Year : 2021 | Volume
: 6 | Issue : 1 | Page : 21--23
Educational program accreditation: Personal reflections and lessons learned
Khalid A Bin Abdulrahman, Abdullah I Bukhari, Kholoud J Sandougah, Lulu A Alwazzan, Abdullah A Alzayed, Reem R Alhuthail, Waiel A Daghistani, Hassan Al-Shehri, Tariq Alasbali
College of Medicine, Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Dr. Khalid A Bin Abdulrahman
College of Medicine, Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, P O Box 7544, Othman Bin Affan Road, Al-Nada, Riyadh 13317 – 4233
The educational program accreditation is a quality assurance process to ensure the quality of educational learning outcomes and enhance the reputation of educational institutions. The accreditation process pushes institutions to meet and maintain their high standards, increasing trust and confidence among the public and impacts positively on the daily educational practices. The program accreditation experience combined pleasure and stress at the same time. The personal reflections for our program accreditation were reported in this short communication.
|How to cite this article:|
Bin Abdulrahman KA, Bukhari AI, Sandougah KJ, Alwazzan LA, Alzayed AA, Alhuthail RR, Daghistani WA, Al-Shehri H, Alasbali T. Educational program accreditation: Personal reflections and lessons learned.Imam J Appl Sci 2021;6:21-23
|How to cite this URL:|
Bin Abdulrahman KA, Bukhari AI, Sandougah KJ, Alwazzan LA, Alzayed AA, Alhuthail RR, Daghistani WA, Al-Shehri H, Alasbali T. Educational program accreditation: Personal reflections and lessons learned. Imam J Appl Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Nov 30 ];6:21-23
Available from: https://www.e-ijas.org/text.asp?2021/6/1/21/329648
Most universities and colleges tend to obtain institutional and program accreditation from national accreditation and international bodies. Perhaps the last two decades have witnessed a global movement in higher education institutions toward improving the educational process to ensure the quality of educational learning outcomes and enhance the reputation of educational institutions. In Saudi Arabia, the National Center for Academic Accreditation and Assessment (NCAAA) has played a leading role since its establishment in April 2003 to spread and strengthen the culture of quality and its practices and urge higher education institutions to prepare and obtain institutional and program accreditation in all its humanitarian and applied disciplines. Effective accreditation is considered an essential ingredient for any system of health professions education. Although the experience of the college of medicine at Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University to obtain program accreditation for its Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, is rich and somewhat stressful, it is exciting and worthy of learning from its lessons and benefiting other educational institutions in this short communication.
What Is Educational Program Accreditation?
Educational program accreditation is a quality assurance process under which services and operations of educational institutions or programs are evaluated and verified by an external body to determine whether applicable and recognized standards are met. If standards are met, accredited status is granted by the appropriate agency.
Another good definition of program accreditation stated by the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities:
Accreditation is the process by which a credible, independent body assesses the quality of a medical education program to assure that it produces graduates that are competent to practice safely and effectively under supervision as interns (or equivalent) and have been provided with an appropriate foundation for lifelong learning and further training in any branch of medicine.
Why Is Accreditation Important?
The international education specialist has summarized the main aspects that emphasize the importance of accreditation. Accreditation pushes institutions to meet and maintain their high standards, increasing trust and confidence among the public and boosting accountability. This helps potential students and their families to place a certain level of trust on the institution and course basis the accreditation received. Accreditation leads to accountability and higher levels of quality education. As a student or parent reading this, you can feel safe knowing you are selecting an institution or course that has passed stringent quality measures and vetted by others in the field.
Steps For Program Accreditation
The NCAAA has clearly stated the six steps for program accreditation process;
Step 1: The academic institution applies for obtaining program accreditation and signs an accreditation contract with the NCAAAStep 2: The program submits the required documents for accreditation, which the Center's consultants review, and notation and recommendation report is sent to the ProgramStep 3: The center completes the formation and approval of the final list of the review panel. Then, the center prepares and approves the visit schedule in coordination with the chair of the review panel and the programStep 4: The visit of the program is conducted for 3 days. During the visit, interviews are conducted with all program officials and stakeholders, facilities, and equipment are visited, and additional documents are examined as scheduled. When the visit is completed, the team chair submits the initial draft of the report, which will be revised and edited by the center's consultant. Then, the center sends a copy to the program to adjust the general information contained in the report and accept the recommendationsStep 5: The final report is sent to the Accreditation Review Committee (ARC) to verify the accuracy and consistency of the report with other reports of accredited programs and recommend the accreditation. Next, the Accreditation Council approves the recommendations of the ARC, and the accreditation status of the program is then announcedStep 6: The program prepares an annual report on its status and the efforts to implement the recommendations contained in the accreditation report. Subsequently, the center's consultants revise the report and may undertake a visit to the program (if needed), prepare a follow-up report, and send it to the program.
The Impact Of Program Accreditation On The Quality Of Graduates
There is no doubt that academic programs that obtained accreditation from national or international bodies have had a clear positive impact on their daily educational practices. Although there are indirect or intangible positive effects, the impact reflected on daily educational practices is the most important and most apparent. Each faculty member who participated in preparing for program accreditation realizes the positive impact on their daily routines. This includes attention to documentation and continuous improvement. The participation of relevant departments and units in improving courses based on feedback from students and faculty members involved in teaching the course. Moreover, the culture of quality and improvement becomes a continuous habit that is not only related to the preparation process for accreditation.
Lessons Learned From Program Accreditation Experience
The program accreditation experience combined pleasure and stress at the same time. Everyone in the college works as if it were a beehive. The dean of the college, the vice deans, the heads of the departments, the supporting staff, the faculty members, the students, the relevant university departments, everyone works within a system that resembles a healthy human body, full of vitality and activity. The goal is one, and the spirit of teamwork, cooperation, coordination, and creativity was prominent throughout the 2 years preceding the accreditation team's visit. The following are the main lessons learned from the rich experience:
Quality is good habits and daily practices aimed at improving the educational process and academic program outcomesThe existence of guides, regulations, systems, procedures, and evidence for every activity and daily practice, whether administrative or educational, is a tangible gain from the program accreditation processThe involvement of students, faculty members, and stakeholders is an essential requirement in strategic planning, especially in analyzing the reality and creating the vision, mission, and strategic objectivesSuccessful leadership engages and inspires all relevant parties, makes them feel a sense of belonging, appreciates their efforts, and improves the effective investment of its human and material resourcesThe presence of minor deficiencies in some performance indicators with an improvement plan is expected and does not mean a fundamental defect in the programPaying great attention to the educational institution's self-study report and not neglecting good and creative practices and achievements and highlighting them clearly because they are facts and patterns on the groundFocusing on the standard of learning and teaching and collecting all the evidence that confirms the quality practices from all relevant partiesAttention to the faculty member to attract, develop, and engage in the relevant aspects of quality and developmentHighlighting the role of the college in community services and documenting this daily through technology and related unitsCreating a stimulating and supportive environment for scientific research, participating in scientific conferences, whether local or international, and engaging students and faculty members to contribute to high impact international publicationsShow evidence, guidelines, regulations, and procedures on the college's website and ensure that it reaches all relevant groupsTo highlight gender justice in the educational process, related learning resources, and equality in academic and clinical training opportunities.
The basin in the experience of preparing for program accreditation seems at the beginning and end to be tiring and creates tension and anxiety among the college leadership, quality committees, department heads, faculty members, and others. However, it is beneficial, convenient, and even enjoyable when picking the fruits and seeing the gains and the positive effects reflected on the educational process daily practices. Real quality begins after obtaining program accreditation and maintaining the application of good practices as a daily habit. Obtaining academic accreditation is a strong motivator for upgrading from minimum quality standards to excellence and creativity in quality practices and entering local and international competitions.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
Not applicable, no human subjects were involved in this study.
The authors extend their great thanks and gratitude to his excellency the President of the University, his vice presidents, the Dean of the Deanship of Quality and Assessment, his vice deans, quality consultants from inside and outside the college, all units, committees, department heads, faculty members, graduates and students for their unlimited interaction, efforts, and dedication. We must extend our special thanks to the Education and Training Evaluation Commission, the National Center for Academic Accreditation and Evaluation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the honorable review and visit team from whom we learned positivity and constructive criticism.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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