A new council to oversee program quality assurance at Ontario Universities

Press release from Council of Ontario Universities

TORONTO, July 16, 2010
Canadian Newswire

http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/July2010/16/c4865.html

The Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance, a new arms-length body designed to ensure rigorous quality assurance of university undergraduate and graduate programs, will be chaired by Dr. Sam Scully, a distinguished academic leader with more than two decades of experience in quality assurance from coast to coast across Canada. The group, which will be responsible for review and auditing of new undergraduate and graduate programs, also consists of eight senior academics from Ontario and one citizen member (See list below).

“This group of leading academics with long track records in quality assurance will bring to the implementation of Ontario’s new quality assurance framework the expertise and credibility to ensure its future success,” says
Donna Woolcott, Executive Director Quality Assurance, Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance. The Council’s Chair, Dr. Scully, has served as a Provost and Vice-President Academic at Dalhousie University and the University of Victoria, and has also served as a member and Vice-Chair of the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission and Chair of its Quality Assurance Monitoring Committee.

The Council’s first item of business will be to review and approve quality assurance processes at each university. It will then be responsible for the review and approval of all new undergraduate and graduate programs as well as for auditing each university on an eight-year cycle. This process and the guidelines that direct it were developed by a special taskforce, which worked closely over a two-year period with Vice-Presidents Academic and received support from the Executive Heads of Ontario Universities. The Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities was also consulted during the Framework’s development.

“The system is designed to support continuous quality improvement, demonstrate that programs at Ontario universities are well developed and meet defined learning outcomes,” says Bonnie M. Patterson, President of the Council of Ontario Universities. “With the evolution of the quality assurance system, Ontario universities are positioned on the leading-edge internationally.” The new system also brings together undergraduate and graduate review processes under the same system.

The Council consists of the following members:

* Dr. Sam Scully (Post-Secondary Education Consultant)
* Dr. Cheryl Regehr (Vice-Provost Academic Programs, University of Toronto)
* Dr. Bruce Tucker (Associate Vice-President Academic Affairs, University of Windsor)
* Dr. Sue Horton (Associate Provost, Graduate Studies, University of Waterloo)
* Dr. Moira McPherson (Associate Vice-President, Academic, Lakehead University)
* Dr. Marilyn Rose (Dean, Graduate Studies, Brock University)
* Dr. Alex Wellington (Assistant Professor, Philosophy, Ryerson University)
* Dr. Ron Bond (Chair, Campus Alberta Quality Council)
* Madame Maureen Lacroix (citizen member, Sudbury)
* Dr. Donna Woolcott (Executive Director Quality Assurance, Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance)

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3 Responses to A new council to oversee program quality assurance at Ontario Universities

  1. Michael Cummings says:

    I’m a bit worried about this. The OCU is dominated by university presidents and principals, and the mandate of the OCU and this new committee seem to promise extensive interference in internal university affairs that I think are best dealt with within the university. I certainly don’t think we need this new bureaucratic entity to judge our programs and, ultimately, whether faculty. Are we (QUFA/OCUFA) obliged to go along with this? Can we qualify it during negotiations on the CA? When I read something like “With the evolution of the quality assurance system, Ontario universities are positioned on the leading-edge internationally,” my antennae start to quiver.

  2. Michael Cummings says:

    Oops: I pasted in the wrong version of my comment. It should read: I’m a bit worried about this. The OCU is dominated by university presidents and principals, and the mandates of the OCU and this new committee seem to promise extensive interference in internal university affairs that I think are best dealt with within the university. I certainly don’t think we need this new bureaucratic entity to judge our programs and, ultimately, whether faculty are doing their jobs well. Are we (QUFA/OCUFA) obliged to go along with this? Can we qualify it during negotiations on the CA? When I read something like “With the evolution of the quality assurance system, Ontario universities are positioned on the leading-edge internationally,” my antennae start to quiver.

  3. Roberta Lamb says:

    I agree with you, Michael. The antennae are active.

    I seem to remember hearing something to the effect that this QA council was one of the reasons that we do not need the IARs any more. I do not know what the obligations are. This is something we need to ask directly to OCUFA as well as following up with our QUFA Executive and Member Services people.

    I’m of the opinion that it is important to get articles into the CA that deal with anything related to our working conditions. QA is certainly right up there. The current agreement has something about performance indicators. It seems to me that QA by any other name is a performance indicator.

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