2.3 Initial Appraisal Process

2.3.1  Secretariat check

The Quality Council Secretariat will confirm that the Proposal Brief and associated reports and internal responses to them (as set out in Framework Section 2.2) are complete. If there is missing information or defects of substance, the Secretariat will return the Proposal Brief to the institution for revision or amendment and resubmission. Otherwise the Proposal Brief and accompanying documents will be forwarded directly to the Quality Council Appraisal Committee.

2.3.2  Appraisal Committee reviews and recommends

The Quality Council’s Appraisal Committee reviews and appraises the complete file. This committee may seek further information from the institution, in which case it provides reasons for its requests to the institution. In rare instances, the Appraisal Committee may invite further input from an external expert, either through desk audit or site visit. If no further information is required, the Appraisal Committee, through the Quality Council, will advise the institution of its proposed recommendation, including a brief explanation of its reasons. This assessment includes one of the following recommendations:
a)     Approval to commence;
b)    Approval to commence, with report;[1]:
c)    Deferral for up to one year during which time the university may address identified issues and report back; or
d)    Against approval.

This step will normally be completed within forty-five days of receipt of the institution’s submission, provided that the submission is complete and in good order, and that no further information or external expert advice is required. Where additional information is required by the Appraisal Committee, one of the four possible recommendations to the Council will be made within a further thirty days of its receipt.

2.3.3  Institution may consult/appeal to Committee

When the recommendation is one of b), c) or d) in 2.3.2, the proposing university may, within sixty days, make an appeal to, or request a meeting with, the Appraisal Committee for reconsideration. Normally, the grounds for seeking reconsideration are that the institution will be providing new information, or that there were errors of fact in the Appraisal Committee’s commentary, or there were errors of process. Following such communication, the Appraisal Committee revisits and may revise its assessment. It will convey its final recommendation to the Quality Council.

2.3.4  Institution may appeal to Quality Council; Council decides

Having received and considered the Appraisal Committee’s final assessment and recommendation, any additional comments from the institution on the assessment, and further, having heard any requested appeal from the institution on matters of fact or procedure, the Council makes one of the following decisions:
a)    Approved to commence;
b)    Approved to commence, with report;
c)     Deferred for up to one year, affording the institution an opportunity to amend and resubmit its proposal brief; or
d)    That the program proposal is declined.

When the Quality Council chooses option c), then the Appraisal Committee suspends the assessment process until the institution has resubmitted its Brief. After this, the Appraisal Committee reactivates its appraisal process (as set out in Section 2.3.2). When the Appraisal Committee does not receive a response within the specified period, it considers the proposal to have been withdrawn.

2.3.5  Council reports decision

The Quality Council conveys its decision to the institution through the designated institutional contact, and reports it for information to OCAV and to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU). The Quality Council and the institution post information about decisions on approval to commence new programs on their respective websites, together with a brief description of the program. Only at this point may institutions make offers of admission to the program.

2.3.6  Waiting period before resubmission

To allow time for revisions to proposals, any institution declined permission to proceed at this stage (2.3.4) of the process, or following a denied appeal of the decision (2.3.8), will normally wait until one year has elapsed from the date of the Quality Council’s decision before resubmitting a revised version of its proposal. The same waiting period normally applies when a university does not resubmit a deferred program proposal within the specified period.

2.3.7  Subsequent with report appraisal

When an institution has been given approval to commence a program with report, the Appraisal Committee reviews the subsequently submitted report, conducts whatever consultation it requires, and then makes one of the following recommendations to the Council. That:
a)    The program be approved to continue without condition;
b)    The program may continue accepting admissions but the Council requires additional follow-up and report within a specified period, prior to the conduct of the initial cyclical review. On the Council’s receipt of that required report, the procedure returns to this same step in the appraisal process (2.3.8).
c)     The program be required to suspend admissions for a minimum of two years. The Quality Council will then specify the conditions to be met in the interim in order for admissions to the program to resume.

The institution may appeal, to the Quality Council, the proposed recommendation of the Appraisal Committee to suspend admissions to the program (2.3.7 c), on the same terms as set out in Section 2.3.3 (that is, the institution will be providing new information; and/or there were errors of fact in the Appraisal Committee’s commentary; and/or there were errors of process).

2.3.8  Council hears with report appeal; Council decides

Having received and considered the Appraisal Committee’s recommendation, and the institution’s appeal, if any, the Quality Council may decide:
a)    To approve the program without condition, or
b)    To approve the program continuing admissions with a further report, or
c)     To require the program to suspend admissions for a minimum of two years. This decision is final. The Quality Council conveys its decision to the institution, and reports it to OCAV and to MCU for information.


  1. This typically refers to some provision or facility not currently in place but planned for later implementation, often two to three years in the future. The with report condition implies no lack of quality in the program at this point, does not hold up the implementation of the new program, and is not subject to public reference, whether on the web or elsewhere.