La Salle UniversityBogotá, Colombia
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- La Salle University
La Salle University was assessed by the National Accreditation Council of Colombia, CNA. This assessment procedure took place within the framework of the Certificate for Quality in Internationalisation project. CNA convened an assessment panel which studied the self‐evaluation report and undertook a site visit on 18th y 19th November 2014, in Bogotá, Colombia.
La Salle University bases its internationalisation on a clear vision highly connected to the service to society as common in many Latin American HEIs. Internationalisation is strongly related to its research, its education, and its service to society, and has been formulated as a humanized internationalisation which “invites to a permanent reflection about the human being and its role in the knowledge society”. It is recommended to analyse and describe the internal and external context for its intended internationalisation. Based on those contexts the university then needs to present its intended goals for internationalisation for the long term and its objectives for the short term more explicitly, and use these also for evaluation and measures of improvement. This might also lead to a revised SWOT analysis, reflecting these goals and objectives more clearly. The university has done so in its document of March 2015, LINEAMIENTOS ESTRATÉGICOS PARA LA INTERNACIONALIZACIÓN ACADÉMICA UNIVERSIDAD DE LA SALLE, after the visit of the expert panel. The panel is convinced of the good intentions of the plan, its implementation and review is a process of the years to come.
ULS action plans for internationalisation are mainly located in the document Proyecto J, where specific internationalisation objectives are listed. Other documents, such as the Institutional Plan 2010‐ 2015, also contain goals and objectives linked to internationalisations. In general, institution’s internationalisation plans warrant the achievement of its internationalisation goals. Since the strategic commitment in the internationalisation field is quite recent, a follow‐up over all internationalisation actions plans should be established, in order to guarantee the feasibility of objectives and the use of results.
The implementation of the internationalisation goals and activities is supported by ULS information system, particularly by the “internationalisation information system” called NEXUS. This System has been useful for the academic community involved in all internationalisation activities, but also provides information to all institutional information systems.
The Institution has consolidated a system of self‐evaluation for the continuous enhancement of quality not only at the institutional level but also at the level of academic programs. The experience within the national accreditation framework has been extremely important in order to structure this system which also includes internationalisation elements. It is important to mention that internationalisation is evaluated by the CNA during accreditation processes both for Institutional and programs level. ULS is currently accredited and has already developed two institutional accreditation processes successfully.
In terms of Governance, it is clear that the responsibilities regarding the institution’s internationalisation activities are defined and allocated in an adequate way. However, it would be important to pay further attention to the development of a comprehensive approach to the responsibilities for internationalisation as to avoid the danger that too much is dependent on the actions of what is one administrative unit, where it should be part of all academic and administrative units. The head of the international office participates in most of the institutional committees, which shows the increasing importance of internationalisations from a comprehensive approach within the Institution. Nevertheless, the panel recommended the creation of an institutional internationalisation committee with representatives from all academic and administrative units, from the student community and from external organisations relevant to the internationalisation goals of the university. This committee has been established as part of the new policy of the university: LINEAMIENTOS ESTRATÉGICOS PARA LA INTERNACIONALIZACIÓN ACADÉMICA UNIVERSIDAD DE LA SALLE, March 2015, and although established only after the visit, the expert panel considers this a positive development.
La Salle University demonstrates a strong commitment in building, developing and consolidating clear and consistent internationalisation processes that have had a positive impact recently, which are supported, both by the “lasallista” academic community and external stakeholders. It is important to highlight the strong commitment at the management level, which becomes visible in the availability of resources and institutional arrangement for internationalisation. The vision of humanized internationalisation has been key for developing plans, strategies and internationalisation activities; Proyecto Utopía is undoubtedly the clearest example upon this issue. As a main suggestion, the ULS needs to make a more explicit definition of its objectives. Although ULS complies with all standards, ULS should pay special attention to the recommendations made by the panel, especially in the standards assessed as satisfactory. The panel welcomes the policy document LINEAMIENTOS ESTRATÉGICOS PARA LA INTERNACIONALIZACIÓN ACADÉMICA UNIVERSIDAD DE LA SALLE, March – 2015 as an intended policy document for the years to come.
The panel, given the score of two times satisfactory and three times good on the five standards, therefore recommends that La Salle University is awarded the Certificate for Quality in Internationalisation. The panel has been informed that La Salle University has been able to develop shortly after the visit its policy document LINEAMIENTOS ESTRATÉGICOS PARA LA INTERNACIONALIZACIÓN ACADÉMICA UNIVERSIDAD DE LA SALLE, March 2015, including the establishment of a central committee for internationalisation. This provides the expert panel with sufficient confidence to recommend the awarding of the Certificate to the university.