4.2 Institutional Quality Assurance Process Requirements

Institutions may enlarge or enhance the quality assurance process requirements set out below to meet their own needs. While accommodating the institution’s own culture and practice, the IQAP for cyclical program reviews will:

4.2.1  Authority

a)    Identify the authority or authorities responsible for the IQAP and its application.
b)    Identify the authoritative contact between the institution and the Quality Council.

4.2.2  The program or programs

Identify the specific program or programs that will be reviewed and identify, where there is more than one mode or site involved in delivering a specific program, the distinct versions of each program that are to be reviewed. (See Guide for information on reviewing joint programs with other institutions.)

4.2.3  Self-study: Internal program perspective

a)    Include the submission of a self-study document (see Guide) that is broad-based, reflective, forward-looking and includes critical analysis.

b)    Identify any pertinent information which the institution deems appropriate for inclusion.

c)     Ensure that the self-study will address and document the:

    1. Consistency of the program’s learning outcomes with the institution’s mission and Degree Level Expectations, and how its graduates achieve those outcomes;
    2. Program-related data and measures of performance, including applicable provincial, national and professional standards (where available);
    3. Integrity of the data;
    4. Framework Section 4.3;
    5. Concerns and recommendations raised in previous reviews;
    6. Areas identified through the conduct of the self-study as requiring improvement;
    7. Areas that hold promise for enhancement;
    8. Academic services that directly contribute to the academic quality of each program under review (see Guide);
    9. Participation of program faculty, staff and students in the self-study, and how their views will be obtained and taken into account.

The input of others deemed to be relevant and useful, such as graduates of the program, representatives of industry, the professions, practical training programs, and employers may also be included.

d)    Identify the authority or authorities who will review and approve the self-study report (see Section 4.2.1) to ensure that it meet the above.

4.2.4  External evaluation: External perspective

a)    Provide for an external evaluation. Normally the evaluation will be conducted by a Review Committee composed of at least:

    1. One external reviewer for an undergraduate program;
    2. Two such reviewers for a graduate program qualified by discipline and experience to review the program(s);
    3. Two such reviewers for the concurrent review of an undergraduate and graduate program;
    4. One further reviewer, either from within the university but from outside the discipline (or interdisciplinary group) engaged in the program, or external to the university.

All members of the Review Committee will be at arm’s length from the program under review. The external and institutional reviewers will be active and respected in their field, and normally associate or full professors with program management experience.

Additional discretionary members may be assigned to the Review Committee where the IQAP so provides. Such additional members might be appropriately qualified and experienced people selected from industry or the professions and/or, where consistent with the institution’s own policies and practices, student members.

b)    Describe how the members of the Review Committee are selected as well as any additional reviewers who might be included in the site visits.

c)     Describe the steps to be taken to ensure that all members of the Review Committee will:

    1. Understand their role and obligations;
    2. Identify and commend the program’s notably strong and creative attributes;
    3. Describe the program’s respective strengths, areas for improvement, and opportunities for enhancement;
    4. Recommend specific steps to be taken to improve the program, distinguishing between those the program can itself take and those that require external action;
    5. Recognize the institution’s autonomy to determine priorities for funding, space, and faculty allocation.
    6. Respect the confidentiality required for all aspects of the review process.

The Review Committee’s evaluation and report(s) — preferably one joint report, where circumstances permit — should address the substance of both the self-study report and the evaluation criteria set out in Framework Section 4.3.

d)    Identify what reports and information the Review Committee will receive in addition to the self-study. Describe how site visits will be conducted, including how reviewers will meet with faculty, students, staff, and senior program administrators. In the case of professional programs, describe how the views of employers and professional associations will be solicited and made available to the Review Committee.

e)    Identify to whom the Review Committee submits its report(s) and specify a time frame for its submission (see Report template).

f)     Require those who produced the self-study to provide a brief written response to the report(s) of the Review Committee.

g)    Identify the relevant dean(s) or academic administrator(s) responsible for the program, who will provide their responses to each of the following:

    1. The plans and recommendations proposed in the self-study report;
    2. The recommendations advanced by the Review Committee;
    3. The program’s response to the Review Committee’s report(s);

and will describe:

    1. Any changes in organization, policy or governance that would be necessary to meet the recommendations;
    2. The resources, financial and otherwise, that would be provided in supporting the implementation of selected recommendations; and
    3. A proposed timeline for the implementation of any of those recommendations.

4.2.5  Institutional perspective and report

a)    Describe how the self-study and the plans and recommendations issuing from it, and the reviewers’ report and responses to it, will be assessed by institutional peers. Most universities have an existing (standing) committee that undertakes this function. The description should identify the participants and how they are selected.

b)    Describe how a Final Assessment Report, providing the institutional synthesis of the external evaluation and internal responses and assessments, will be drafted which:

    1. Identifies any significant strengths of the program;
    2. Identifies opportunities for program improvement and enhancement;
    3. Sets out and prioritizes the recommendations that are selected for implementation;
    4. May include a confidential section (where personnel issues require to be addressed); and
    5. Includes an institutional Executive Summary, exclusive of any such confidential information, and suitable for publication on the web.

c)     Unless already specified elsewhere in the IQAP, the Final Assessment Report will include an Implementation Plan that identifies:

    1. Who will be responsible for approving the recommendations set out in the Final Assessment Report (4.2.5 [b]3);
    2. Who will be responsible for providing any resources made necessary by those recommendations;
    3. Who will be responsible for acting on those recommendations; and
    4. Timelines for acting on and monitoring the implementation of those recommendations.

4.2.6  Reporting requirements

a)    Provide for the distribution of the Final Assessment Report (excluding all confidential information) and the associated Implementation Plan, to the program, Senate (or equivalent authority, as identified in Section 4.2.1) and the Quality Council.

b)    Require that the institutional Executive Summary (provided for in Section 4.2.5 [b] 5) of the outcomes of the review, and the associated Implementation Plan (Section 4.2.5 [c]) be posted on the institution’s website and copies provided to both the Quality Council and the institution’s governing body.

c)     Provide for the timely monitoring of the implementation of the recommendations, and the appropriate distribution, including web postings, of the scheduled monitoring reports.

d)    Establish the extent of public access to the:

    1. Information made available for the self-study;
    2. Self-study report;
    3. Report of the Review Committee; and
    4. Specified responses to the report of the Review Committee.

It is expected that the report from the Review Committee will be afforded an appropriate level of confidentiality.

4.2.7  Use of accreditation and other external reviews in the Institutional Quality Assurance Process

The IQAP may allow for and specify the substitution or addition of documentation or processes associated with the accreditation of a program, for components of the institutional program review process, when it is fully consistent with the requirements established in this Framework (see Guide). A record of substitution or addition, and the grounds on which it was made, will be eligible for audit by the Quality Council.

4.2.8  Institutional Manual

Provide for the preparation and systematic maintenance of an institutional manual that describes the cyclical program review and supports such reviews. Among other items, this manual should do the following:

a)    Provide guidance on the conduct of rigorous, objective and searching self-studies, and describe the potential benefits that can accrue from them;

b)    Establish the criteria for the nomination and selection of arm’s length external peer reviewers;

c)     Identify responsibilities for the collection, aggregation and distribution of institutional data and outcome measures required for self-studies;

d)    Specify the format required for the self-study and external reviewers’ reports; and

e)    Set out the institution’s cycle for the conduct of undergraduate and graduate program reviews.