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New Program Procedures

Classification number ACD 1501.03
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 the planning and establishment for any new degree or diploma program at the University.

Definitions

For the purposes of these procedures the following definitions apply: 

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

“Academic Unit”: a Faculty or combination of Faculties offering a Program

“Cyclical Program Review”: to critically examine the components of a program with the assistance of outside reviewers with the goal of improving the quality of the program for students. A program review’s purpose is not solely to demonstrate the positive aspects of the program, but also to outline the challenges and concerns that will lead to improvements for the future

“Degree Program”: a complete set and sequence of courses, combination of courses and/or other units of study, research and practice prescribed by the university to fulfill the requirements for a particular degree

“Diploma Program”: a complete set and sequence of courses, combination of courses and/or other units of study and practice prescribed by the university to fulfill the requirements for a particular diploma

“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 Diploma”: A prescribed set of degree credit courses and/or other forms of study that can be undertaken as a stand-alone program or to complement a graduate degree program, and to provide specialization, sub-specialization or inter- or multi- disciplinary qualification. A graduate diploma is comprised of at least 12 credit hours of graduate level study. Graduate diplomas are classified as concurrent graduate diplomas (type 2) and direct- entry (type 3) graduate diplomas, consistent with the requirements as set out by the Council of Ontario Universities:

  1. A concurrent graduate diploma is offered in conjunction with a specified master’s or doctoral degree, the admission to which requires that the candidate be already admitted to the master’s or doctoral degree. It requires advanced level, usually interdisciplinary, study, at least 50% of which is in addition to the general requirements for the degree
  2. A direct-entry graduate diploma is a stand-alone, direct-entry program, developed by a unit already offering a related masters (and sometimes doctoral) degree, and designed to meet the needs of a particular clientele or market. Ontario Tech type 3 graduate diplomas may include non-degree credit courses to a maximum of 30% of the total program credit hours

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

“Ministry”: the Ontario Ministry governing the affairs of Colleges and Universities

“New Program: any degree, degree program, or major, currently approved by Academic Council and the Board of Governors, which has not been previously approved by the Quality Council, its predecessors, or any intra-institutional approval processes that previously applied. A change of name, only, 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). To clarify, for the purposes of these Procedures, a “new program” is brand new: that is to say, the program has substantially different program requirements and substantially different learning outcomes from those of any existing approved programs offered by Ontario Tech University. The final determination of whether a proposed offering constitutes a new program will rest with the Provost.

“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

“Resource Committee”: the university Academic Resource Committee or equivalent university body

“Undergraduate Diploma”: A prescribed set of degree credit courses and/or other forms of study that can be undertaken as a stand-alone program or to complement an undergraduate degree program. An undergraduate diploma is comprised of 18-30 credit hours of undergraduate level study

  1. A concurrent undergraduate diploma is offered in conjunction with an undergraduate degree, which requires that the candidate be already admitted to an undergraduate degree
  2. A direct-entry undergraduate diploma is a stand-alone, direct-entry program, developed by a unit already offering a related undergraduate or graduate
“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 new cost-recovery or government funded undergraduate and graduate Degree or Diploma Programs whether offered in full, in part, or conjointly by any institutions federated or affiliated with the University.  It also applies to new 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

Procedures for new Degree Programs involve seven components which will be undertaken in order: submission of a Notice of Intent to be approved by the Provost that demonstrates the program’s fit with the Strategic Mandate Agreement of the university and the Academic Plan of the Faculty(ies) offering the program; development a proposal brief by the initiating program; external evaluation to provide an assessment of program quality; internal response to assessment; internal approval of proposal; submission of proposal to the Quality Council and Ministry as appropriate; and subsequent review of the program as part of the university’s program review process.

New Diploma Programs are not subject to external review. Procedures for new Diploma Programs involve five components which will be undertaken in order: submission of a Notice of Intent to be approved by the Provost that demonstrates the program’s fit with the Strategic Mandate Agreement of the university and the Academic Plan of the Faculty(ies) offering the program; development a proposal brief by the initiating program; internal approval of proposal; submission of proposal to the Quality Council and Ministry as appropriate; and subsequent review of the program as part of the university’s program review process.

Individuals may use the templates provided at www.ontariotechu.ca/ciqe to assist in the planning and implementation of the components of New Program development.

New Degree Programs

  1. Notice of Intent and Consultation

    Faculties that wish to propose new Degree Programs will first complete a Notice of Intent form available through the Centre for Institutional Quality Enhancement (CIQE) website at www.ontariotechu.ca/ciqe. The Notice of Intent will facilitate the necessary consultation at the beginning of the planning stages, but will not replace ongoing communication and consultation throughout the process.

    1. All New Programs, must be approved by the Provost through the NOI to ensure that any resource requirements are appropriately addressed before work on the proposal proceeds.
    2. In the planning for any New Program, the Dean, in consultation with the Provost, must also determine the human, instructional and physical resources needed to implement the program and ensure its ongoing operation. The financial impact of the New Program on existing Programs must also be examined, and consideration must be given to possible collaborations with other units.
    3. In addition, there must be broad consultation with members of the academic community, including faculty, staff and students who may be affected by the initiative, and with those who are key to its implementation, including the Provost, the Registrar or the Dean of Graduate Studies, and the Chief Librarian. Staff and faculty wishing to develop New Programs related to Indigenization and reconciliation, or that contain Indigenous content, must also consult in a Good Way, in accordance with the current procedures for Indigenous consultation. 

  2. Proposal Briefs

    Detailed proposals for all new Degree Programs must be prepared by the proponents and feedback provided by Faculty Council. The proposal brief must clearly set out the rationale for the Program, including the ways in which the program advances the university’s mission and mandate, and addresses the need and demand for graduates of the Program. The proposal must also detail how the Program fits within the strategic vision of the University and the Faculty(ies), the requirements of the Program, along with details of the human, physical and financial resources required. A template for the proposal will be provided through CIQE via the website at www.ontariotechu.ca/ciqe. Proposal briefs for new Degree Programs must address the Evaluation Criteria as outlined in the Quality Assurance Framework, and also minimally include the following:
    1. The rationale for the Program, fit with the University’s and Faculty’s strategic direction, background on the Program’s development, a Program abstract, and evidence of student demand and societal need. It will also note any duplication with existing post-secondary programs at other institutions.
    2. A fully developed section outlining the Program learning outcomes and alignment with the provincial degree level expectations; admission requirements; program structure; 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. The program and course learning outcomes will be developed and aligned to the provincial degree level expectations through faculty participation in learning outcome development sessions hosted by CIQE. Should the curriculum contain any Indigenous content, evidence of consultation and approval in accordance with the current procedures for Indigenous consultation will be provided.
    3. A list will be provided 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 Program; 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.
    4. A summary statement of funding required to support the Program and a statement of current resource availability will be included.

  3. External Review and Reports

    1. Prior to external review, the Office of the Provost, through the Resource Committee, will review the draft proposal to ensure that all operational and financial issues and Evaluation Criteria have been adequately considered and addressed.

    2. External Reviewers

      For new Degree Programs, the Dean, in consultation with the Faculty curriculum committee, will recommend to the Provost the names of at least 5 individuals who may serve as reviewers of the Program. One reviewer will be engaged to review undergraduate programs, and two reviewers will be engaged to review graduate programs. All reviewers must be external to the University, tenured or equivalent, have program management experience at another university, and be at arm’s length to the program under review. CIQE will provide guidance on meeting the arm’s length requirement. Recommendations for external reviewers must be accompanied by a rationale for the selection and a brief biographical statement and/or curriculum vitae for each candidate.

    3.  

       Site Visit

      The Office of the Provost, through the CIQE, will organize a two-day site visit to provide an opportunity for the reviewers to assess the standards and quality of the proposed Program. For undergraduate programs, the review may also be conducted by video conference or equivalent method if the reviewer is satisfied that the off-site option is acceptable. At the beginning of the site visit, or prior to the desk audit, the Provost or their designate will meet with the reviewer(s) to outline the process for review and the roles and responsibilities of the reviewer.

    4. External Reviewers’ Report

      1. The reviewer(s) will submit to the Dean, using a template provided, a report that appraises the standards and quality of the proposed program and addresses the Evaluation Criteria.  Reviewers will be invited to acknowledge any clearly innovative aspects of the proposed program together with recommendations.  Normally, the report will be prepared within 30 days of the site visit.
      2. The Office of the Provost, through the Resource Committee, will review the report to ensure it meets the requirements stated in Article 5.3.4. Upon submission of the report, if additional details or clarification are needed from the reviewers, CIQE will reach out to the reviewers to request this in a revised report.

    5. Response to Report

      1. Upon receipt of the reviewers’ assessment, the Dean and the program committee will consider the recommendations of the report.  
      2. The program committee will send to the Dean a response to the external reviewer(s)’ report that will include a list of changes that can be made to the proposal based on the reviewer(s)’ recommendations.
      3. Using the program committee’s report as a guideline, the Dean will prepare a response.
      4. The program committee, working with the Dean, will amend the proposal and append to it a final list of changes made based on the recommendations and the program committee’s and Dean’s responses to the external report.

  4. Internal Approval Process

    1. The proposal brief, together with the reviewers’ report and the Dean’s and program committee’s responses will be reviewed and approved by the Faculty Council(s).
    2. The proposal will then be presented to the appropriate standing committee of Academic Council (GSC or USC) who will prepare a recommendation to Academic Council. The proposal will then be sent to Academic Council for review and approval, through the Executive Committee. Proposals are also subject to final approval by the University Board of Governors. 

  5. Submission of New Degree Programs to the Quality Council and the Ministry

    1. Once internal approvals for new Degree Programs have been obtained, the program proposal must be submitted to the Quality Council for review.
    2. Following a new Degree Program’s submission to the Quality Council, the University may announce its intent to offer the 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 approval is received.
    3. Once submitted to the Quality Council, the proposal will be subject to the Initial Appraisal Process and may require further development or revision prior to approval.
    4. After a Degree Program is approved to commence by the Quality Council, the Program will begin within thirty-six months of that date of approval, otherwise the approval will lapse.
    5. If a review is required for funding purposes, the proposed Degree Program will also be submitted to the Ministry.

New Diploma Programs

  1. Notice of Intent and Consultation
    Faculties that wish to propose new Diploma Programs will first complete a Notice of Intent form available through the Centre for Institutional Quality Enhancement (CIQE) website at www.ontariotechu.ca/ciqe. The Notice of Intent will facilitate the necessary consultation at the beginning of the planning stages, but will not replace ongoing communication and consultation throughout the process.
    1. All New Programs, must be approved by the Provost through the NOI to ensure that any resource requirements are appropriately addressed before work on the proposal proceeds.
    2. In the planning for any New Program, the Dean, in consultation with the Provost, must also determine the human, instructional and physical resources needed to implement the program and ensure its ongoing operation. The financial impact of the New Program on existing Programs must also be examined, and consideration must be given to possible collaborations with other units.
    3. In addition, there must be broad consultation with members of the academic community, including faculty, staff and students who may be affected by the initiative, and with those who are key to its implementation, including the Provost, the Registrar or the Dean of Graduate Studies, and the Chief Librarian. Staff and faculty wishing to develop New Programs related to Indigenization and reconciliation, or that contain Indigenous content, must also consult in a Good Way, in accordance with the current procedures for Indigenous consultation.
  2. Proposal Briefs
    Detailed proposals for all new Diploma Programs must be prepared by the proponents and feedback provided by Faculty Council. The proposal brief must clearly set out the rationale for the Program, including the ways in which the program advances the university’s mission and mandate, and addresses the need and demand for graduates of the Program. The proposal must also detail how the Program fits within the strategic vision of the University and the Faculty(ies), the requirements of the Program, along with details of the human, physical and financial resources required. A template for the proposal will be provided through CIQE via the website at www.ontariotechu.ca/ciqe. Proposal briefs for new Degree Programs must address the Evaluation Criteria as outlined in the Quality Assurance Framework, and also minimally include the following:
    1. The rationale for the Program, fit with the University’s and Faculty’s strategic direction, background on the Program’s development, a Program abstract, and evidence of student demand and societal need. It will also note any duplication with existing post-secondary programs at other institutions.
    2. A fully developed section outlining the Program learning outcomes and alignment with the provincial degree level expectations; admission requirements; program structure; 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. The program and course learning outcomes will be developed and aligned to the provincial degree level expectations through faculty participation in learning outcome development sessions hosted by CIQE. Should the curriculum contain any Indigenous content, evidence of consultation and approval in accordance with the current procedures for Indigenous consultation will be provided.
    3. A list will be provided 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 Program; 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.
    4. A summary statement of funding required to support the Program and a statement of current resource availability will be included.
  3. Internal Approval Process
    1. The proposal brief will be reviewed and approved by the Faculty Council(s).
    2. The proposal will then be presented to the appropriate standing committee of Academic Council (GSC or USC) who will prepare a recommendation to Academic Council. The proposal will then be sent to Academic Council for review and approval, through the Executive Committee. Proposals are also subject to final approval by the University Board of Governors. 
  4. Submission of New Diploma Programs to the Quality Council and the Ministry
    1. Once internal approvals for new Graduate Diploma Programs have been obtained, the program proposal must be submitted to the Quality Council for review.
      1. Graduate Diploma Programs are subject to Expedited Review at the Quality Council. Only the applicable Evaluation Criteria will be applied to the proposal. Furthermore, the Council’s appraisal and approval processes are reduced, as outlined in the Quality Assurance Framework Section 3.2.
      2. Following a new Graduate Diploma Program’s submission to the Quality Council, the University may announce its intent to offer the 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 approval is received.
      3. Once submitted to the Quality Council, the proposal may require further development or revision prior to approval.
      4. After a Graduate Diploma Program is approved to commence by the Quality Council, the Program will begin within thirty-six months of that date of approval, otherwise the approval will lapse.
    2. Undergraduate Diploma Programs are not subject to approval or audit by the Quality Council. The University may elect to submit the proposal to the Quality Council for review, in which case the Program will be subject to Expedited Review. Only the applicable Evaluation Criteria will be applied to the proposal. Furthermore, the Council’s appraisal and approval processes are reduced, as outlined in the Quality Assurance Framework Section 3.2.
    3. If a review is required for funding purposes, the proposed Degree or Diploma Program will also be submitted to the Ministry.

Development of Joint or Collaborative Programs

  1. Joint Programs, and other Programs offered in collaboration with other post-secondary institutions, will ensure that the required quality assurance requirements of both institutions are met.
  2. When he program will be held jointly with an institution that does not have an IQAP that has been ratified by the Quality Council, the Ontario Tech IQAP Policy and associated Procedures will apply with Ontario Tech as the leading institution.  
  3. In cases where the program is held jointly with an institution that does have an IQAP ratified by the Quality Council, the Office of the Provost, through CIQE, will collaborate with the partner institution to develop a process and associated templates that will address all requirements of each institution’s IQAP. Specifically, the collaboration will address:
    1. The selection of external reviewers
    2. Templates to be used for a single proposal brief and required reports from the external reviewers, program team, and Dean(s)
    3. The location(s) of the site-visit(s), timing for Program development, and approval pathway
    4. The development of a joint committee to develop the Program
    5. The process for monitoring and reviewing the Program after approval
    6. The lead institution for the purposes of submission to the Quality Council and the Ministry

Subsequent Monitoring and Review of Academic Programs

  1. At the time of first intake into the Program, CIQE, working with the Office of Institutional Research and Analysis, will prepare an initial report that will review  new course requirements and enrolment data. This report will be reviewed by the Office of the Provost, through the Resource Committee, to assess any issues that may arise and determine if alternate plans are required to ensure the overall success of the Program.
  2. One year after the launch of the Program, CIQE, working with the Academic Unit, will prepare a report that will review enrolment and admissions data, learning outcomes, and other key metrics to assess New Program effectiveness . This report will be reviewed by the Office of the Provost, through the Resource Committee, to assess any issues and determine if alternate plans are required to ensure the overall success of the Program.
  3. Should any recommendations arise from the one-year report, additional monitoring and review may be required at the request of the Office of the Provost or the Resource Committee. An 18-month report monitoring report, if required, will analyze key curricular and student data (e.g. student evaluations, GPA, retention data, etc.) as well as address the recommendations from the initial report. Pending review, further documentation may be required for ongoing monitoring.
  4. New Programs will then be reviewed and refined on an ongoing basis in accordance with the Institutional Quality Assurance Policy. Specifically, approved Programs will be entered into the schedule of academic program reviews and the first review will take place no more than eight years after the start of the Program, and every eight years hence, in accordance with the University’s Cyclical Program Review Procedures.

Monitoring and review

These Procedures will be reviewed as necessary and at least every three years. The Office of the Provost, through CIQE, 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

Academic Resource Committee Terms of Reference

Cyclical Program Review Procedures

Program Nomenclature Directives

Protocols associated with consultation/development of Indigenous curriculum