Skip to main content
Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

University of Ontario Institute of Technology logo

Institutional Quality Assurance Process Policy

Classification number ACD 1501
Framework category Academic
Approving authority Academic Council
Policy owner Vice-President, Academic and Provost
Approval date June 23, 2020
Review date To be assigned
Last updated Editorial Amendments, February 18, 2020
Supersedes ACD 1501 Program Quality Assurance Policy (June 2010); LCG 1127 losure of a Faculty, School or Degree Program Section 1 (August 2005); Quality Assurance Handbook (June 2011)

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to inform and guide undergraduate and graduate program development and improvement at the University with regard to the review and approval of new programs, program modifications, program closures, and the cyclical review of existing programs.

The statements in this policy as approved by Academic Council, define the University’s commitment to the different aspects of quality assurance and the broad level responsibilities for carrying out this commitment.      

Definitions

For the purposes of this policy the following definitions apply: 

"Academic Council": the most senior academic governance body of the institution

"Accreditation Review": to evaluate and measure a program against a set of principles and standards set by an external professional accreditation body

"Cyclical Program Review": to critically examine the components of a program with the assistance of outside reviewers with the goal of continuous improvement. A program review’s purpose is not solely to demonstrate the positive aspects of the program, but also to outline opportunities that will lead to improvements for the future.

"Degree": An academic credential awarded upon successful completion of a prescribed set and sequence of courses, combination of courses, and/or other units of study, research, and practice as specified by a Degree Program and that meet a standard of performance consistent with University and provincial degree level expectations.

"Diploma": An academic credential awarded upon the successful completion of a prescribed set and sequence of courses, combination of courses, and/or other units of study and practice as specified by a Diploma Program. Diplomas are classified as concurrent and/or direct-entry

"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. There are three types of Graduate Diplomas as set out by the Council of Ontario Universities:

  1. Type 1: Awarded when a candidate admitted to a master’s program leaves the program after completing a certain proportion of the requirements. Students are not admitted directly to these programs. When new, these programs require submission to the Quality Council for an Expedited Approval (no external reviewers required) prior to their adoption. Once approved, they will be incorporated into the institution’s schedule for cyclical reviews as part of the parent program.
  2. Type 2: 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
  3. Type 3: 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

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

"Major Program Modifications": modifications that constitute a significant change to the design and delivery of an existing program. The Quality Council defines major modifications to include the following program changes:

  1. Requirements that differ significantly from those existing at the time of the previous cyclical program review;
  2. Significant changes to the learning outcomes;
  3. 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);
  4. 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 Quality Council has provided examples to illustrate changes that normally constitute a significant change. These examples are outlined in the Curriculum Change Procedures document.  

"Ministry": the Ontario Ministry governing the affairs of Colleges and Universities. 

"Minor Curricular Changes": generally, those changes to individual courses and curricular offerings that do not affect the overall program requirements. Examples are outlined in the Curriculum Change Procedures  document.

"Minor Program Adjustments": changes to degree requirements and/or learning outcomes that may require a plan for transitioning cohorts of students to meet different requirements over time, but that do not constitute a significant change to the design and delivery of an existing program. Examples are outlined in the Curriculum Change Procedures document.

"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 this Policy, 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.

Scope and Authority

This policy applies to the full range of for credit curricular and programmatic endeavours at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. It extends to new and continuing undergraduate and graduate degree 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 this Policy as well as ensuring that Quality Assurance policies and procedures be established and are carried out. The Provost will be the authoritative contact between the University and the Quality Council.

Faculty Deans ensure that established policies and procedures are carried out at the Faculty level. Under the leadership of the Dean, programs and Faculties are responsible for initiating and maintaining program development, planning for the compilation and analysis of information, improvement and review of programs, designing curricular changes, and readying them for consideration through the various levels of collegial review.

The Provost or designate, through the Center for Institutional Quality Enhancement (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 assessing academic programs, including coordinating internal and external appraisals and pulling together key institutional data and other indicators of program quality.  The Provost, or designate will also maintain all documentation associated with curricular changes, program modifications, new program proposals, accreditation reports, and program reviews, for a period of ten years.  The documentation will then be entered into the university archives, per the Records Retention Policy, exclusive of any personal or confidential information.

Academic Council holds delegated authority from the Board to establish and regulate the curricular policies and procedures of the University, and the contents and curricula of all courses of study.  All proposals put forward by Faculty Councils are considered by the appropriate standing committee of Academic Council, such as the GSC or the USC, which in turn presents them to Academic Council for approval or for information as appropriate.  The establishment and oversight of both the policy and procedural aspects relating to the approval of new programs, program revisions, and program review are the responsibility of the Academic Council.

The Board of Governors is responsible for planning, determining policies for and providing for the overall development of the university, including approving strategic plans, budgets and expenditure plans.  In this context, all proposals that lead to the establishment or termination of degree programs, the establishment or de-establishment of Faculties, institutes and chairs and councils within those Faculties, and university strategic plans are subject to approval by the Board.

The Quality Council ratifies institutional quality assurance procedures, and any substantive change to these procedures, and undertakes regular audits of these processes for compliance with the Provincial Framework on an eight year cycle.  In addition, the Quality Council reviews and approves all proposals for new degree programs and reviews Final Assessment Reports of Program Reviews. It also receives an annual report of major modifications to existing programs.

The Ministry reviews new programs and provides external funding approval following approval by the Quality Council.

The Office of the Registrar is responsible for the implementation of records relating to new programs and curricular changes once approved or reported to Academic Council, ensuring that students meet the admission requirements, and that requirements for the degree or diploma have been fulfilled upon graduation. This responsibility is shared with the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for graduate programs.

Policy

The University is committed to ensuring the highest quality learning experience for students while maintaining the highest integrity of its academic programs.

The University will ensure that all academic programs:

  • Align with University’s mission, values and strategic plans
  • Remain coherent, rigorous and relevant
  • Make the best use of resources available to them
  • Are subject to continuous quality improvement based on empirical evidence and collegial judgment
  • Draw upon and enhance existing strengths at the university  

The University will ensure ongoing academic integrity in its curricula while remaining rigorous and consistent in the expansion and refinement of program offerings.

The University will promote quality assurance in the ongoing review and improvement of curriculum and courses, the periodic review of program offerings, and the development of new programs.

In the planning for the ongoing review and improvement of curriculum, proposers must take into consideration the impact the changes may have on the human, instructional, physical and financial resources of the University and provide a plan to address them.

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.  Consultation is particularly critical in cases where the changes involve offerings that are shared among programs and/or which may affect different groups of students (e.g. changes to courses that are core courses in other programs, cross-listed courses, changes to pre-requisites, co-requisites, and degree credit exclusions). Staff and faculty wishing to develop projects and initiatives related to Indigenization and reconciliation must consult in a Good Way, in accordance with the current procedures for Indigenous consultation.

Where there are possibilities for efficiencies to be achieved in the design and delivery of programs by collaboration among units, it is expected that these opportunities will be fully explored prior to their review by Faculty Council and that all possible avenues of cooperation will be fully considered in the initial stages. The nature and outcomes of these discussions will be included within program proposals.

The University will develop and continue to improve quality assurance policies, procedures and processes that incorporate provincial degree level expectations, and that are consistent with the Ontario Quality Assurance Framework and with the institution’s own mission and mandate. CIQE will provide access to an electronic workflow tracking system for curriculum changes, and a repository for curriculum changes, program development, and cyclical program review. Individuals may use the templates and information provided at www.ontariotechu.ca/ciqe as a guide to the implementation of the quality assurance policies and procedures.

Curriculum Changes

  1. Deans and Faculties must plan for the ongoing refinement and improvement of new and continuing programs and for making major and minor modifications to them when it is considered appropriate to do so.  These changes may be prompted by feedback from students, faculty and staff participating in the program, by matters arising through the course of its delivery, or as a result of a full examination of the curriculum through accreditation or the cyclical program review process.
  2. All modifications to existing degree programs will be subject to approval by the unit’s Faculty Council(s) and subsequent review and approval by the appropriate Academic Council standing committee (USC or GSC) or approval by Academic Council where appropriate, in accordance with prescribed procedures.  In addition, major modifications to programs will also be subject to review by the provincial Quality Council.
  3. Program review and improvement takes place on an ongoing basis and can result in curricular changes at three different levels: Minor Curricular Changes, Minor Program Adjustments and Major Modifications.

    Minor Curricular Changes fall under the Faculty Council purview, normally through its curriculum committee, and must be reported to USC or GSC for information. Changes to courses that are core in other programs must be reviewed by each Faculty Council responsible for the affected programs.


    Minor Program Adjustments are reported to Academic Council through its appropriate standing committee (USC/GSC).  These changes must be presented to the committees for quality review and approval following their approval by Faculty Council.  The committee will conduct a quality review of the program proposal using the University’s Program Quality Review Criteria. Changes must receive this committee’s approval prior to their implementation and inclusion in the academic calendars.

    Major modifications to existing programs are subject to full review and approval by Academic Council upon the recommendation of USC/GSC and following approval by Faculty Council.  Changes must receive Academic Council approval prior to their implementation and inclusion in the academic calendars. These changes are also reported annually to the Quality Council under the provincial quality assurance framework.

    Reporting of curricular changes must follow the procedures outlined in the Curriculum Changes Procedures document.

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

Review of Degree and Diploma Programs

  1. All existing undergraduate degree programs, graduate degree programs, and for‐credit diploma programs will be subject to periodic cyclical review conducted at a minimum once every eight years that is consistent with the requirements set by the Quality Council. Deans and Faculties must plan for the review of their academic programs, including the preparation of a self-study, and will follow the processes outlined in the Cyclical Program Review Procedures.
  2. The Provost, or designate, in consultation with the Deans, will maintain a university-wide schedule to ensure that each academic program is subject to review once every eight years. Accreditation Reviews will normally be completed separately and involve separate processes and reviewers to ensure that all criteria are met.
  3. In the planning for the review, the process must provide for input from members of the academic community associated with the program, including faculty, staff, students and graduates. Where appropriate, comment from the broader community, such as representatives from industry, the professions or employers may also be sought. 
  4. Where a program involves faculty and courses from more than one unit, the deans involved must confirm to the Provost the unit that will hold the locus of responsibility for the review. In addition, for those programs that are offered in more than one mode, at different locations, or having complementary components (e.g., bridging options, experiential education options, etc.), the distinct versions of the program will be identified and reviewed.
  5. Joint programs, and other programs offered in collaboration with other post-secondary institutions will ensure that both the quality assurance requirements set out in this policy are met, as well as that of partner institutions.
  6. Program reviews are subject to quality review by reviewers external and at arm’s length to the program under review, in accordance with prescribed procedures and documentation requirements set in Cyclical Program Review Procedures.
  7. Final Assessment Reports and Implementation Plans are prepared by the appropriate standing committee of Academic Council (USC/GSC), following a review of resource implications, and sent to Academic Council and the Board of Governors for information. The Quality Council then receives the final assessment report and associated implementation plan. Summary reports are posted on the University website.

New Academic Programs

  1. Deans and Faculties must plan for ongoing development of new program initiatives, including the design and delivery of the curriculum, the refinement of program requirements, the determination of learning outcomes consistent with the provincial degree level expectations, and the assessment of student achievement of the learning outcomes
  2.  In the planning for any new program, the Dean, in consultation with the Provost in the initial stages, 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 and the possibility of obtaining additional funds from internal or external sources. Proposals must also address the alignment with the University and Faculty strategic plans.
  3. Joint programs, and other programs offered in collaboration with other post-secondary institutions will ensure that both the quality assurance requirements set out in this policy are met, as well as that of partner institutions, as outlined in the New Program Procedures.
  4. A Notice of Intent (NOI) must be submitted for all potential new programs, as described in the New Program Procedures. NOIs will be reviewed and posted for comment from the university community. Once approved, the Faculty can proceed to develop the full proposal.
  5. New degree program proposals are subject to quality review by external appraisers under the provincial quality assurance framework, and in accordance with prescribed procedures and documentation requirements set out in the New Program Procedures. Upon the completion of the external appraisal, the proposal will be approved by the Faculty Council of the sponsoring unit. These proposals are subsequently reviewed by the appropriate Academic Council standing committee (USC or GSC), and must be approved by Academic Council upon the recommendation of USC/GSC. Proposals leading to the establishment of new degree programs must also be approved by the Board of Governors (BOG) of the University.  In addition, new degree programs are subject to review and approval by the provincial Quality Council under the quality assurance framework. Programs seeking provincial funding are also subject to review by the Ministry.
  6. New for credit diploma program proposals are subject to quality review in accordance with prescribed procedures and documentation requirements set out in the New Program Procedures. Proposals are subject to presentation and approval by Faculty Council. These proposals are then subject to approval by Academic Council upon the full review and recommendation of USC/GSC.  Proposals must also be approved by the BOG. In addition, new graduate diploma program proposals are also appraised by the Quality Council under the provincial quality assurance framework through the Expedited Approval Process as described in the New Program Procedures. New undergraduate and graduate diploma programs may also require review by the Ministry for funding purposes.  
  7. All new academic programs will be subject to periodic reviews subsequent to their implementation. An initial assessment will occur at first intake into the program, with an additional assessment one year after the launch of the Program. Additional monitoring may be required, in accordance with the University’s New Program Procedures. The program will then be entered into the schedule of academic program reviews and the first review will take place no more than eight years after the start Program, in accordance with the University’s Cyclical Program Review Procedures.

Closure of a Program

  1. Program Closures can be initiated by the Dean of a Faculty.
  2. Program closures can also be initiated by the Provost due to issues related to substandard academic quality as determined through a number of different assessments such as Cyclical Program Review, Key Performance Indicators, self-examination, financial exigency, admission pause for over two years, and/or a Program has not been reviewed in accordance with the Institutional Quality Assurance Policy.
    1. The Provost will consult with the Faculty Dean(s) of the affected program(s) to outline the reasons for closure.
  3. In the case of Graduate Programs, the Dean of Graduate Studies will also be consulted.
  4. In this case of programs that contain Indigenous content, consultation in accordance with the current procedures for Indigenous consultation, is required.
  5. After all required consultation is completed, a proposal to close the Program will then proceed in accordance with the Program Closure Procedure
  6. Students in a Closed Program
    1. Program closure proposals must include a detailed plan for students who are enrolled in, or who may have reasonably expected to enroll in, the closed Program, as outlined in the Program Closure Procedure
    2. Students in a closed program will be informed of the program closure according to the requirements outlined in the Program Closure Procedure.
    3. Closure should not result in students being unable to complete, if they so wish, the program they are registered in within the standard time to completion for that program.
    4. In the specific case of students enrolled in Graduate Programs, the closure must not prevent them from completing their courses, examinations, training, and research necessary to graduate, or interfere with their commitments of financial support.
    5. Students wishing to graduate from a closed program must apply to do so within four years of the program closure.
  7.  Faculty in a Closed Program
    1. Procedures for Tenured, Tenure Track, and Teaching Faculty who are part of a bargaining unit will be in accordance with the relevant Articles of the Collective Agreement in force at the time of Program closure.
    2. Procedures for Associate Deans or Teaching Staff Governors who are temporarily outside of the bargaining unit will be in accordance with the relevant Articles of the Collective Agreement in force at the time of Program closure.
    3. Procedures for sessional instructors and other contract faculty who are part of a bargaining unit will be in accordance with the relevant Articles of the Collective Agreement in force at the time of Program closure. Should no relevant Article exist, sessional instructors and other contract faculty will be entitled to severance in accordance with Provincial or Federal legislation or may apply for other positions in the University for which they are qualified.
    4. Teaching staff not part of a bargaining unit will be entitled to severance in accordance with Provincial or Federal legislation or may apply for other positions in the University for which they are qualified.
  8.  Staff in a Closed Program
    1. Procedures for staff who are part of a bargaining unit will be in accordance with the relevant Articles of the Collective Agreement in force at the time of Program closure.
    2. Staff who are not part of a bargaining unit will be entitled to severance in accordance with Provincial or Federal legislation or may apply for other positions in the University for which they are qualified.

Monitoring and Review

This policy will be reviewed as necessary and at least every three years. The Provost or successor thereof, is responsible to monitor and review this Policy.

Related Policies, Procedure & Documents

Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance - Quality Assurance Framework

Curriculum Change Procedures

Cyclical Program Review Procedures

New Degree Program Procedures

Program Closure Procedures

Program Nomenclature Directives

Faculty and Staff Collective Agreements

Protocols associated with consultation/development of Indigenous curriculum