The Department of Communication and Media Studies has become the first in the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters to obtain international quality seals, with its two programs now certified by the ASEAN University Network-Quality Assurance (AUN-QA).
The B.A. Communication and B.A. Journalism programs received the coveted AUN-QA certifications on November 29, 2022, in an official communication from Dr. Choltis Dhirathiti, executive director of the ASEAN University Network.
“We take this opportunity to congratulate UST for achieving the requirements of the AUN-QA standards and completing the program assessment,” Dhirathiti said in his letter to UST Rector Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., Ph.D.
Formed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to raise educational standards in the region, the AUN “recognizes the importance of quality in higher education, and the need to develop a holistic quality assurance system to raise academic standards and enhance education, research, and service among its member universities.”
The Communication and Journalism programs were assessed based on eight criteria: expected learning outcomes, program structure and content, teaching and learning approach, student assessment, academic staff, student support services, facilities and infrastructure, and output and outcomes.
The team of AUN-QA assessors was composed of Asst. Prof. Dr. Sharul Tazrajiman Hj Tajuddin (University Teknologi Brunei) and Dr. Le Thi Giao Chi (University of Danang – Vietnam), lead assessor and assessor, respectively, for B.A. Communication; and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Van Tuan (University of Danang – Vietnam) and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pornpun Prajaknate (National Institute of Development Administration), lead assessor and assessor, respectively, for B.A. Journalism.
The assessors conducted a remote visit and interviewed college administrators, faculty, students, alumni, and industry representatives from July 4 to 8, 2022, using videoconferencing facilities.
Asst. Prof. Jose Arsenio J. Salandanan, the department chair, noted that the AUN-QA certifications were obtained despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Preparing the documents during a pandemic was never easy. Add to this the fact that we did not also formally train in Bangkok, Thailand for the SAR (Self- Assessment Report) writing. All we had was a firm resolve to do our best in gathering the necessary documents that will make a decent and impressive assessment report,” he said.
Journalism Program Coordinator Felipe Salvosa II said the assessors recognized that the two programs were among the top in their respective fields and possessed qualified and competent faculty, and were able to adapt quickly to the demands of the virtual learning setup.
“Obtaining these certifications however is only the beginning of a continuous cycle of improvement. Both programs commit to work on the recommendations made by the team of assessors, which are very helpful and constructive,” he said.
Communication and Journalism were assessed along with the University’s Tourism and Hospitality Management programs, which also received the AUN-QA quality seal. The latest certifications brought the total number of AUN-QA certified UST programs to 18. UST obtained institutional-level certification from AUN-QA in 2019.
The two high-flying programs are both Centers of Development as declared by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).
In 2021, Communication and Journalism were re-accredited at Level III by the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities – Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA).
Communication and Journalism have also been instrumental to UST’s seven straight “School of the Year” Award from the Philippine Student Quill Awards.