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Program Quality Assurance Policy

Program Quality Assurance Policy Information

Date Approved: February 24, 2021
Effective Date: March 1, 2021
Date Reviewed: February 2021
Replaces: Version 2018


To provide a standardized mechanism for the continual improvement of Cambrian College (‘the College’) programs through cyclical Formative and Summative evaluation processes.

Application/ Scope

All Programs of Instruction delivered by the College.


Curriculum Revision: Changes to program and course outlines identified through a regular cycle of review

Curriculum: Course of study of the program

Force Majeure: the occurrence of an event which is outside the reasonable control of the College and which prevents the College from performing its obligations under a policy, process or contract.

Formative Review: a range of formal and informal assessment procedures in order to improve the teaching-learning process for students.

Program of Instruction: A group of related courses leading to a college credential such as a certificate or diploma

Program Plans: a planning tool used in the Formative Review of programs to enable critical quantitative and qualitative review of factors that affect program performance – such as labour market projections, application trends, legislation, catchment, competition. For some of these factors, performance assessment involves established targets for a defined set of metrics (e.g., enrolment, retention, graduation rates and overall student and strongployer satisfaction).

Summative Review: a comprehensive, cumulative review and quality assessment of program curricula and performance in meeting its program vocational learning outcomes.

Policy Statements

  1. The College assures program quality through the alignment and integration of its strategic and operational planning with its evaluation, accreditation and review processes.
  2. The quality assurance process aligns with the College’s strategic direction and Program Development Framework.
  3. Program Quality Assurance (PQA) plays a critical role in ensuring sustainable and relevant programs by:
    1. Defining relevant review and evaluation processes and criteria.
    2. Ensuring a comprehensive and relevant manner for programs to investigate performance issues and to develop and implement program improvement strategies.
    3. Ensuring the recording and monitoring of improvements stemming from the review process.
    4. Laying out the process to guide actions related to program refocusing, repositioning, and suspension.
  4. PQA upholds continual improvement, guides evidence-based decision-making, promotes accountability, and involves relevant internal and external stakeholders.
  5. PQA has three main components:
    1. Annual Curriculum Review
      1. The process by which Curriculum is reviewed and revised based on strategies and actions stemming from the annual Program Plan, accreditation or external certification requirements, released Program Standards, Program Advisory Committee recommendations, student feedback, General Education requirements, Prior Learning Assessment activities and data/analysis contained in the Program Plan and associated program scorecard.
      2. This review results in the development of new iterations of curricula offered in the next academic year and ensures that curricula remain relevant and current in keeping with industry standards and expectations.
      3. Faculty submit Curriculum Revisions to the Dean/Chair for review and approval.
      4. Within the Curriculum review period, faculty review, modify and/or create course outlines as per the College’s Course Outline Operating Procedure.
    2. Annual Program Planning and Formative Review
      1. The formation or revision of a Program Plan containing data and program specific information from which renewal strategies are developed and reported.
      2. Where appropriate, program clusters will be analyzed together.
      3. Outcomes that emerge from this key planning process include enhanced marketing strategies/material, resource planning, equipment and academic space renewal, alternative delivery options and/or improvements to metric results.
      4. The Dean/Chair is responsible for submitting a Program Plan for each Program of Instruction to the Vice-President Academic for review and approval.
      5. The College makes available approved Program Plans to College staff and Program Advisory Committee Chairs.
    3. Summative – Comprehensive Program Review
      1. A comprehensive analysis conducted once every five years for all programs. Building on Program Planning and Curriculum review activities and outcomes, each program undergoes an intensive and collaborative Curriculum Summative review and mapping exercise. This Summative Review is the quality assurance process of evaluation how a program meets its program vocational learning outcomes with the goal of identifying potential gaps and misalignments.
      2. Key components include faculty and Dean/Chair curriculum mapping sessions, Program Advisory Committee assessment and focus groups with graduating students and graduates of the program.
      3. A Summative report is formulated which outlines recommendations for improvement and proposed action items which become integrated into the Program Plan.
      4. For degree programs, the program review process includes a report from an External Program Evaluation Committee (EPEC).
      5. Accountability for implementation of the recommendations rests with the Dean/Chair.
  6. The College maintains a Program Performance Steering Committee to undertake the regular evaluation and updating of the Program Planning and program performance components.
  7. The College maintains a Curriculum Review Committee to ensure effective quality assurance mechanisms govern the review, revision and documentation of College curricula.
  8. The College ensures that documentation regarding the processes exists, is reviewed annually and available to all stakeholders.
  9. The College’s program review process integrates standards for professional accreditation and certification processes.
  10. The College may modify components of the process in circumstances involving a Force Majeure, external accreditation, and non-postsecondary, apprenticeship and third-party delivery programs.

Responsibilities and Accountability

Board of Governors is responsible for:

  • Ensuring an effective quality assurance system, that undergoes continual improvement, is in place to provide the student with a quality learning experience.

Senior Team is responsible for:

  • Ensuring overall quality assurance governing the effective stewardship of the College, staff and students. This accountability provides for the effective management of resources and programs through relevant and current policies and practices that align with the College’s strategic plan and comply with the Ministry requirements.

Vice-President Academic is responsible for:

  • Ensuring a Program Quality Assurance process is implemented, sustainable and effective in supporting a quality learning experience for students and providing programs that meet the needs of all constituents.
  • Ensuring overall compliance with the components of the policy and Program Quality Assurance process.

Planning & Institutional Research is responsible for:

  • Administering and managing the governing Program Quality Assurance process ensuring compliancy and cyclical review for continual improvement.
  • Liaising with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU), Ontario Colleges Quality Assurance Service (OCQAS) and other external organizations updating College process in alignment with external requirements and standards.

Office of the Registrar is responsible for:

  • Facilitating components of the Curriculum review process and reporting.
  • Maintaining official College curricula records.

Deans/Chairs are responsible for:

  • Communicating information regarding the program review processes and policies in a timely fashion to their staff.
  • Managing school Curriculum review and revision in accordance with College policies and processes.
  • Directing the development of Program Plans, approving each and submitting these on deadline to the Vice-President, Academic for review and approval.
  • Assessing recommendations, outcomes and potential impacts from review processes such as Curriculum mapping.
  • Actioning all necessary, relevant and impactful program review strategies related to improving the quality of the program.
  • Reviewing and considering all factors affecting the quality of a program – such as lab and equipment resources, facilities, stakeholder input, industry and market trends, faculty resources, and professional development – when making planning decisions.
  • Providing feedback to aid the continual improvement of the College’s Program Quality Assurance process.

Faculty are responsible for:

  • Being familiar and complying with the requirements of this policy and associated processes.
  • Engaging in program quality assurance processes as required.
  • Providing expertise and input to guide improvement to program quality ensuring relevancy and currency of Curriculum.

Related Procedures