DUE TO its inability to meet the standard set by the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (Pacucoa), the Faculty of Arts and Letters (AB) is in danger of losing its Level 2 accreditation, which expired last March, faculty officials said.

In the event it loses its Level 2 accreditation, AB also stands to lose the Center of Excellence (COE) status accorded to it Literature and Philosophy programs by the Commission on Higher Education (Ched). Ched requires at least a Level 2 accreditation for COE’s.

For AB to maintain its accreditation, 75 percent of its faculty must at least have master’s degrees.

Actually the 75 percent requirement is for Level 3 accreditation. AB could have foregone applying for Level 3, but it could not remain in Level 2 since it had been accredited in that level twice and therefore, must seek a higher level. Either it remains in Level 2 or go for Level 3, it must fulfill the 75 percent requirement. Since it has no way to go but up, it risks going down.

Because of this, AB Dean Armando de Jesus plans to set a deadline for the Faculty’s professors to acquire their master’s degrees.

“Ang problema, hindi pare-pareho ang levels of development ng faculty profile by majors. With this, we cannot realistically attain the 75 percent standard,” de Jesus said.

Moreover, Pacucoa does not consider lawyers and medical doctors in the Faculty as graduate degree holders. A Ched memorandum has said law and medical degrees are equivalent to graduate degrees, but the Pacucoa does not recognize this. AB has many lawyers in its Political Science and Legal Management programs.

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In the meantime, de Jesus wrote Pacucoa chairman Feliciana Reyes to extend the Faculty’s Level 2 status. Pacucoa has yet to answer the request.

De Jesus also plans to convert AB’s ten major courses into straight programs.

“(For example), Magiging AB in Literature, hindi na AB major in Literature,” de Jesus said.

This means that Literature would no longer be a major, but a program, de Jesus added.

In addition, de Jesus said the conversion is similar to a specialization process, where an AB student focuses on a certain field. The plan would prepare AB for another Pacucoa accreditation application, he added.

Faculty members have criticized the tough requirements set by the Pacucoa for accreditation, calling them unrealistic.

Faculty insiders told the Varsitarian that de Jesus had refused suggestions to invite M.A. and Ph.D holders from the other colleges to improve AB’s faculty profile. They said other colleges and faculties had padded their faculty roster just to get higher accreditation. “Sino ang niloko natin?” De Jesus was reported to have said about the suggestion. John Patrick D. Padilla

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