3.3 Institutional Identification of Major Modifications to Existing Programs
The fundamental purpose of the identification of major modifications to existing programs, and their submission through a robust quality assurance process which does not require but may include the Quality Council, is to assure the institution, and the public, of the ongoing quality of all of the institution’s academic programs. The institutions themselves are best placed to determine when a major change is being proposed.
Major modifications typically include one or more of the following program changes:
a) Requirements for the program that differ significantly from those existing at the time of the previous cyclical program review;
b) Significant changes to the learning outcomes;
c) Significant changes to the faculty engaged in delivering the program and/or to the essential physical resources as may occur, for example, where there have been changes to the existing mode(s) of delivery.
Institutions are required, within their IQAP, to provide their internal definition of what constitutes a “significant change” in the requirements, intended learning outcomes or human and other resources associated with the program.
The IQAP will also set out the intra-institutional steps that will apply to the quality assurance of other program changes (for example, changes to an existing Emphasis, Option, Minor Program, or similar which do not require Quality Council appraisal and approval).
Major modifications to existing programs, except when an institution requests endorsement of the Quality Council for the addition of fields to graduate programs, do not require submission of a Proposal Brief to the Quality Council. An institution may, at its discretion, request that the Quality Council review a major modification proposal and normally that will occur through an Expedited Approval Process. Each institution will set out, within its IQAP (see Framework Section 1.3), the information required and steps to be taken internally for its own approval process for such major modifications. The IQAP will also provide for the preparation of the Proposal Brief to be submitted to the Quality Council for those cases when the institution may request a Quality Council review. For a Quality Council review, this Brief requires:
a) A description of, and rationale for, the proposed changes; and
b) Application of the relevant criteria outlined in Framework Section 2.1, to the proposed changes.
The institutional process is abbreviated by not requiring the use of external reviewers; hence Framework Sections 2.2.6 to 2.2.8 do not apply.