criteria. Secretaries and office personnel sift through files and piles of documents to gather “evidences” for claims of accomplishments. Student assistants are always on the go, running errands from one office to another. Computers are in overdrive; fingers pound keyboards softly but frantically. The scene is a YouTube-worthy performance that occurs once in a hectic moon.
Welcome to the University’s preparations for the IQuAME—a huge and demanding attempt to raise the University to the highest accreditation standard: an autonomous status imprimatur from the Commission on Higher Education or CHED.
IQuAME stands for Institutional Monitoring and Evaluation for Quality Assurance that is administered by CHED. Schools who wish to attain autonomous status apply for it and set a schedule for a CHED visit whereby the school undergoes strict evaluation on four key areas: 1) Governance and management, 2) Quality of teaching and research, 3) Support for students, 4) Relations with the community, and, 5) Management of resources. If the so-called “evidences” that the school compiles and shows matches with the criteria laid out by the Commission, then the subject school will most likely pass the acid test.
Adamson University has been preparing for the IQuAME for more than a year now but it was only after Dr. Leo Lagrada, the Director for Programs and Standards of CHED, visited the School last August 22 to conduct an orientation that preparations went full swing. Immediately, Dr. Myrna Anes, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and overall IQuAME Coordinator, buckled down to forming committees to address the five key areas. From then on, meetings were held almost daily, with the accreditation room always abuzz with the efforts to beat the deadline for the submission of the required documents. On September 2, the University was able to submit the Self Evaluation Document to Dir. Amelia A. Biglete, Director IV of CHED-NCR. Tentative schedule for the CHED visit will be on the 3rd week of October.
The whole university is upbeat about the coming visit. Some finishing preparatory touches are still under way, but the main concerns have been attended to. More or less, every sector of the University knows what IQuAME is all about and is optimistic that Adamson University will hurdle the test and finally earn the much coveted autonomous status.
An autonomous status will mean enjoyment of certain benefits by the institution:
1. Exemption from the issuance of Special Order (S.O.).
2. Free from monitoring and evaluation activities of the CHED.
3. Entitlement to grant of subsidies and other financial incentives/assistance from the Commission on Higher Education, whenever funds are available.
4. Privilege to determine and prescribe their curricular programs to achieve global competence.
5. Privilege to offer a new course/program in the undergraduate/graduate level/s without securing permit/authority from the CHED. However, the higher education institution must inform the CHED Regional Office concerned of the new course/program to be offered.
6. Privilege to establish branch/es or satellite campus/es without the prior approval of the CHED, but with information to the CHED Regional Office where the new branch/campus is to be located.
7. Privilege to offer extension classes and distance education course/program to expand access to higher education, and to establish affiliation with recognized foreign higher education institution/s in pursuit of international standard of education.
8. Authority to grant Honoris Causa to those deserving, per pertinent provisions of existing CHED issuance on conferment of honorary degrees.