POLICY. Academic. Provost and Vice-President Academic. Senate May 10, 2011 Quality Council March 31, 2011 Date of last revision: N/A

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1 POLICY INSTITUTIONAL PROGRAM QUALITY ASSURANCE POLICY Category: Approval: Responsibility: Date: Academic Senate (internal); Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance (Quality Council) (external) Provost and Vice-President Academic Senate May 10, 2011 Quality Council March 31, 2011 Date of last revision: N/A Purpose of Policy: The Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and associated Procedures work to ensure the high quality of, and promote standards of excellence in, Trent s new and existing academic programs. The purpose of periodic cyclical program review is to promote, maintain and improve the quality of education at Trent, and to provide Trent s students and prospective students, Trent s partners, the provincial government, and the broader public with the necessary assurance of this quality. Cyclical program reviews provide information upon which the University may make decisions. Insight about program quality derived from such reviews may result in a recommendation of program continuance, modifications to the program, or discontinuance of the program. Degree-level expectations, combined with peer-review judgment by expert disciplinary and interdisciplinary scholars, provide the benchmarks for assessing a program s standards and quality. The purpose of the review of new program proposals is to ensure that new programming generally: Is consistent with the general objectives of Trent s Institutional Integrated Plan (including the University s Vision, Mission and Strategic Directions). Is consistent with the guidelines for University Undergraduate and Graduate Degree Level Expectations (DLEs) provided by the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents and Trent s institutional expression of the DLEs. Is of high quality, and will meet a perceived interest and demand. Is supported with appropriate funding (i.e., sufficient resources are available) and makes good use of available resources. Draws upon and enhances existing strengths at the University. Definitions: New Program A brand new degree, degree program, or program of specialization. A new program has substantially different program requirements and substantially different learning outcomes from those of any existing Senate-approved program offered at Trent. A change of name alone does not constitute a new program, nor does the inclusion of a new program of specialization where another with the same designation already exists (e.g., a new honours program where a major with the same designation already exists). All new programs (undergraduate and graduate) are subject to the procedure governing new program proposals and subject to external approval by the Quality Council. Program of Specialization (e.g., a Major, Honours Program, Concentration or similar) An identified set and sequence of courses, and/or other units of study, research and practice within an area of disciplinary or Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 1

2 interdisciplinary study, which is completed in full or partial fulfillment of the requirements for the awarding of a degree, and is recorded on the graduate s academic record. A Program of Specialization does not include an Emphasis, Specialization, Option, Minor or similar programming completed on an optional basis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the awarding of a degree. Where these programming changes are made within existing programs, they normally constitute a major modification and do not require submission to the Quality Council. (They would require submission as part of a new program). Scope of Policy and Policy Statement: This policy applies generally to new and existing undergraduate and graduate academic degree programs and for-credit graduate diplomas offered in full by Trent University or in part / conjointly by Trent University in partnership with another post-secondary institution. All new programming at the University is subject to an internal process to ensure quality. Proposals for new programs and for-credit graduate diploma programs are subject to a full internal procedure as well as approval by the Quality Council. Proposals may also require submission to the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU). All existing undergraduate programs of specialization, graduate degree programs, and for-credit graduate diploma programs are subject to periodic cyclical reviews conducted at minimum once every eight years.. Program cyclical review is a self-regulatory process subject to periodic audit by the Quality Council. This policy and its procedures are subject to ratification by the Quality Council, both initially and following each revision. Other pertinent policies: Quality Assurance Framework (approved by Council of Ontario Universities - April 22, 2010) Responsibilities: The Provost and Vice-President Academic is the administrative authority responsible for the University s quality assurance policy and procedures for new and existing programs, and is Trent s authoritative contact to the Quality Council. The Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic administers the day-to-day workings of the process. The Deans are responsible for providing advice and support for new program proposals and for assisting and providing support to academic units undergoing cyclical review. Academic Units are responsible for the self-study process in a cyclical review of an existing program and for responding to the external program report(s). Academic units are often the proponents of new academic programming and in any event are significantly involved in consultation about new program proposals. The Provost s Planning Group (PPG) is a senior administrative committee that reviews and approves initial proposals for new programs. The Program Quality Assurance Committee (PQAC) of Senate is responsible for overseeing academic program reviews and proposals for new programs and for presenting proposals to Senate. The terms of reference of the committee are set out in the Senate Committees Terms of Reference List. Five faculty members sit on the committee, normally with associate or full professor status, with at least one member from each of Trent s three divisions, and in years where a professional program is undergoing a site visit, a member from another professional program. Membership is determined each year by the Nominating Committee of Faculty Board, with overlap in membership from year to year (typically three-year staggered terms). In years where a graduate program is under review, at least three members of PQAC will normally have prior graduate teaching and supervisory experience. Senate is responsible for approving quality assurance policy and procedures, new programs, and program reviews. Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 2

3 Contact Officer Assistant to the Provost and Vice-President Academic Date for Next Review Fall 2012 Note: Revision of this policy and procedure is subject to Quality Council Ratification Related Policies, Procedures and Guidelines Institutional Program Quality Assurance Procedure Policies Superseded by This Policy Policy on Undergraduate Program Review (February 2003) (aka Undergraduate Degree Review Policy) Procedure for Approval of New Graduate Programs (April 2005) Procedures for New Degree Programs (May 2003) Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 3

4 PROCEDURE INSTITUTIONAL PROGRAM QUALITY ASSURANCE PROCEDURES Contact Officer Assistant to the Provost and Vice-President Academic PROCEDURES Purpose Procedures These procedures set out the steps that must be followed in the quality assurance process for the cyclical review of existing programs, new program proposals and major modifications to existing programs. These procedures are enacted further to the University s Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy. The steps and actions that must be undertaken to implement the Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy are set out below. PART I: PART II: PART III: CYCLICAL REVIEW OF EXISTING PROGRAMS NEW PROGRAM PROPOSALS MODIFICATION OF AN EXISTING PROGRAM A. MAJOR MODIFICATION B. MINOR MODIFICATION Flow charts are included for illustration purposes. PART I: CYCLICAL REVIEW OF EXISTING PROGRAMS GENERAL PROVISIONS Periodic cyclical reviews are conducted of all existing undergraduate programs of specialization, graduate degree programs, and for-credit graduate diploma programs at minimum once every eight years. Reviews provide information upon which university decisions may be made (e.g., program continuance, modification or discontinuance). A master list of Trent s current program offerings is found at Appendix A. The Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic will maintain an updated master list of programs identifying the academic unit(s) responsible for each program. In cases where a program is delivered in more than one location with different faculty and resources, or is also offered jointly with another institution, or is offered in more than one mode of delivery, each distinct offering will be listed, though related reviews will normally occur concurrently. Reviews of undergraduate programs will normally be reviewed concurrently with reviews of related graduate degree/diploma programs. However, the quality of each academic program, and the learning environment of the students in each program, will be independently evaluated. Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 4

5 Cyclical program reviews are comprised of five principal components: A. Self-study (internal program perspective); B. External evaluation (peer review) with report and recommendations on program quality improvement; C. Institutional evaluation of the self-study and the external assessment report, resulting in recommendations for program quality improvement or change; D. Preparation and adoption of plans to implement the recommendations, and to monitor their implementation; E. Follow-up reporting on the principal findings of the review, and the implementation of recommendations. Schedule and Timeline of Reviews The Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic, in consultation with the Deans, prepares and maintains a schedule of reviews identifying the academic unit(s) responsible for each program. An updated schedule is posted on the Office s public website. Under exceptional circumstances, a Dean may request an earlier review for a program or a delay in a scheduled review. Notwithstanding any such accelerated or delayed reviews, all programs must be reviewed at least once every eight years. The Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic will notify the academic units responsible for programs scheduled to undergo cyclical review at least one year in advance of the commencement of a review, and will provide information and guidance about the cyclical review process. Generally, the timeline of reviews will be as follows: Year 1 By: April 1: Office of the Provost and Vice President Academic confirms with academic units the programs to be reviewed in the upcoming academic year and requests a joint list of possible external reviewers. (Note: initial notice of a review is given a year in advance.) November 1: Academic units submit self-studies to Dean(s) under whom the programs under review fall. Dean(s) provide(s) feedback and facilitate(s) improvements. December 1. Self-studies submitted to Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic [which submits to the Program Quality Assurance Committee (PQAC)]. December - January: Self-studies approved; Review Committees established; material forwarded to members of Review Committees. January-April: Site visits occur. February-May (depending on timing of site visit): One month after site visit: Reports from Review Committees submitted to Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic. Two months after site visit: Response from Academic Units. Three months after site visit: Response from Deans. Year 2 By: November 1: PQAC prepares draft Final Assessment Reports. December 1: PQAC submits Final Assessment Reports to Senate and forwards reports to the Quality Council. Year 3 Academic Units submit follow-up implementation reports in accordance with stipulated timelines. By December 1: PQAC submits Annual Implementation Report to Senate. Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 5

6 A. PROGRAM SELF-STUDY The academic unit(s) responsible for a program under review will conduct a self-study of its internal perspective regarding the program and its academic goals and aspirations for the program. The academic unit(s) will prepare a self-study document that is broad-based, reflective, and forwardlooking and that includes critical analysis. Preparation of the self-study must be informed by the Evaluation Criteria at Appendix B. Where more than one academic unit is responsible for a distinct offering of a program, the units will work together in the preparation of the self-study. (Normally, a member of PQAC will be assigned to a program in the spring to assist the upcoming self-study process.) At minimum, the following will be included in the self-study: a) The program s developmental history and background, a description of the academic unit(s) responsible for the program, and a description of how units work together in collaboration where more than one unit is responsible for a program. b) An overview of comparable programs offered by other institutions in Ontario and nationally where appropriate. c) A summary of any program-related measures of performance (including any applicable provincial, national or professional standards) and associated data. d) An overview of the recommendations and outcomes of the most recently completed review. e) An overview of the program s basic structure, including details of streaming, major and minor options, or other degree content options. f) Calendar copy and course outlines (in an appendix) for all courses offered in the program, and descriptions of program requirements as they appear therein. g) Information about the pedagogical approaches taken by instructors in the program. h) A detailed study of the enrolment, retention and graduation statistics for the program spanning five or more years (unless inappropriate). Statistics should include information on students taking majors and joint majors, broken down by year. i) For graduate and professional programs, details of admissions requirements, enrolment targets, number of applications, actual enrolment and retention statistics, cohort data and provenance of students, with breakdown of international and domestic students, and identification of the undergraduate degree institution from which students have come. j) A description of the program s learning outcomes in relation to those of the institution, and the manner in which the unit assesses the extent to which its graduates achieve these stated outcomes. k) Information on the mapping of individual courses onto the appropriate degree level expectations for the program. Course-level information should also include basic information on class size, typical enrolments or multiyear statistics on course enrolment if significantly varying from year to year. l) Information about faculty in the academic unit(s) that support the program under review, including complete CVs (in an appendix); details of individual faculty research activities; and details of number of thesis or research students supervised and dates of start and finish for all graduate students for graduate program reviews. m) Details of the operating budget for the unit over the past five years. n) Summary of resources available to the unit, including dedicated and shared space, library facilities, computing facilities, and any other relevant infrastructure. o) Summary of other academic services that directly contribute to the academic quality of the program under review (see Framework and Guide). p) Information about the current occupations or positions of graduates of the program, survey data on student placement after graduation, when available. q) A critical evaluation of the program s strengths and weaknesses, and the program s degree of success in achieving its stated objectives and goals. r) The academic unit s current strategic unit plan or a summary of the plan. Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 6

7 s) A summary of the process or means by which participation of program faculty, staff and students has been assured in preparation of the self-study and how their views are obtained and taken into account; The self-study document may also contain the input of others deemed to be relevant and useful, such as graduates of the program, representatives of industry, related professions, practical training programs, and employers, as appropriate. The self-study document will also confirm a list of no fewer than six possible external reviewers who hold the rank of associate or full professor and who are individuals judged by the program to be active experts in the disciplinary / interdisciplinary areas of the program. Where a graduate program is to be reviewed, at least half of the proposed reviewers must have experience with graduate teaching and supervision and have professional experience covering any identified fields of expertise in the program. At least half of the reviewers should be identified from institutions outside of Ontario. Programs will work together to jointly identify possible external reviewers in cases where related programs will be reviewed in the same process. Where possible this process will happen in the Spring preceding the start of the review process. A short statement about each of the proposed reviewers, containing brief biographical and educational information (including areas of specialization), should be included along with institutional addresses and full contact information. The program under review should not contact or communicate with the proposed reviewers. Submission of Self-Study The self-study document (marked confidential ) will be submitted to the relevant Dean(s) for review. The Dean(s) will provide feedback and facilitate improvements. When the Dean(s) is/are satisfied that the self-study is complete and accurate, the document will be submitted to the Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic for distribution to PQAC. After consideration, PQAC will either approve the document or advise the unit(s) and Dean(s) of revisions to be made before re-submission and reconsideration by PQAC. Where the head of a program is a Dean, the self-study will be submitted directly to the Provost and Vice-President Academic. B. EXTERNAL EVALUATION Establishment of Review Committee, No Conflict of Interest Once the self-study document has been approved, or all self-study documents when related programs will be reviewed in the same process, PQAC will establish a Review Committee in accordance with the following: 1) Composition: a) At least one external reviewer, preferably two, for an undergraduate program(s). The final decision on the number of reviewers is left to the discretion of the Provost and Vice- President Academic in consultation with PQAC; b) A minimum of two external reviewers for a graduate program, at least one of whom will be from an institution outside Ontario, and both being qualified by discipline and experience to review the program. Normally, Ph.D. programs will require three reviewers; c) Three external reviewers for a concurrent review of undergraduate and graduate programs, at least one of whom will be from an institution outside Ontario, and all being qualified by discipline and experience to review both program levels; d) One internal member who is a senior faculty member (more than 10 years experience) from Trent University from outside of the program(s) and discipline / interdisciplinary group. Using his/her knowledge of institutional practices and culture, the internal member facilitates the work of the external members of the Review Committee. When a graduate program is being reviewed, the internal member should be an individual experienced in graduate teaching and supervision. Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 7

8 e) An additional discretionary member, appropriately qualified and experienced, may be assigned from industry or the professions by the Provost and Vice-President Academic, in consultation with PQAC. 2) All members of the Review Committee will be at arm s length from the program under review and will be required to declare the same in writing. To avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest reviewers will not: be a close friend or relative of a member of an academic unit undergoing a review; have been a research supervisor of a member of an academic unit or a regular or repeated external examiner of students in the unit undergoing a review within the past seven years; have been a graduate student of a member of an academic unit undergoing a review within the past seven years; have collaborated with a member of an academic unit undergoing a review within the past seven years (i.e., significantly contributed to intellectual work with another) or have plans to collaborate with a member in the immediate future; or have been an instructor or visiting scholar in an academic unit undergoing a review within the past seven years. Selection of Members of Review Committee, Site Visit After review of the self-study/ies for the programs, including the list of proposed external reviewers, PQAC will identify a ranked list of the most appropriate external reviewers and internal members. The Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic will contact proposed reviewers directly, confirm those willing and able to serve, and oversee the arrangements for a campus site visit. The visit will normally be scheduled for two consecutive days though a review of multiple programs may take longer, particularly if a visit to more than one campus is necessary. The Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic will finalize the visit schedule in consultation with the academic program(s) being reviewed, which shall (work jointly to) provide a draft schedule listing the individuals to be interviewed and further details respecting availability. If possible, a portion of the last day of the visit will be allocated to report planning. Review Committee Instructions The Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic will provide to each member of the Review Committee a copy of standard instructions with respect to the review and the preparation of the committee s report, which will direct the reviewers, for each program under review, to: Set out roles and obligations. Identify and commend the program s notably strong and creative attributes. Describe the program s respective strengths, areas for improvement, and opportunities for enhancement using the Evaluation Criteria (Appendix B). Recommend specific steps to be taken to improve the program, distinguishing between those the program can make itself, and those that require external action. Recognize the institution s autonomy to determine priorities for funding, space, and faculty allocation. Respect the confidentiality required for all aspects of the review process. In addition, members of the Review Committee may be asked to respond to special instructions from the Provost and Vice-President Academic in the final report. Such instruction may include: Issues of special concern identified by the Provost and Vice-President Academic and/or PQAC for the program under review. For example, program-specific issues related to appropriateness of the curriculum; breadth of the curriculum; enrolment levels; recruitment; quality of the permanent or limited-term faculty; adequacy of staffing, space or equipment; program-specific library resources, etc.; and/or Concerns and/or recommendations raised in previous external reviews of a program. Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 8

9 The Review Committee s evaluation and final report will address the substance of both the self-study document(s) and the Evaluation Criteria (Appendix B). Documentation for the Review Committee The Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic will provide to each member of the Review Committee a copy of: Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Self-study document(s) (which includes a list of faculty and CVs); University Calendar, or applicable sections of the calendar; University degree requirements; Program degree requirements; Program handbook(s) and policies, if applicable. The Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic will also provide each member of the Review Committee with the site visit schedule. In the case of professional programs, there will be a description provided of how the views of employers and professional associations will be solicited and made available to the committee. Reporting by Review Committee, Indicator of Quality The Review Committee will provide preliminary oral feedback to the Provost and Vice-President Academic before the conclusion of the site visit. Within one month of the site visit, the Review Committee will submit a final written report (marked confidential ) to the Provost and Vice-President Academic. The Review Committee will normally submit a single omnibus report on all programs reviewed with distinctive attributes reported on for each discrete program. There may be situations, as determined by the Provost and Vice-President Academic, where separate reports may be submitted. The Review Committee will summarize the outcome of their review by selecting one of the following evaluative indicators of quality for each program reviewed: good quality, good quality with report (or concerns), poor quality, non-viable. C. INSTITUTIONAL EVALUATION Response to the Report of the Review Committee Once the final written report of the Review Committee is received, the Office of the Provost and Vice- President Academic will distribute copies of the report to PQAC, the relevant Dean(s), and the undergraduate program Chair(s) and/or graduate program Director(s) of the academic units responsible for each program reviewed in the report. The Provost and Vice-President Academic will ask the undergraduate Chair(s) and/or graduate program Director(s) to provide the response of their program to the Review Committee s final report and specifically to the report s recommendations. Chair(s)/Director(s) will consult with members of the program in finalizing a response. The response will be submitted to the Office of the Provost and Vice- President Academic within one month. After receipt of the program response(s), the Provost and Vice-President Academic will ask the relevant Dean(s) to provide a written response within one month to the plans / recommendations proposed in the self-study(ies), the report and recommendations of the Review Committee, and the program response(s) to the Review Committee s report. In addition, the Dean will be asked to describe, accounting for each distinct program: Any changes in curriculum, program organization, policy or governance necessary to meet the recommendations; Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 9

10 Any resources, financial and otherwise, that will be provided to support the implementation of selected recommendations; and A proposed timeline for the implementation of any recommendations. Where the head of a program is a Dean, the written response will be prepared by the Provost and Vice-President Academic or delegate. Final Assessment Report Four documents are required for review in preparing a Final Assessment Report: Self-study(ies) with plans and recommendations (internal assessment); Report of the Review Committee, with its comments and recommendations (external assessment); Program response(s) to the report of the Review Committee; and Response from the relevant Dean(s) These documents will be reviewed by PQAC, which will prepare a draft of the Final Assessment Report for Senate approval. The Final Assessment Report is an institutional synthesis of the external evaluation and internal responses and assessments. The Final Assessment Report will normally be a single report on all programs reviewed together with a report on the distinctive attributes of each discrete program. The Final Assessment report will: Identify the significant strengths of the program(s); Identify opportunities for program improvement and enhancement; Set out and prioritize the recommendations that are selected for implementation; Identify and explain the circumstances related to any recommendations that will not be implemented; Include an Implementation Plan and Executive Summary. Any confidential personnel information will be included in the report in a section expressly marked confidential. The information included in such a section will be circulated only as necessary to the relevant program Chairs / Directors, and Deans, with a record kept in the Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic. The confidential section will otherwise be excised from circulated reports. D. PLANS TO IMPLEMENT / MONITOR The Implementation Plan in the Final Assessment Report will expressly identify: The body/individual responsible for approving the recommendations (e.g., Provost and Vice- President Academic, Senate); The source(s) of any additional resources made necessary by the recommendations (e.g., Provost and Vice-President Academic, Vice-President Administration); The individual(s) responsible for the timely monitoring and implementation of the recommendations (e.g., undergraduate program Chair, graduate program Director); Appropriate timelines for acting on recommendations and submitting follow-up Implementation Reports. E. FOLLOW-UP IMPLEMENTATION Programs will submit Implementation Reports report to PQAC in accordance with timelines set out in the Implementation Plans. Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 10

11 PQAC will annually prepare for Senate an omnibus Annual Implementation Report on the progress of programs carrying out Implementation Plans. GENERAL PROVISIONS Posting and Distribution of Reports The Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic is responsible for the distribution of reports as follows: Final Assessment Reports to Chairs and Directors of reviewed programs Relevant Deans Senate (for approval) Quality Council Board of Governors (Executive Summary and Implementation Plans only) Annual Implementation Reports to Chairs and Directors of reviewed programs; Relevant Deans Senate Board of Governors The Provost and Vice-President Academic serves as Trent s authoritative contact to the Quality Council. Posting and Access to Documentation The Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic will post on its public website all individual program Executive Summaries, Implementation Plans, and Implementation Reports as well as Annual Implementation Reports. Given the highly sensitive nature of the documentation used in the cyclical review process, in which programs and reviewers are asked to be critical in their evaluations, the documents produced are deemed confidential. Institutional failure to protect the confidentiality of the internal documents could seriously impair frank appraisal, discourage free flow of analytical information, and likely damage the functionality of the review process overall. As such, and at the discretion of the Provost and Vice-President Academic, the following documents are deemed to be confidential and therefore not subject to public access : Specialized instructions made available to external reviewers in preparation for the review Self-study reports Reports of the Review Committees Responses to the Review Committee report from the program(s) and relevant Dean(s) In response to a written request, the Provost and Vice-President Academic may provide excerpts from the confidential documents on a case-by-case basis. Use of Accreditation and Other External Reviews The University may use components of accreditation and other external review processes in addition to, or in substitution of, required components of the cyclical review process, where such is judged by PQAC to be appropriate and reasonable, the purpose being to reduce duplication during the review of professional programs. In such cases, the documentation is expected to be consistent with the requirements established in these procedures and a record of addition / substitution will be fully outlined in the Final Assessment Report and subject to audit by the Quality Council. Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 11

12 Provision of Support The Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic will develop and provide to academic units and reviewers: An institutional manual including: o A timeline for the preparation of reviews o Templates (e.g. for the Self-Study and Review Committee reports o Written guidance on the conduct of rigorous, objective and probing self-studies and describing the potential benefits that can accrue from them; Workshop or orientation session for academic units, where deemed appropriate. The Office of Institutional Planning and Analysis is responsible for the collection, aggregation and distribution of institutional data and outcome measures required for self-studies. Joint Programs In cases where a Trent program subject to review is offered jointly or in partnership with another institution, the Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic will work with the partner institution s counterpart Office to ensure that the requirements of both institutions quality assurance policies and procedures will be met through the review process in a way that avoids duplication and streamlines the process as much as possible. Specifically: There will be a single self-study which will explain how input was received from faculty, staff and students at each partner institution; Selection of external reviewers will involve participation by each partner institution; Selection of internal members requires joint input and may include one internal from each partner institution or preference may be given to an internal reviewer from another joint program, preferably with the same partner institution; and Site visits involve all partner institutions and, at least where partners are institutions in Ontario, include all sites. Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 12

13 Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 13

14 PART II. NEW PROGRAM PROPOSALS Origins of New Programs While academic unit(s) responsible for a new program will undertake detailed planning work, the initial conceptualization for a new program may come from a number of sources including groups of faculty members or students, groups of academic units, administration, collaboration with other institutions, or a body/group external to the University. Initial Consultation: Overview Proposal Document The first step in the internal assessment of a proposed new degree program will involve the development of an overview proposal document by the program proponents. The overview should address, in a preliminary manner, the criteria outlined in items 1-6 in Appendix C using a template provided by the Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic. The proposal will identify the academic unit(s) that would be responsible for the program, if known. The overview proposal document will initially be discussed with the relevant Dean(s). As well, proposal proponents are encouraged to begin early consultations with other academic units who may be affected by the proposed program, or that have expertise relevant to the proposal. Such units may share written comments with the Provost s Planning Group (PPG). Graduate program proponents are encouraged to engage in an early consultation with the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC). The Dean will take the overview to PPG for initial review. The initial review will normally take place by January for a program proposed to commence in September of the following year (i.e., 20 months later). Working Group Develops Detailed Proposal, Consults If PPG feels that the proposal merits further development, it will direct the Dean to strike a Program Development Working Group (Working Group), initially comprised of Chairs or delegates of all departments deemed to have a potential interest in the program under consideration. Following a preliminary meeting, which will also include any other self-identified interested parties, the ongoing composition of the Working Group will be determined, and a Chair appointed by the Dean. If PPG does not feel that the proposal merits further development, it shall direct feedback to the proponents. An amended proposal may be reconsidered by PPG. The Working Group will oversee and ensure initial discussion / consultation with the main academic units involved / affected and develop a more detailed proposal which will include a business plan and will address the criteria outlined in items 7-10 in Appendix C. PPG will review the more detailed proposal and business plan and, following PPG approval, the Dean will submit the proposal to the Academic Planning and Budget Committee (AP&B) for consideration. If AP&B supports the proposal, the Dean / Working Group will present, as appropriate, the detailed proposal for consultation / feedback to the relevant Decanal Advisory Council(s), Provost and Vice President Academic Advisory Committee (VPAAC) and Faculty Board for comment. Full Program Proposal Brief, External Review Parameters Taking into consideration the feedback received, the Working Group will develop a full Program Proposal Brief (based on the evaluation criteria outlined in Appendix C) using the provided template. The full brief will include details of the planned curricular offerings and program requirements, as well as an Executive Summary. In the full brief, the Working Group will identify no fewer than six (6) suitable external reviewers. These individuals should be judged to be experts in the disciplinary or interdisciplinary fields (i.e., at the Associate or Full Professor level) with program management experience. Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 14

15 In cases where a graduate degree program is being proposed, the reviewers must have experience with graduate teaching and supervision. The proposed reviewers should be suitable in their professional experience to cover the majority of any explicitly identified fields of expertise of the degree program, and at least half of the reviewers should be identified from institutions outside of Ontario. A paragraph about each of the proposed reviewers, containing brief biographical and professional information, including areas of specialization, should be included along with full contact information. All external reviewers will be at arm s length from the program and will be required to declare same in writing. To avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest reviewers will not: be a close friend or relative of a member of an academic unit undergoing a review; have been a research supervisor of a member of an academic unit or a regular or repeated external examiner of students in the unit undergoing a review within the past seven years; have been a graduate student of a member of an academic unit undergoing a review within the past seven years; have collaborated with a member of an academic unit undergoing a review within the past seven years (i.e., significantly contributed to intellectual work with another) or have plans to collaborate with a member in the immediate future; or have been an instructor or visiting scholar in an academic unit undergoing a review within the past seven years. Full Program Appraisal Brief Approved, External Reviewers Arranged The full Program Proposal Brief will be sent to Undergraduate Studies Committee (USC) or the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) for detailed review and comment. Once these comments have been addressed, the full Program Proposal Brief will then be submitted to and reviewed by the Program Quality Assurance Committee (PQAC). If PQAC is satisfied with the quality and content of the full Program Proposal Brief, PQAC will develop from the list of suggestions a ranked list of reviewers who will be charged with providing detailed evaluations of the proposed program. PQAC will aim to have a minimum of one, or preferably two reviewers to review new undergraduate degree programs; a minimum of two reviewers to review new M.A. or M.Sc. degree programs; and a minimum of two, though preferably three, reviewers to review new Ph.D. degree programs. Where there is more than one consultant, normally at least one will be from an institution outside of Ontario, The Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic will contact the proposed reviewers in ranked order. In order that the external reviewers understand their roles and obligations, they will be provided with a set of standard instructions (identical for all program proposals) at the time of invitation, which will set out that the final report will: Identify and commend the proposed program s notably strong and creative attributes; Describe the proposed program s respective strengths, areas for improvement, and opportunities for enhancement; Recommend specific steps to be taken to improve the proposed program, distinguishing between those the program can make itself, and those that require external action; Recognize the institution s autonomy to determine priorities for funding, space and faculty allocation; and Respect the confidentiality required for all aspects of the review process. In addition to the standard instructions, external reviewers may also be asked to respond to special instructions from the Provost and Vice-President Academic in the final report, such as: Issues of special concern identified by the Provost and Vice-President Academic or PQAC for the program under review; and/or Concerns and/or recommendations identified through the consultation / feedback process. Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 15

16 External Review, Internal Response, and Institutional Approval External review of graduate program proposals will normally be conducted on-site. Reviews of undergraduate proposals will normally be on site but may be conducted by desk audit, videoconference or equivalent method, if the external reviewer(s) is/are satisfied that such an option is acceptable. The external reviewer(s) will evaluate the full Program Proposal Brief using the criteria outlined in Appendix C and submit a joint report (using the Quality Council template) that appraises the standards and quality of the proposed program and addresses the criteria set out in Appendix C, including the associated faculty and material resources. Reviewers will also be invited to acknowledge any clearly innovative aspects of the proposed program, together with recommendations on any essential or otherwise desirable modifications. The joint report will be submitted to the Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic, which will direct copies to the relevant Dean(s), Working Group and PQAC. PQAC will be responsible for coordinating a written internal response to the report from both the Dean(s) and Working Group. On receipt of the internal response, PQAC will determine whether or not the proposal: Meets Trent s quality assurance standards, and should therefore proceed to approval; Requires modifications; or, Should not be pursued further. If and when the decision is made to move ahead with the proposal, PQAC will direct the Dean(s) / Working Group to take the full Program Proposal Brief, including calendar copy, to USC / GSC for information and feedback. With the oversight of PQAC, the Dean(s) / Working Group may revise the proposal based on the comments provided by USC or GSC. PQAC will submit the full Program Proposal Brief to Faculty Board for information and discussion, and Senate for institutional approval. If approval is not granted, PQAC will determine next steps which may include modification of the proposal or discontinuation of the initiative. Submission to the Quality Council Once Senate has approved a proposal, the Provost and Vice-President Academic, on behalf of PQAC, will submit (using the submission template) the full Program Proposal Brief, along with required reports and documents, to the Quality Council and, if necessary, to the Ministry of Training, Colleges & Universities (MTCU). The submission will include information on whether or not the proposed program will be a cost recovery program. The Provost and Vice-President Academic serves as Trent s authoritative contact to the Quality Council during the approval process. Announcement of New Degree Programs Following its submission to the Quality Council, Trent may announce its intention to offer the degree program, provided that clear indication is given that approval by the Quality Council is pending and that no offers of admission will be made until the degree program is approved by the Council. Appeals and Resubmissions Once the Quality Council has completed its review, it will confirm one of four recommendations: Approval to Commence; Approval to Commence with Report; Deferral for up to one year (affording an opportunity to amend and resubmit the proposal brief); Against Approval. Should the Quality Council not grant approval to commence, PQAC will reassess the proposal in light of the Quality Council s comments and will determine whether to amend and resubmit the brief, appeal the decision, or discontinue the proposal. Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 16

17 Should the decision be made to amend and resubmit, PQAC will work with the relevant Dean(s) / Working Group on a revised Brief. This revised Brief may be sent USC / GSC for information and feedback. When PQAC deems that the revised full Program Proposal Brief addresses the issues highlighted by the Quality Council, it will be submitted to Faculty Board for information and discussion, to Senate for institutional approval and thereafter resubmitted to the Quality Council and, if necessary, to MTCU. Posting and Follow-Up Reports The decisions of the Quality Council and MTCU, as well as the planned timeline to begin a program, will be reported to Senate. Quality council decisions will also be posted by the Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic to its public website together with brief program descriptions. An annual report (Executive Summaries and timelines) will be submitted to the Board of Governors. (The President and Vice-Chancellor will keep the Board of Governors regularly apprised of program proposals.) Implementation Window After a new degree program is approved to commence by the Quality Council, the program must begin within thirty-six months of the date of approval; otherwise the approval from the Quality Council will lapse. Monitoring of New Programs The relevant Dean(s) will provide a monitoring report to PQAC on a new program (a) within the first six months of its commencement and (b) after the program has been operating for one year. The purpose of the monitoring reports is to ensure that the program has been successfully initiated and to identify early, and work to address, any unforeseen implementation issues. PQAC will make an annual report to Senate on the monitoring of new programs. First Cyclical Review The first cyclical review for any new degree program must be conducted no more than eight years after the date of the program s initial enrolment. The program will be added to the University s program review schedule. This provision does not preclude the University from discontinuing a new program before its first scheduled cyclical review. For-Credit Graduate Diplomas and Collaborative Programs Proposals for new For-Credit Graduate Diplomas and Collaborative programs (intra-university graduate programs as defined in the Quality Assurance Framework) are subject to the new program approval process except that only some of the criteria in Appendix C will apply and the external review process is not required. Such proposals are subject to the Quality Council s expedited approval process. Joint Programs In cases where a proposed new program will be offered jointly or in partnership with another institution, the Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic will work with the partner institution s counterpart Office to ensure that the requirements of both institutions quality assurance policies and procedures will be met in a way that avoids duplication and streamlines the process as much as possible. Specifically: Selection of external reviewers will involve participation by each partner institution; Site visits involve all partner institutions and, at least where partners are institutions in Ontario, include all sites; There will be a coordinated single internal response to the external report. Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 17

18 Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 18

19 Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 19

20 PART III. MODIFICATION OF AN EXISTING PROGRAM A. MAJOR MODIFICATIONS Major modifications to existing programs are modifications that significantly alter a program s requirements, intended learning outcomes, or human or other resources associated with the program, with respect to those in place at the time the program was originally approved or as changed following the last cyclical review. Major modifications are substantial, usually creating significant new choice or experience for students, but are not so considerable as to constitute a new program. Examples of major modifications that significantly change the program requirements include: The merger of two or more programs New bridging options for college diploma graduates Significant changes in the quantity of laboratory time in an undergraduate program Introduction or deletion of an undergraduate thesis or capstone project Introduction or deletion of a work experience, co-op option, internship or practicum, or portfolio Introduction or deletion of a Masters-level research project, research essay or thesis, courseonly pathway, or a co-op, internship or practicum option Creation, deletion, or renaming of a Field in a graduate program (Note: changes to Fields require the approval of the Quality Council). Changes to the requirements of graduate program candidacy examinations, field studies or residency requirements Major changes to courses comprising a significant portion of the program, typically more than 1/3 of the total program. A change to the full- or part-time program options, or vice versa a new Minor, Emphasis, Specialization or Study Abroad opportunity in an undergraduate program Examples of major modifications to learning outcomes include: Changes to program content, other than those listed above, that affect the learning outcomes but do not meet the threshold for a new program Examples of major modifications that are associated with the human or other resources associated with the program include: Changes to the faculty delivering the program, such as when a large fraction of the faculty retire and new hires alter the areas of research and teaching expertise A change to the language of delivery The establishment of an existing degree program at another institution or location The offering of an existing program substantially online, where it has previously been offered in face-to-face mode, or vice versa Any change to the essential resources associated with the program, where these changes impair the delivery of the approved program Trent University Institutional Program Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures Page 20

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