Approval of New and Review of Existing Joint Programs Offered by Two or More Ontario Institutions

See the Quality Assurance Framework for a definitions of inter-institutional arrangements.

Approval of New and Reviews of Joint Programs and other inter-institutional programs are governed by the IQAPs of the participating university/universities granting the degree. Partner institutions may, but are not required to, use Joint IQAPs (which require the same approval process as IQAPs for individual institutions). Whether a joint and separately approved IQAP is used, or whether the separate institutions prefer to build their joint processes into their own IQAPs, the following are the Quality Council’s suggestions for inclusion in the IQAP related to both New Program Approval process and Cyclical Program Reviews:

The development of new and reviews of existing Joint Programs can be done jointly or can be done individually by each institution. Considerations for the creation of a new and review of an existing joint program include the following points:

  • A single new program proposal / self-study should be developed and approved by all partners that minimally addresses the Evaluation Criteria required by the relevant Protocol in the Quality Assurance Framework;
  • The new program proposal / self-study should clearly explain how input was received from faculty, staff and students (as appropriate) at each partner institution;
  • Selection of the arm’s length external reviewers should involve participation by each partner institution;
  • Selection of an “internal” reviewer might helpfully:
    • Include one internal from both partners (this is impractical if there are multiple partners); and/or
    • Give preference to an internal reviewer who is from another Joint program, preferably with the same partner institution.
  • The site visit should involve all partner institutions and preferably at all sites (with exceptions noted in footnote);
  • The external reviewers should consult with faculty, staff, and students (as appropriate for new programs) at each partner institution and as per the Framework’s requirements for in-person reviews;
  • Internal responses to the recommendations contained in the reviewers’ report should be solicited from participating units at each partner institution. Separate responses are also required by the relevant Deans;
  • All relevant internal approvals and governance steps required by the IQAP(s) of the partner institutions should be followed; and
  • All related documentation should be available on a network drive / resource at each partner institution (versus only in someone’s email) to ensure ease of access for when there may be a change in personnel/roles/responsibilities.

Considerations for the development of new joint programs only:

  • Partner institutions should agree on the year that the new joint program will receive its first cyclical review and ensure that the joint program is in the same year in each partner’s Schedule of Cyclical Reviews going forward;
  • Partner institutions should agree on the plan to monitor the new program and jointly participate in this monitoring process, as well as the subsequent monitoring reports and any other monitoring requirements;
  • Partner institutions should post the monitoring reports on their respective websites, as required in Section 2.9.2; and
  • If the Quality Council approves a new joint program to commence “with report,” each partner institution should sign off on the report before it is submitted to the Quality Council.

Considerations for Cyclical Program Reviews only:

  • Each partner institution should provide input on the development of the Final Assessment Report and Implementation Plan;
  • There should ideally be only a single Final Assessment Report and Implementation Plan;
  • The Final Assessment Report and Implementation Plan should go through the appropriate governance processes at each partner institution;
  • The Final Assessment Report and Implementation Plan should be posted on each partner institution’s website;
  • Partner institutions should agree on an appropriate monitoring process for the Implementation Plan and all monitoring reports should be posted on each partner institution’s website;
  • The Final Assessment Plan and Implementation Plan should ideally be submitted jointly to the Quality Council and co-signed by all partners; and
  • The Final Assessment Report and Implementation Plan and other review-related documentation should be shared with any incoming program Chair/Director early in the assumption of the person’s new role.

Considerations for separate institutional reviews of an existing joint program:

  • The self-study, site visit, external reviewers’ report, internal responses and preparation of a Final Assessment Report and Implementation Plan should follow the institution’s IQAP for program review;
  • A single Final Assessment Report and Implementation Plan should go through the appropriate governance processes at each partner institution;
  • The Final Assessment Report and Implementation Plan should be posted on each institution’s website;
  • Each institution should decide independently on an appropriate monitoring process for the Implementation Plan;
  • The Final Assessment Plan and Implementation Plan should be submitted separately to the Quality Council by each institution; and

The institution’s self-study, external reviewer’s report, Final Assessment Report and Implementation Plan should be shared with the joint institution, for information.