UniversityOrgs, worried over re-accreditation
Orgs, worried over re-accreditation
November 21, 2010
November 21, 2010

The re-accreditation ladder has been climbed by the top 10 organizations under the Council of Student Organizations (CSO). Four professional organizations hailed from COB-SOE, three from COE, and one each from CCS, COS and CLA were this mid-year’s cream of the crop. The usual players still placed while some got defeated.

CSO recently conducted its mid-year reaccreditation. Professional and special interests organizations’ goals were evaluated.

The CSO re-accreditation Model is based on the Malcolm Baldrige Award and Total Quality Leadership. A panel composed of the CSO-Executive Board and one representative from Student Leadership, Involvement, Formation, and Empowerment (SLIFE), usually SLIFE Director, Evelyn Lopez- Esparrago, evaluates the performance of the whole organization during the period covered. Organizations are graded whether they have been able to meet a certain set of criteria.

Re-accreditation aims to preserve the quality standards of the CSO’s 39 student organizations. Mae Besoro, Executive Vice President of the Political Science Society (POLISCY) points out though that the grading system is still unclear.

She specifies that the accreditation process seems highly subjective, such as how it aims to measure how organization’s activities are supposedly in line with its vision and mission. There are some aspects in the activities that cannot be quantified.

Mikko Hizon, Vice President for Sports and Recreation of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), observes that the re-accreditation should assess if the organizations are still creating activities that will benefit their members in their academics and co-curricular involvement.

All organizations are required to undergo the re-accreditation process. However, not all of them find it necessary. Individual accounts say that good organizations are beyond the grade they get from the re-accreditation. It is about the internal operations of the organization –members, officers and their bond of friendship and professionalism.

In an article, in the October 2009 issue of The LaSallian, about the re-accreditation of the CSO organizations, it was noted that an important aspect of the re-accreditation process is the paperwork involved in the documentation of the organizations’ activities and projects. Complete documentations would be able to trace and validate if the activities actually happened or if the objectives were met.

“All of the requirements we ask from the student organizations and all the processes they undergo exist for a reason,” Macy Eusebio, coordinator of the Operations of the Student Organizations explains. She says that it is not simply about all the paperwork but the quality and substance of these requirements as well.

“It’s really about quality over quantity,” Jamie Tanjaiphen, President of the Chemistry Society (CHEMSOC) says. What matters more for her organization is the quality and relevance of the activities planned for its members. She also shares that the high attendance during their activities indicates that their members see their importance.

An officer from the Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants (JPIA) shares that the CSO officers only check the attendance of activities and whether the time and venue written in their activity form were followed.  She then questions the validity of the CSO evaluation.

JPIA consistently ranks in the top 10; in the recent reaccreditation, the organization didn’t even place in the list.

Besoro of POLISCY adds that she personally does not believe in the re-accreditation because some organizations are just forced to plan activities for the sake of being re-accredited, which for Besoro is not why the organizations should exist in the first place.

Both Regina Lizardo, Vice President for Membership of POLISCY and Tanjaiphen of CHEMSOC agree that the internal operations of the organizations matter. They believe that organizations must be left on their own to determine their plans and not be subjected to any criteria. It’s about being systematic in the planning, management and implementation of the organizations’ activities.

Assistant Professor AJ Galang of the Psychology department affirms that based on social psychology, people act differently when they know they’ll be evaluated. The organization becomes more careful or more motivated not only to do well, but also to conceal the organization’s weaknesses because of the anticipation of evaluation.

“As a social psychologist, it is important to know why you are evaluating a specific group… Everyone must have the same definition of efficiency. If the objective of the evaluation to improve a group’s performance, it would be better if the standards of what should be achieved are set by people within the organization and then benchmark to assess if they have actually achieved it,” says Galang.

“The reaccreditation makes organizations compete for the number one spot; it makes them perform even better,” Hizon of SME argues.

The results of the re-accreditation make it easier for organizations to gauge their performance, whether they were able to provide quality activities for their members and if their budget was spent efficiently during the first half of the year. The different organizations can still improve their rankings for the annual reaccreditation.

Isabel Montelibano (I, AB-ISA) believes that the re-accreditation is a form check and balance for the different organizations, and an opportunity for the organizations to improve their performances.

Guia Galvez (II, AB-CAM) also shares that, since the University follows a trimestral schedule, the needs of the students change quickly. It would be easier to evaluate how the organizations addressed such needs if their previous goals were met.

“For the organizations to improve, they have to review their accomplishmentsand do better in the future,” Michelle Lojo (II, BS-PSYC) suggests.

The organizations that didn’t place in the top 10 ranking hope to have more activities that can holistically develop their members. Also, some organizations are calling for the CSO to review their criteria and re-evaluate whether all of it is still applicable judging the performance of the reaccreditation. There is a difference in terms of what CSO and organizations see as important and good.

Judging organizations cannot limited to paperwork because there are factors that can’t be graded like solidarity, cooperation and commitment—factors that while equally important, cannot be reduced to any percentage.