Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC): Twelve undergraduate and postgraduate programs participated in pilots associated with the UC Quality Policy

In September of last year, specific pilots of twelve academic programs of different educational levels of the UC were started, to observe the operation of the instruments of the policy of quality and continuous improvement of the university. Specifically, these are two doctoral programs, four master’s programs and six undergraduate courses, which participated in the evaluation of the project “Strengthening self-regulatory capacities, through updating the policy and internal system of assurance of the quality”, which has the support of the Ministry of Education .

The project seeks to update and formalize the institutional quality policy, systematizing and recognizing the efforts and contributions made by the university community to cultivate quality in the different training, research, management and public commitment functions. The final purpose is to contribute to the achievement of the institutional mission, guaranteeing its continuity and the cultivation of existing internal quality assurance practices throughout the university, beyond the academic field.

Specifically, and following the objectives of the 2020-2025 Development Plan , within the framework of the aforementioned project, the cycles of reflection or self-assessment are in the process of being formalized, with a focus on improvement and innovation, which also implies the use of communication platforms. collaborative work between units, moving towards digitization.

“The most important thing is to strengthen our own culture of quality assurance. A culture that should not only be reactive to the demands of institutions such as the National Accreditation Commission (CNA). We must go further, and have a permanent concern” – Fernando Purcell, Academic Vice Chancellor UC


In the case of faculties and academic units, strategic planning cycles are maintained, understanding these as a mechanism for internal quality assurance and development of all areas of policy: training, research, institutional management and the link with the environment and public commitment.

Finally, the central units, specifically the vice-chancellorships and pro-chancellorships, will develop their own strategic planning cycles, in alignment with the Institutional Development Plan and focused on one or several areas of the institutional quality policy, according to their area of ​​specialty.



Evaluation, monitoring and coordination
“In our experience since the Kinesiology career , it has been a very positive and facilitating process regarding the development of the best quality assurance policies in the different areas of our career”, commented Jorge Miranda, academic and manager of the pilot at the undergraduate in Health Sciences .

The professor indicated that, after successfully completing the first accreditation process of the Kinesiology degree in 2019, “with the pilot we have started an evaluation and follow-up cycle of our improvement commitments. In this sense, the process provides us with support for the development of a systematic and organized work, through autonomous work, but with the orientation and delivery of recommendations in a dialogic and constructive environment”.

Understanding that quality is built with the contribution of all those who make up the UC community, the policy promotes different instances of academic and strategic reflection, with the participation of teachers, students, the civil servants, as well as graduates, so that everyone can contribute and commit to excellence inside and outside the university.

“As the Institute of Urban and Territorial Studies , we are part of the pilot within the framework of the accreditation of the Master in Human Settlements and the Environment. The experience has been very positive. The self-assessment process that we are currently undergoing is being carried out in a highly coordinated and articulated manner with the Academic Directorate of Teaching , and also the Directorate of Institutional Analysis and Planning, and they have provided us with fundamental support”, commented the academic and deputy director of postgraduate from the Institute of Urban and Territorial Studies, Caroline Stamm, who particularly valued the implementation of new digital tools such as Sharepoint (management application), “which have allowed us to work more efficiently,” she said.

In addition to these programs, they are also participating in the Commercial Engineering pilots ; Bachelor of Arts ; speech therapy ; Nutrition and Dietetics ; Pedagogy in Early Childhood Education (Santiago and Villarrica); the master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence ; Master in American Aesthetics ; Master’s in Construction Administration ; Ph.D. in History ; and doctorate in Sociology .

“The most important thing is to strengthen our own culture of quality assurance. A culture that should not only be reactive to the demands of institutions such as the National Accreditation Commission (CNA). We must go further, and have a permanent concern, stop to observe what we can improve, make our desire to comply with excellence effective and concern ourselves with areas of quality that we value internally and may not be requirements of the CNA or international accrediting institutions,” said UC Vice President for Academic Affairs, Fernando Purcell .

“This institutional quality policy comes to consolidate a series of initiatives for monitoring, accompanying, and co-creating the strategic plans of the doctoral programs that we were carrying out from the Graduate School a few years ago” – Pedro Bouchon, vice-rector UC Research

“This institutional quality policy comes to consolidate a series of initiatives for monitoring, accompanying, and co-creating the strategic plans of the doctoral programs that we were carrying out from the Graduate School a few years ago,” said Pedro Bouchon, Vice Chancellor of Research “This pilot has allowed validating and institutionalizing good practices in the different evaluation cycles, with special emphasis on accompanying programs during the accreditation processes and in the consolidation of monitoring plans. All these instances strengthen our system of quality assurance, self-regulation and continuous improvement at the different training levels”, he added.

The importance of the participation of the UC community
One of the bases of the Quality and Continuous Improvement Policy project is the joint work of all the people who participate in the university community. Both teachers and students, graduates, administrators and professionals, contribute to safeguarding quality, forging a culture of commitment to a job well done based on high quality standards and institutional identity.

For this reason, the participation of the actors summoned to the pilot and to the usual processes of strategic planning and evaluation of careers and postgraduate programs is fundamental.

“UC is an institution characterized by its quality and prestige, which has been achieved thanks to the efforts of talented students, top-level professors, and professionals and administrators who have done excellent work for years. The commitment to quality, in all areas of work, is a hallmark of all members of the university community. In this sense, the Quality and Continuous Improvement Policy comes to explicitly recognize that the quality of our university is the responsibility of all of us who are members of it, and to align different existing processes that seek to encourage reflection and continuous improvement within the UC”, commented the pro-rector of the UC, Guillermo Marshall.

“The commitment to quality, in all areas of work, is a hallmark of all members of the university community. In this sense, the Quality and Continuous Improvement Policy explicitly recognizes that the quality of our university is the responsibility of all of us who are members of it” – Guillermo Marshall, UC pro-rector


The proposal includes an implementation of the Institutional Quality Policy through evaluation cycles, maintaining the evaluation of programs in the training field of the Policy, as well as the strategic planning cycles developed by the faculties and academic units. These cycles will gradually be extended to the central units, as a mechanism for evaluation, improvement and monitoring of the strategic commitments in the different institutional areas.

Programs participating in the pilot of the UC Quality and Continuous Improvement Policy*

SELF-ASSESSMENT PILOTS LEADING TO ACCREDITATION
1. Commercial Engineering
2. Pedagogy in Preschool Education (Santiago and Villarrica)
3. Master’s in Artificial Intelligence
4. Master’s in Human Settlements and the Environment
5. Master’s in American Aesthetics
6. Doctorate in Sociology

IMPROVEMENT COMMITMENTS MONITORING PILOTS
7. Bachelor of Arts
8. Kinesiology
9. Speech Therapy
10. Nutrition and Dietetics
11. Master’s Degree in Construction Administration
12. Doctorate in History

*Policy proposed in the framework of the PUC19102 project.

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