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Curriculum Change Procedures

Classification number ACD 1501.01
Parent policy Institutional Quality Assurance Process Policy
Framework category Academic
Approving authority Academic Council
Policy owner Vice-President, Academic and Provost
Approval date June 23, 2020
Review date June 2023
Supersedes ACD 1501 Program Quality Assurance Policy (June 2010); Quality Assurance Handbook (June 2011)

Purpose

The purpose of these Procedures is to establish a consistent process for defining and documenting changes to courses and programs that will facilitate their review and approval under the provincial quality assurance framework.

Definitions

For the purposes of these procedures the following definitions apply:

“Academic Council”: the most senior academic governance body of the institution

“Faculty Council”: established by Academic Council to approve new programs and courses, policies (including admissions), academic standards, curriculum and degree requirements, and long-range academic plans, at the Faculty level

“Graduate Studies Committee (GSC)”: a standing committee of Academic Council responsible for reviewing graduate curriculum proposals and documents.

“Major Program Modifications”: those modifications that constitute a significant change to the design and delivery of an existing program 

“Minor Curricular Changes”: those changes to individual courses and curricular offerings that do not affect the overall program requirements

“Minor Program Adjustments”: changes to program requirements and/or learning outcomes that may require a plan for transitioning cohorts of students to meet different requirements over time

“Program”: A complete set and sequence of courses, combination of courses, and/or other units of study, research and practice; the successful completion of which qualifies the candidate for a formal credential (degree with or without major; diploma).

“Quality Council”: the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance, established by the Council of Ontario Universities in July 2010, responsible for oversight of the Quality Assurance Framework processes for Ontario Universities. The Council operates at arm’s length from both Ontario’s publicly assisted universities and the Ontario government.

“Undergraduate Studies Committee (USC)”: a standing committee of Academic Council responsible for reviewing undergraduate curriculum proposals and documents.

Scope and authority

These procedures apply to undergraduate and graduate Programs whether offered in full, in part, or conjointly by any institutions federated or affiliated with the University.  It also applies to Programs offered in partnership, collaboration or other such arrangement with other post-secondary institutions including colleges, universities, or other institutes. 

The Provost, or successor thereof, is the Policy Owner and is responsible for overseeing the implementation, administration, and interpretation of these Procedures.

Procedures

Modifications to existing Programs range from changes to individual courses and curricular offerings, through minor adjustments to programs and regulations, to major modifications, such as the introduction of new specializations and fields. The Centre for Institutional Quality Enhancement will provide access to an electronic workflow tracking system and repository for curricular changes. Individuals may use the templates provided at www.ontariotechu.ca/ciqe as a guide to assist in the planning of the changes prior to creating formal electronic proposals for approval in the electronic system.

Minor Curricular Changes

  1. Minor Curricular Changes fall under the purview of the Faculty Council(s), normally through its curriculum committee or similar body, and include:
    • New elective courses and the deletion of elective courses
    • Changes to course titles and course descriptions
    • Changes to course numbers, credit weighting of elective courses, and contact hours in lecture, lab, tutorial or other components
    • Changes to prerequisites, co-requisites, cross-listed courses, credit restrictions and/or credit exclusions
    • Changes in the design, mode of delivery, course learning outcomes, teaching and assessment methods of an individual course
    • Changes to, or the addition of, experiential learning components, which are part of the course delivery
    • Other minor changes to individual course offerings that do not affect the overall program requirements
  2. Minor Curricular Changes will be approved at the Faculty Council. Minor Curricular Changes must be reported to the appropriate standing committee of Academic Council (USC or GSC) using the appropriate electronic proposal by the end of January each year for implementation in the upcoming Academic Calendar.
  3. Consultation with other Faculty Councils is required if the course being modified is core to another program. Consultation, in accordance with the current procedures for Indigenous consultation, is required if the new elective course or course being modified will contain Indigenous content.

Minor Program Adjustments

  1. Minor Program Adjustments will include a full electronic proposal brief and are submitted to the appropriate standing committee of Academic Council for approval. Minor Program Adjustments include:
    • The introduction of new required courses
    • The deletion of required courses
    • Editorial changes to degree requirements or program learning outcomes
    • New academic requirements or changes to existing requirements
      For clarity, changes will be defined as Minor Program Adjustments when:
    • The introduction, deletion, or modification of courses or requirements equals no more than one-third of the total course credit hours of the Program
  2. Minor Program Adjustments must be presented directly to the USC or GSC for consideration and approval following their recommendation by Faculty Council. Any changes must receive this committee’s approval prior to their implementation and inclusion in the academic calendars.  The outcome is subsequently reported to Academic Council for information.
    1. To be included in the academic calendars for the subsequent academic year, proposals must be received by the Committees no later than the end of January.
  3. Minor Program Adjustment proposal briefs must minimally include the following information:
    1. A summary of the proposed change, setting out the rationale and context for it.
    2. A description of the ways in which the proposed change will enhance the academic opportunities for students, or the issues or challenges that the proposed change are intended to address.
    3. An account of the process of consultation with other units and measures taken to minimize the impact of the change on students if the proposed change involves students/faculty from other programs or courses. An account of the process of consultation related to Indigenous content is required if the proposed change has or will contain Indigenous content.
    4. A timeline for the implementation of the proposed change and transition plan for current students if applicable.
    5. An analysis of the financial and enrolment implications.
    6. Calendar copy and program maps for the proposed change that clearly highlight the revisions to be made to the existing curriculum.
    7. Completed proposals for all new courses and changes to existing courses that result from the change.

Major Program Modifications

  1. The Quality Council defines Major Program Modifications to include the following Program changes:
    • Requirements that differ significantly from those existing at the time of the previous cyclical program review;
    • Significant changes to the learning outcomes;
    • Significant changes to the faculty engaged in delivering the Program and/or to the essential physical resources as may occur, for example, where there have been changes to the existing mode(s) of delivery (e.g., different campus, online delivery, inter-institutional collaboration);
    • The addition of a new field to an existing graduate Program. Note that institutions are not required to declare fields for either master’s or doctoral Programs.

      For greater clarity, the following examples illustrate changes that normally constitute a significant change and would therefore be considered a Major Program Modification:

    • The merger of two or more Programs
    • New bridging options for college diploma graduates
    • Significant change in the laboratory time of an undergraduate Program
    • The introduction or deletion of an undergraduate thesis or capstone project
    • The introduction or deletion of a work experience, cooperative education, internship or practicum, or portfolio
    • At the master’s level, the introduction or deletion of a research project, research essay or thesis, course-only, co-op, internship, or practicum option
    • The creation, deletion, or re-naming of a field in a graduate Program
    • The creation, deletion, or re-naming of a specialization or minor
    • Changes to the requirements for graduate program candidacy examinations, field studies, or residency requirements
    • Changes to courses comprising a significant (i.e., one-third) proportion of the Program
    • Other changes to program content that affect the learning outcomes, but do not meet the threshold of a ‘new Program’
    • Substantive changes to the Program learning outcomes, including those completed as a result of a cyclical Program review
    • Changes to the Faculty delivering the Program that alter the areas of research and teaching interests (e.g. a large proportion of the faculty retires; new hires)
    • A change in the language of Program delivery
    • The establishment of an existing Program at another institution or location
    • The offering of an existing Program substantially online where it had previously been offered in face-to-face mode, or vice versa
    • Change to full- or part-time program options, or vice versa

      Program modifications that will result in a more substantial change to its nature and content will require review and approval in accordance with the New Program Procedure. The final determination of whether a Program modification constitutes a significant change or a new Program will rest with the Provost.

  2. Major Program Modifications will include full electronic proposals and must include evidence that appropriate consultation has taken place. Once proposals are approved by Faculty Council, they will be subject to review by the appropriate standing committee of Academic Council (USC or GSC). The standing committee will submit its recommendation for approval to the Executive Committee of Academic Council, and subsequently to the Academic Council for final review and approval. Major Program Modifications are reported annually to the Quality Council.
    1. To be included in the academic calendars for the subsequent academic year, Major Program Modifications must be received by USC/GSC no later than the end of November. 
  3. Major Program Modification electronic proposals must minimally include the following:
    1. A brief background on the existing program and rationale for new program component.
    2. Overview of the new program component, indicating the opportunities for graduates and evidence of fit with the mission, mandate and strategic plans of the University and the Faculty Description of how the new program component fits into the broader array of Program offerings, particularly areas of teaching and research strengths and complementary areas of study.
    3. A fully developed section outlining: the program component learning outcomes and alignment with the provincial degree level expectations; admission requirements; program structure Calendar copy and program maps for the new program component showing courses and/or research components offered each semester and indicating courses currently offered, new courses, and required courses provided by other units; any experiential or other applied learning opportunities that are part of the new program component; and program content including course outlines, descriptions, modes of delivery and teaching methods, and assessment with a linkage between the course learning outcomes and the program learning outcomes.
    4. A list of required faculty members, including current core faculty and required new faculty; additional academic and non-academic human resources that may be required to launch and maintain the new program component; physical resource requirements, with how current facilities will be used and what, if any, new resources may be required; and for graduate Programs, any student support (funding) requirements.
    5. An outline of areas consulted, including an account of the process of consultation regarding Indigenous content, where appropriate.
    6. A summary statement of funding required to support the Program and a statement of current resource availability.

 

Admissions Changes

  1. Changes to admission requirements will proceed through the governance structure to various levels of approval based on the nature and impact of the change.
    1. Changes to admission requirements at the University level require final approval by Academic Council following recommendation by the USC/GSC.
    2. Changes to admission requirements at the Faculty level require approval by the USC/GSC and are reported for information to Academic Council.
    3. Changes to admission requirements at the individual program level are reported to the USC/GSC for information following approval by Faculty Council(s).

      All decisions concerning admissions made within the scope of existing requirements are considered administrative decisions and can be approved by the Registrar or designate.

Monitoring and review

This procedure will be reviewed as necessary and at least every three years. The Provost’s Office, through the Center for Institutional Quality Enhancement coordinates the day to day management of the quality assurance process, and works in collaboration with Deans and units to implement the procedures for developing and accessing academic programs. The Provost or successor thereof, is responsible to monitor and review this Policy.

Relevant legislation

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Related policies, procedures & documents

Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance - Quality Assurance Framework

Institutional Quality Assurance Policy

Program Nomenclature Directives

Protocols associated with consultation/development of Indigenous curriculum