Description of the accreditation process
1. Accreditation/re-accreditation request
Higher education institutions aiming to undergo the assessment process in order to accredit their education programmes shall have to write a request letter to the CACEI addressing the General Director asking for the beginning of the assessment process for the education programme that they want to accredit. Likewise, the institution will have to fill out the “Hoja Cero” sheet available in the CACEI web page; in this form, the institution will indicate the general data of the education programme to be assessed as well as the objective of the programme, the profile of the graduate stated in competencies and the work field for the graduates.
2. Formalization of the collaboration agreement
In order to formalize the process, a collaboration agreement is signed stating the rights and obligations of both parties; it is important to mention that the pay for the assessment services aiming at an accreditation is also included in this stage.
3. Institution’s self-assessment
The self-assessment process is the reflection of the institution concerning its education programme taking into account the categories, parameters, criteria and defined standards within the reference framework. These valid reference frameworks comprise ten analysis categories: Academic staff; students; syllabus; learning evaluation; comprehensive training; learning-support services, linkage-extension, research or technologic development, infrastructure and equipment, administrative management and financing
This process is completed online, which allows answering questionnaires and, loading background data and information necessary for the assessment.
4. Nomination of the Technical Commission
The specialty technical commissions are the academic groups in charge in their role of experts in their field in engineering to nominate the ideal candidates to be members of the assessment committee, each of which will be integrated by three people: a coordinator and two reviewers.
5. Integration of the Assessment Committee
Once confirmed the participation of the three members of the assessment committee, they will be notified of the date for the assessment visit; they will also receive in advance the questionnaires for self-assessment together with the background data sent by the institution for their own revision and analysis. The institution is also told in advanced about the date for the initial assessment and the names of the reviewers to which the institution will have to reply accepting or declining this proposal; whenever the proposal is declined, the institution shall have to argue its reasons. It is important to mention that the integration of the assessment committees is conducted in absolute compliance to impartiality policies assuring transparency.
6. Evaluation of the education programme
The assessment visit takes place on the agreed date; the assessment committee shall physically inspect and verify the conditions under which the education programme is actually being employed. Included in the visit agenda are some interviews to various parties which participate in the assessed programme in order to confirm that the information stated in the self-assessment document matches with the information obtained during the visit. At the end of the on site assessment, the committee will complete three reports online: the indicators assessment summary; the matrix of strengths and weaknesses and the extensive report; also the committee will issue a ruling proposal based on these reports.
7. Evaluation of the report by the Technical Commission
The reports generated by the assessment committees are then delivered to the specialty technical commissions who will revise and unify online the assessment criteria for the assessed programmes. The results of this revision are the issuing of a technical commission deed online containing recommendations for each of the indicators with opportunity areas and a ruling recommendation to be analyzed by the accrediting committee.
8. Issuing of the accreditation ruling by the Accreditation Committee
The Accreditation Committee is in charge of revising online the programmes accreditation process, the self-assessment report, the reports of the Assessment Committees and the report of the Technical Commission in order to assure transparency, criteria unification and impartiality in the assessment. This Committee is the only responsible for issuinf a final ruling on the accreditation –or no accreditation- of a programme. It will be integrated by the Technical Secretariats of the Technical Commissions od Specialty and the General Director. The final product of this revision shall be the Deed of the Accreditation Committee con the ruling of the assessment and final recommendations for every indicator with opportunity areas. When programmes are accredited, institutions will be granted an accreditation certificate.
9. Reply of institutions to the ruling of the Accreditation Committee
When a ruling for a programme has been Not Accredited and the institution considers that they do have the necessary evidence so as to prove that the established standards were underrated for a quality education programme, the institution counts on 30 days to appeal such ruling by means of a thirty-minute-long reply session in which the evidence that the institution considers necessary to prove that they do meet the standrds will be shown before the Accrediting Committee; the Committee will have the right to ask the questions that they deem necessary in order to evaluate the shown evidence. By the end of the session, the Accrediting Committee will issue a ruling which may either be the Accrediattion or the ratification of the the No Accreditation.
10. Follow up to the Accreditation for continuous improvement
The accreditation has a five-year validity and all the institutions with accredited education programmes are to deliver to the CACEI two follow up documents during this period of time aiming at continuous improvement: the Improvement Plan and the Midterm Report. The former one is a set of strategies proposed to increase the quality of the education programme following the recommendations made by CACEI Accrediting Committee; the ultimate goal is to provide the institution with a strategic tool to help them assure the improvement of the engineer education process and thus to reach the profile of the graduate offered by the education programme. In the case of the Midterm Report , this will have to be delivered two and a half years after the issuinf of the accreditation certificate; this report must describe the actions and strategies carried out and proposed within the Improvement Plan in order to deal with the recommendations of the Accreditingg Committee; the report must also count on supporting evidence.
Description of the re-accreditation process
In order to deal with the re-accreditation process of an education programme, an institution will have to fulfill the continuous improvement accreditation follow up requirements (Improvement Plan and Midterm Report); as well, the institution will have to deliver together with its re-accreditation request, one more report entitled Follow up to Recommendations which will have to describe the results obtained as a product of the improvement plan. This document also needs supporting evidence. It is important to mention that a re-accreditation process takes place just the same as an accreditation process; the difference resides on taking into account the record of accreditation programmes assessments with accreditations aims.