Responsibilities of Institutions
Every publicly assisted Ontario university that grants degrees and diplomas is responsible for ensuring the quality of all of its programs of study, including modes of delivering programs and those academic and student services that affect the quality of the respective programs under review, whether or not the program is eligible for government funding.
Institutional responsibility for quality assurance extends to new and continuing undergraduate and graduate degree/diploma programs whether offered in full, in part, or conjointly by any institutions federated and affiliated with the university. These responsibilities also extend to programs offered in partnership, collaboration or other such arrangement with other postsecondary institutions including colleges, universities, or institutes. For definitions of the inter-institutional arrangements (see the Definitions in Appendix 1 of Part Two: Quality Assurance Protocols for Ontario’s Universities and the Quality Council).
The first responsibility of the institution is to develop and maintain an Institutional Quality Assurance Processes (IQAP) that sets out the institution’s protocols for each of the elements of quality assurance (new programs, major modifications, expedited approvals and audits).
The IQAP must identify the authority or authorities responsible for the IQAP and its application, as well as the authoritative contact between the institution and the Quality Council. This will be the sole contact for communication between the institution and the Quality Council about the approval process.
For each protocol addressed in the IQAP, the institution will prepare and systematically maintain a set of institutional guidelines that describes the quality assurance activities associated with each. Among other items, this guidance should do the following:
- Provide guidance on the steps associated with creating a new program, cyclical program review, expedited protocol, or major modification
- Establish the criteria for the nomination and selection of arm’s length external peer reviewers and the instruction to the Reviewers
- Identify responsibilities for the collection, aggregation and distribution of institutional data and outcome measures, as required
- Specify the format required for the new program proposal, self-study, expedited submission or major modification, and, where required, external reviewers’ reports, including associated templates
- Set out the institution’s cycle for the conduct of undergraduate and graduate program reviews
Amendments to the Quality Assurance Framework
Changes to the Quality Assurance Framework Part One: Quality Assurance Principles for Ontario Universities and Quality Council are subject to approval of both the Quality Council and OCAV. It is understood that the principles are foundational to the approach to quality assurance; thus, amendments ought not to be required or considered until the next review of the Quality Assurance Framework. There may, however, be occasions where an amendment is necessary or desirable in which case either the Quality Council or OCAV may propose changes that may be made only with the approval of both bodies.
For the Quality Assurance Framework Part Two: Protocols for Ontario Universities, changes may be made at any time by the Quality Council and reported subsequently to OCAV.
Review of the Quality Assurance Framework and Quality Council
The Quality Assurance Framework and the Quality Council will be reviewed periodically and independently using a methodology agreed to by the Quality Council and OCAV. An initial review of the Quality Assurance Framework (as revised in 2019 and 2021) and the Quality Council will take place after five years. Subsequent reviews will occur at least every eight years.