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Exploring the Role of Scientific Research in Program Accreditation

The Women's Scientific Research Committee hosted an informative seminar on March 2, 2020, focusing on the critical role of scientific research in program accreditation. The seminar was facilitated by Dr. Eman Alzaanin, Supervisor of the Academic Development and Quality Unit, who delved into the importance of research in maintaining the rigorous standards expected in higher education. Dr. Alzaanin commenced the session by defining program accreditation as an evaluation process in which a program of study presents its activities and achievements to an external body. In the context of Saudi Arabia, this body is the National Commission for Academic Accreditation & Assessment (NCAAA). This external body then independently evaluates the program, issuing a public judgment based on established standards of value and quality. Dr. Alzaanin proceeded to outline the NCAAA standards for program accreditation and the underlying mission and objectives that should guide all operational aspects of a program. Emphasizing the significance of research capabilities, Dr. Alzaanin noted that it is vital to nurture the research competencies of both faculty members and students. She further pointed out that the program administration should shoulder the responsibility for drafting and monitoring the scientific research plan. This includes ensuring adherence to the research plan of the institution through specific performance indicators and fostering values of scientific integrity, intellectual property rights, ethical practices, and proper conduct across all academic, research, administrative, and service domains. She concluded the seminar by underlining the expectation that teaching staff should regularly participate in academic activities such as conferences, group discussions, research projects, and thesis arbitration. Effective participation in research activities and scientific production is seen as a criterion for staff evaluation and promotion.The seminar, attended by staff members from the Bachelor of Arts in English program, along with the Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics and Master of Arts in Translation programs, was enriched by a lively discussion driven by valuable contributions from the attendees. Date: 3/7/2020 Source: Dr. Amal Metwally – Women's Scientific Research Committee Coordinator

FLT Reflects on Alumni Standardized Test Performance

  Vice Rector of Academic Development and Quality, Dr. Merzin Al-Shahrani, sponsored a learning session entitled "Improving the Outcomes of the Bachelor of Arts in English Program at King Khalid University in the National Center for Assessment (QIYAS)" on Monday, November 18, 2019. The event was co-sponsored by the Deanship of Academic Development and Quality, and hosted by the Faculty of Languages & Translation's senior leadership. In attendance were nearly all faculty members at the main campus and the King Abdullah Road campus via teleconference.   Vice Rector Al-Shahrani began the event by explaining how the Ministry of Education has endeavored to improve the quality of program outcomes in all Saudi universities. Furthermore, he mentioned that educational outcomes are a key focus area of His Excellency, Minister of Education Dr. Hamad Al-Shaikh. The Vice Rector also noted that while institutional accreditation and university ranking are important, outcomes are paramount. The National Center for Assessment has refocused learning outcomes (LOs) under a similar model to the Bologna Process in Europe, which places all emphasis on LOs. By drawing from the Bologna Process key domain areas: Cognitive achievement (essential knowledge), behavior (skills and abilities) and affectivity (attitudes, values or beliefs), LOs will be greatly enhanced. Vice Rector Al-Shahrani then covered the main components and sub-components of the LOs that should be integral to our undergraduate program. The national standardized examination for English teachers reflects these LOs. Alumni performance on this exam is extremely important for career opportunities with the Ministry of Education. The test score parameters are:   Linguistics (15%); Applied Linguistics (12%); Translation (9%); Literature (20%); Language Skills (42%); Research Methods (2%).   Vice Rector Al-Shahrani then turned to the audience and reiterated the importance of adhering to the main components of the LOs. He stressed that our students deserve better learning outcomes that lead to enhanced employment opportunities. He then went through graphs and charts on how the 677 FLT graduates performed on the exam in the year 1440. Although the results were not as favorable as expected, there are promising indicators for potential improvement.   The Vice Rector presented a 'road map' based on teacher actions to improve test scores. Shortly thereafter, a detailed question and answer session began in which Dean Abdullah Al-Melhi expressed his concern for the results and his optimism in the plan for improvement. Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, Dr. Yahya Asiri, and Vice Dean for Academic Development and Quality, Dr. Abdulrahman Almosa, stated that they are also confident in the Bacehlor of Arts in English program's ability to resolve the issue, noting that sub-committees are already being formed to address each deficiency in the program.   There were many tough questions during the Q&A session. For example, the existing basis for the undergraduate program and the required LOs are set forth in the Saudi Arabia Qualifications Framework (SAQF). Vice Rector Al-Shahrani concurred, but he stated that both sets of requirements apply to the undergraduate program. The Vice Rector said that our curriculum must be modified to reflect the current requirements set forth by His Excellency, Minister of Education Dr. Hamad Al-Shaikh. The King Abdullah Road Campus participants made mention of the significant obstacles to overcome in making these changes.   The Bachelor of Arts in English program (BAEP) at the Faculty of Languages and Translation (FLT) is dedicated to providing excellence in all aspects of its education. BAEP, the FLT, its students, and alumni deserve national recognition for the quality of the degree program. The department is determined to reform its curriculum to ensure optimal learning outcomes and better results on standardized national exams. Date: 11/19/2019 Source: Faculty of Languages & Translation