Pursuant to its theme of uniting all organizations, the Council of Student Organizations (CSO) has recently revised their accreditation model to facilitate a system in which organizations will be graded accordingly along with their respective efforts. This initiative aims to address certain constraints that have been present in the current accreditation model.
Deviating from the semi-annual to annual process of accreditation is one of the more distinct amendments in the new model. CSO also plans to incorporate a consultative type of approach in giving feedbacks to the organizations. With this scheme, S-LIFE now hopes that all 39 organizations that embody the council foster better relations amongst each other in this academic year.
The new model seeks to address the problems of the previous accreditation scheme. CSO designed the previous ranking system to award organizations’ efforts. Furthermore, this model was devised to be able to set an ideal benchmark by virtue of example of the top ranking organizations.
However,making it to the top rankings does not concern the organizations as much as they are concerned about the lack of criteria towards the arbitrary grade computation.
EconOrg president, Jin Ong (V, AE-APC) shares, “Previously we felt that the grading system was inadequate in justifying improvement among organizations, because it focuses more on documentations, that is establishing paper trail in response to measuring the performance of an organization. My perspective is that if we were given the option to choose whether a perfect documentation process or impact for members, certainly we would choose the latter.”
The ranking also entails organizations to be enlisted in the top rankings that the CSO discloses annually. Inadvertently, the ranking system insinuates a competitive mindset among the organizations.
“It [disincentivized] organizations to help each other,” says Ong, who furthers that organizations start to become reluctant in disclosing their best practices because of fear of superseding ranks through acquired practices from each other.
On the other hand, Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants (JPIA) president, Eunice Tan (IV, BSA) attests that, “organizations are rather apprehensive in knowing what might be the [ranking outcome for the year]. Unfortunately for organizations who merit a lower rank, it really undermines their reputation as an organization.”
“The rationale behind the revision is to assert that organizations need not solely focus their efforts in improving their overall rank status,” states current CSO chairperson, Julie Santioque (IV,FIN).
She furthers that with this new system, the CSO will facilitate better inter-organizational relations, simultaneously helping each other without the challenge of one surpassing the other.
Additionally, this new system is analogous to a level based system, which Ong believes encourages organizations to focus on the task at hand without fear of getting demoted.
“When CSO announced the revised accreditation model, it was well received by organizations,” says Mary Ann Lu (IV, APC), Business Management Society (BMS) president. She is confident about the newly fostered bilateral manner of addressing concerns, “wherein organizations and the CSO now can discuss matters on a mutual level, unlike in previous model where organizations just needed to present, and CSO [in turn, would give] their feedback regarding their presentation.”
Yet, among other previous concerns, this new model eliminates the anxiety experienced in complying with the previous ranking system.
Certain adjustments have been made to the evaluation criteria in the accreditation system. An increase of five percent is set for the observation and practice of Lasallian values (‘Lasallianess’), while Finance Management is given a decrease of five percent.
This change is initiated through the joint efforts of CSO and the administration: the University is now putting an emphasis in producing student leaders embodying Lasallian values.
The revised model now only mandates one accreditation per academic year. In turn, a mid-year accreditation is being replaced by a mid-year progress report through which organizations will undergo a performance assessment under CSO and S-LIFE.
In terms of ranking, CSO will now cease its annual practice of publicly disclosing the ranks of the organizations. This system is parallel to the Dean’s List (DL) honors program of the University, wherein organizations that meet a certain grade will be relegated to either first or second DL depending on the individual results of the organizations.
Deliberations among CSO and the administration regarding revisions to the accreditation model have been concluded last summer.
CSO’s new accreditation system is a precedent that clarifies what constitutes improvement among organizations, not limited within the confines of a ranking system.