Accreditation of communication education in Türkiye: Research on the views of administrator academicians in accredited programsErdinç Kaygusuz
The subject of this study is an examination of how communication programs are accredited in Türkiye in the context of the views of administrator academicians. The research aims to explore the views of administrator academicians who are deans, vice deans, or heads of departments in their institutions regarding the accreditation of communication education in Türkiye. The study interviews 11 administrator academicians working in accredited undergraduate programs under communication faculties or the other faculties in which communication programs are included Türkiye, with the study sample being selected using multi-stage sampling. Proportional stratified and purposive sampling was also used to ensure that the groups in the universe are represented in proportion to their weights. Although minor problems exist in practice, accreditation has been concluded to play a developing role for institutions. Accordingly, accreditation allows institutions to renew, to correct the deficiencies in their organizational chart, to update the curriculum, to strengthen the teaching staff, to increase physical environments and opportunities, and to develop financial resources. In this respect, accreditation in communication education in Türkiye is seen as a concrete output rather than a corporate reputation provider. The findings support other studies that have focused on the benefits of accreditation.
Türkiye’de iletişim eğitiminin akreditasyonu: Akredite programlardaki idareci akademisyenlerin görüşlerine yönelik bir araştırmaErdinç Kaygusuz
Bu araştırmanın konusu Türkiye’de iletişim eğitimi alanındaki programların akreditasyonunu, akredite kurumlardaki idari görev yürüten akademisyenlerin (dekan, dekan yardımcısı ya da bölüm başkanı) görüşleri bağlamında incelemektir. Bu kapsamda ilgili akademisyenlerin görüşlerine ışık tutarak programlardaki akreditasyon ihtiyacının nedenlerini ve akreditasyonun kurumlar açısından hangi türden işlev gördüğünü ortaya çıkarmak amaçlanmıştır. Bunun için Türkiye’deki akredite iletişim programlarında ya da programların bağlı olduğu fakültelerde idari görevi bulunan 11 akademisyenle yarı yapılandırılmış derinlemesine görüşme yapılmıştır. Araştırmanın çalışma grubu çok aşamalı örnekleme yoluyla, seçkisiz olmayan yöntemlere göre çekilmiş ve araştırmada evrendeki grupların ağırlıkları oranında temsil edilmelerini sağlamak adına orantılı tabakalı amaçsal örnekleme kullanılmıştır. Araştırmada uygulamada yaşanan kimi sorunlara karşın akreditasyonun kurumları geliştirici işlev gördüğü sonucuna ulaşılmıştır. Buna göre akreditasyon kurumlara yenilenme, organizasyon şemasındaki aksaklıkları düzeltme, müfredatı güncelleme, öğretim elemanı kadrosunu güçlendirme, fiziksel ortamlar ile olanakları çoğaltma ve finansal kaynakları geliştirme konularında olanak sağlamaktadır. Bu açıdan Türkiye’de iletişim eğitiminde akreditasyon kurumsal itibar sağlayan bir etiketten ziyade kurumların kendilerini yenilemesine olanak veren somut çıktılar olarak görülmektedir. Bulgular iletişim eğitiminde akreditasyonun getirilerine odaklanan çalışmaları ve onların bulgularını desteklemektedir.
Higher education has begun transforming in line with the needs of the new liberal era since the beginning of the 1980s, and institutions have been reorganized in accordance with this new period. Universities represent an advanced stage in transforming knowledge into goods and services. The fascinating idea of universities has given way to an instrumental position where professionalization is subordinated to market principles. Science and technology are employed to provide the skills needed by the market, and higher education has been seen as guiding this professionalization.
Universities as economic actors bring the professionals information society needs into the workforce. Universities are based on accountability under all these conditions and in this way strive to eliminate a legitimation crisis. Quality assurance and accreditation have come to the fore in this context. Universities aim to reinforce their presence to attract students to their programs, increase their effectiveness, show society that they are economically and socially transparent, ensure compliance with the market’s demands, and show that they possess innovative qualified pedagogies.
Accreditation is one of the most preferred quality assurance methods and is defined as a tool for quality assessment and accountability based on professional standards. In this respect, accreditation has spread worldwide.
Previous studies on accreditation in communication education focus on i) the value of accreditation in terms of communication education, ii) its function and benefits for institutions, and iii) its disadvantages. Meanwhile, how academicians perceive accreditation continues to be a matter of academic curiosity. The subject of this study is to examine how communication programs in Türkiye are accredited in the context of administrator academicians’ views.
Few studies in the literature have documented academicians’ perceptions of the accreditation process in communication education. The current research aims to explore the views of administrator academicians who are deans, vice deans, or heads of departments in their institutions regarding how communication education is accredited in Türkiye. The study presents the following research questions (RQs) within the framework of the main problem area and subject:
RQ1: According to administrator academicians, why has the need for accreditation arisen in communication programs?
RQ2: What comments do administrator academicians have about the accreditation evaluation criteria?
RQ3: What are the benefits and drawbacks of accreditation in communication education?
RQ4: Does a difference exist between accredited communication programs and non-accredited communication programs in terms of the expectations from the public and the sector? RQ5: Does a difference exist between academicians who work in public universities and those who work in private universities regarding their perceptions regarding accreditation?
This study uses a qualitative design and qualitative research techniques to collect the needed data. The study interviews 11 administrator academicians working in undergraduate communication programs within Türkiye. The study sample has been selected using multi-stage sampling, with proportional stratified and purposive sampling being used to ensure that the groups in the universe are represented in proportion to their weights. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted face-to-face or online to ask the participants open-ended questions. Accordingly, the interviews were completed between December 13, 2022-January 5, 2023 and lasted between 18-31 minutes. The interviews were recorded with the permission of the interviewees. The obtained data have been classified under specific themes and titles using a thematic coding approach.
Informed consent was obtained from all participants involved in the study. In order to ensure the confidentiality and anonymity of the participants, no identifying information such as names and institution names has been used, with the participants being referred to according to a participation code. These codes include the unique participant (P) and the number in which they were interviewed (e.g., P1, P2) is used in the Findings section to identify the participant being quoted. In addition, this study has received ethical approval from Beykoz University’s ethics committee.
The participants opined accreditation in communication education in Türkiye has relatively small problems in practice alongside benefits and potential. Moreover, the participants think accreditation provides more crucial output for the functioning of the faculty and program rather than for institutional reputation. Although the participants disagree that accreditation carries the risk of convergence between different programs, they agreed that it is still a practice that should be preferred.
The points this study draws attention to can be a guide for administrator academicians working in communication programs that have an accreditation process or that aim to enter an accreditation process. This study can also provide benefits by eliminating the lack of knowledge regarding accreditation.