Terms of Reference for the Audit Committee

Purpose

To make audit-related recommendations to the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance.

Members

Members of the Audit Committee shall be senior academics with experience in the development, delivery and quality assessment of both graduate and undergraduate programs and shall not be members of the Quality Council. At least two members will be bilingual. The Executive Director, Quality Assurance will be a non-voting, ex officio member and the Quality Assurance Secretariat will convene meetings and maintain records.

Term of Appointment

Members are appointed for a three-year term, and may be reappointed.

Quorum

Quorum at meetings of the Audit Committee is 50% plus one of the eligible voting members. If a member is not voting because of a conflict of interest, the determination of what constitutes quorum will not include that member. The Chair shall have a vote.

Chair and Vice-Chair of Committee

The Quality Council will appoint a Chair and a Vice-Chair from amongst the members of the Audit Committee. The Vice-Chair will serve as chair when the Chair is unable to serve.

Support for the Audit Committee

The Quality Assurance Secretariat will be responsible for organizing meetings, preparing agendas and meeting materials, taking minutes of meetings and communicating decisions of the Audit Committee to the University and the Quality Council.

Eligibility Criteria

The slate of appointees will include present and past faculty members, not currently holding an administrative appointment in an Ontario university but may have had senior administrative experience at the faculty or university level. They are selected for their recognized strength and expertise in quality assurance matters. This might include membership in a university’s quality assurance committee and / or the development and operation of undergraduate and/or graduate programs and their experience, typically, in one or more Ontario universities. Some will be bilingual. From time to time, one or two auditors may be required to have had senior administrative experience in an academic services area, such as operating student academic support functions.

While the QAF does not specify a length of term for each auditor, it is suggested that the term of appointment be three years, renewable at least once. A roster of 12 – 15 auditors is suggested to ensure adequate numbers to manage number of audits per year by a single auditor and to avoid conflict of interest in assigning auditors to specific institutions.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Auditors are expected to participate in one, or at most, two audits per year. Typically, each audit team will have no fewer than three auditors.
  2. Auditors are involved in selecting programs for audit, with a mix of cyclical program reviews, new program approvals, major modifications and expedited approvals. Specific programs may be added to the sample when an immediately previous audit has documented causes for concern, when in accordance with Framework Section 6.2.4. When the institution itself so requests, specific programs and / or areas of focus may also be audited. The auditors may consider, in addition to the required documentation, any additional elements and related documentation stipulated by the institution in its IQAP.
  3. Auditors participate in a desk audit of the institution’s quality assurance practices. Using the institution’s records of the sampled cyclical program reviews, together with associated documents, this audit tests whether the institution’s practice conforms to its own IQAP, as ratified by the Quality Council.
  4. During the desk audit, the auditors will also determine whether or not the institution’s web- based publication of the Executive Summaries, and subsequent reports on the implementation of the review recommendations for programs included in the current audit, meet the requirements of the QAF.
  5. The auditors undertake to preserve the confidentiality required for all documentation and communications and meet all applicable requirements of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).
  6. After completing the desk audit, the auditors visit the institution over two or three days. The principal purpose of the on-site visit is to answer questions and address information gaps that arose during the desk audit. Ultimately, the purpose of the on-site visit is for the auditors to get a sufficiently complete and accurate understanding of the institution’s application of its IQAP so that they can meet their audit responsibilities.
  7. In the course of the site visit, the auditors will speak with those identified by the IQAP as participants and in particular those accountable for various steps, responsibilities, and obligations in the process. The institution, in consultation with the auditors, will establish the program and schedule for these interviews prior to the site visit.
  8. Following the institutional audit, the auditors prepare a report as described in the Framework. The report may contain suggestions, recommendations and causes for concern.
  9. The auditors prepare a draft report suitable for subsequent publication. Following consultation with the institution to ensure that the report contains no errors or omissions of fact, the final audit report is prepared and submitted to the Quality Council Audit Committee which may consult with the auditors. Once approved the final audit report is sent to the institution, OCAV, COU, and MCU for information. The approved report is also posted on the QC website, which is also sent to the institution for posting on its website.
  10. When required, the auditors review the institution’s follow-up response and prepare an Auditors’ response which is submitted to the Quality Council Audit Committee. The auditors’ report on the scope and adequacy of the institution’s response is posted on the QC website and sent to the institution, OCAV, COU and MCU for information.
  11. Auditors will also serve as members of the Quality Council Audit Committee and will also be eligible to serve on its Executive Committee, once all eligibility criteria have been met.