Education Week to address reaccreditation process
Six administrators and professors will discuss reaccreditation, which occurs every 10 years
March 18, 2013, 1:38 am·
Education Week will give students a chance to learn from members of the University — including a dean in Wharton and a computer science professor — about something that affects every aspect of their academic life.
The week, which will last from March 18 to March 22, is hosting six different professors and administrators who will talk about one of six key aspects of the reaccreditation process that Penn is currently undergoing. The reaccreditation process occurs every 10 years and allows the whole University to reevaluate what is and is not working at Penn.
The topics this week will include assessing student learning, global engagement, undergraduate research, integrating knowledge, access and equity and local engagement.
“There’s nothing more important to where Penn’s education is going to go right now than Penn’s reaccreditation,” former Student Committee on Undergraduate Education Chair and Wharton senior Scott Dzialo said. “The general student body doesn’t get a chance to see what’s going on with reaccreditation and yet it is influencing students’ lives in many ways.”
Penn approaches the process of reaccreditation with specific improvements in mind.
“10 years ago the focus was on graduate education and tuition throughout graduation programs was standardized,” SCUE Chair and Engineering junior Michelle Ho said. “Those are the tangible things that come out of reaccreditation — this time the focus is on undergraduate education.”
Each day this week a different speaker will present on their area of expertise within reaccreditation and open up the discussion to small groups of 10 to 20 students.
“Students can not only hear about these six areas but also give input and really speak to the professors who are doing a lot of thinking about the specific topics,” Ho said.
The student committee for reaccreditation is composed of 16 students from both the Undergraduate Assembly and SCUE. Of these 16 students, six are assigned to a specific committee headed by the various professors.
“We looked and invited groups that were relevant to the committees and then chose student viewpoints that we thought would be important to have at the table — like Lambda [Alliance] and PRISM,” UA Vice President and College junior Abe Sutton said. “We wanted to have viewpoints that we thought would be able to add to the discussion while being connected to groups across campus.”
The ultimate goal for this year’s Education Week is to expose students to the process of reaccreditation, which they are typically not aware of. SCUE wants to give students an opportunity to discuss things that are relevant, interesting, and exciting to them, according to Dzialo.
“We’ve found that students really enjoy speaking with faculty members who they wouldn’t normally,” Ho said. “Every person on campus can find one of these groups and relate it to what they’re doing at Penn.”
In addition to a direct conversation with faculty members, students will be able to ask questions and give input in an open forum at the events throughout the week.
“We really do see it as something students should be informed of, be engaged with and be a part of,” Dzialo said. “The fact is reaccreditation is not largely heard about by the vast majority of the student body so it’s a great chance to see why this is so important to them in very real, concrete terms.”