6.1 Cyclical Audit: Overview
The objectives of the Cyclical Audit, which occurs at least once every eight years, are to ensure transparency and accountability in the development and review of academic programs, to assure students, citizens, and the government of the international standards of quality assurance processes, and to monitor the degree to which a university has:
- Improved/enhanced its quality assurance processes and practices;
- Created an ethos of continuous improvement; and
- Developed a culture that supports program-level learning outcomes and student-centered learning.
The Cyclical Audit will:
- Review institutional changes made in policy, process, and practice in response to the recommendations from the previous audit;
- Confirm the university’s practice is in compliance with its IQAP as ratified by the Quality Council and note any misalignment of its IQAP with the QAF; and
- Review institutional quality assurance practices that contribute to continuous improvement of programs, especially the processes for New Program Approvals and Cyclical Program Reviews.
- Pre-audit orientation/briefing;
- Institutional self-study;
- Desk audit;
- Site visit;
- Audit Report;
- Response(s) by the university, as required; and
- Auditors’ report on the university’s response(s), as required.
The Audit Report describes the extent to which the institution is compliant with its quality assurance policies and approximates best practice. Based on the findings in its Report, the Audit Committee will make recommendations about future oversight by the Quality Council and/or one or more of its Committees (see Guidance).
When the Audit Report finds relatively high to very high degrees of compliance (see Guidance) with institutional quality assurance policies and good to best practices, the Audit Committee may recommend reduced oversight in one or more areas of the institution’s quality assurance practices. The recommendation may include, but is not limited to, the elimination of the requirement for a Follow-up Response Report to the Audit Report and possibly a reduced set of documentation required for a subsequent audit.
Alternatively, when the Audit Report identifies deficiencies in several areas of an institution’s quality assurance practices and/or systemic challenges, the Audit Committee may recommend increased oversight by the Quality Council. The nature of this oversight will be determined by the Quality Council and may include one or more of the following outcomes, which are less formal than the Cyclical Audit and, thus, will not replace it:
- Increased reporting requirements;
- A focused audit (see Section 6.3); and/or
- Any other action deemed appropriate by the Quality Council.