This masteral paper is submitted by Arch Ian Jay Bantilan as part of the Course Curriculum Development under Prof Arch. Jonathan Manalad.
Masteral Paper: Perception and the Institutional Image 2
Perception and Image
In the past, the accreditation standards used for evaluating schools were taken from general data on schools. These data range from the relative age of the institution, the number of faculty and their respective degrees, and the number of volumes in the library. This broad criteria in determining the quality of education in schools produced outputs (graduates) of varying strengths. There was a need to arrive at specific criteria’s of assessment for institutions. Many different methods were introduced to measure the level of competence of the outputs of schools. The main issue was how to measure the level of learning of the students. There were institutions that had sufficient libraries and faculties with masteral and doctorates but were not producing the quality of graduates that was desired.
During the 1990s, the accrediting commissions in the US began to insist that institutions implement a strategic plan and assessment plan to meet their requirements. Through different application of these requirements, the institutions found themselves under serious scrutiny during their reaccreditation processes. This led to the emphasis on strategic planning on schools and the development of standards for assessment and learning outcomes measurement.
Performance in Government Examination
One of the important criteria in the development of an institution’s image is the passing rate of its graduate in the Professional Board Exams. Measuring the learning and experiences of graduates is very subjective. Different schools can claim to have inculcated values, technical knowledge and skills which are sometimes not measurable or quantifiable yet the passing rate of a school is a graphic measurement of evaluating schools .
Government Examinations are standard tests that are administered across different colleges. Comparing the quality of facilities and faculties is quite tedious but through this one test, an output, different schools can be ranked and even quantified in terms of success rate.
Performance of Graduates and Alumni
Another visible reminder to the quality of a schools output is the amount of successful personalities in top positions in their field, whether journalists, lawyers, businessmen, engineers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, nurses and government leaders.
The presence of successful alumna solidifies the universities position and prestige in community.
For schools of homogenous quality and success, it is hard to make qualitative decisions on relative success. The first line of perception is through its physical environment.
Many qualities can be considered for physical environment. A school on a spacious lot with outlying trees will be preferred for a high-rise school on a limited site. A school with historical buildings and structures and architectural legacy will be preferred to a school built mainly to manufacture students with expertise. The provision of facilities such as gyms, football fields, and a large library will weigh heavily on the value of the school.
There are other factors that affect the visitor’s impression of a school. A school that promotes itself through linkages with foreign students will disseminate information about the school faster and to a wider audience of foreign students. Schools therefore encourage international linkage as part of its co-evolution.
Through many online forums, it is also encouraged for schools to paint an honest picture of their university. One thing that spreads fast is negative publicity. This negative publicity is mostly through false promises and undelivered expectations marketed by the school to students.
A big factor that encourages a positive impression is having services that allow students to voice their concern and feel that they are heard and acknowledged. Having friendly staff and administrative workers contribute to quality of overall student’s experience.
Awards and Recognition
Related to the amount of visible personality assimilated in successful positions in the community, is the visibility of these same people in awards in society. Through different competitions, institutions can provide venues to be visible outside the school. It is through competitions that schools extend their influence.
Schools that produce winners in literature, arts, dance and sports gain prestige and honor to the school.
Technology Generation and Dissemination
Last, institutions can also provide an avenue for specialization. While this is one of the most costly, through strategic planning, an institution can create a system of consistently producing research over long periods of time. This quantity of output will soon produce breakthrough discoveries that bring distinction to the school. For many years, it was the teachers that provide the learning to students while they themselves stop growing through personal research. While students are required to produce output, the teachers wait for students to keep up to their knowledge. Then institutions discovered that faculties that do research provide the environment of academic growth. Schools that require their faculties to produce new research will have an environment of learning not just for the students but also for the teachers and eventually the whole school.
Many schools with specializations in science and business have international linkages with other schools to learn from each other. Through different cultures and language, research has been verified, friendships are strengthened and knowledge is shared.
Institutions are invaluable to society. They provide services for the people, sometimes with limited resources, that no other groups can provide. Educational institutions are the backbone of professionals in any country. The value that they provide go far beyond any financial compensation. No monetary value can compare for the pleasure of learning, or the moment of discovery to a student and the elevation of art and culture. However, institutions must sustain itself financially to survive. It must not only offer its services but also justify its value to their stakeholders: parents, students and the community, so they must build their institutional image.
Institutional Images are the sum total of the school or university’s past, present and expected performance. The school’s brand or image must be built, cultivated and protected to keep the value that the school is really worth. In this paper, I have started with a thought from William Shakespeare, yet no school or university is actually worth less than its assessment. Because, how can precious, knowledge, skills and attitude be worth the money spent to learn. The teachers who give their heart and service for others to grow and learn are the real treasures in our institutions, their worth not in gold but probably in diamonds!
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Hinton, Karen E. (2012) A Practical Guide to Strategic Planning in Higher Education, Society for College and University Planning.