Quality Assurance Activities

As an institution that values excellence in teaching, research, and creative activity, the University of Alberta has developed a rigorous quality assurance program to maintain and further build upon the existing strengths of its programs, academic units and faculties. Guided by both external and internal review standards, the U of A’s quality assurance program has been designed to review undergraduate programs, graduate programs, research, scholarly activity and the strategic objectives of faculties (through the President’s Visiting Committee). Ongoing monitoring of implementation will be ensured through annual meetings.

Summary reports from the quality assurance activities will be presented to the General Faculties Council Academic Planning Committee and the Board Learning and Discovery Committee on an annual basis. In addition, reports will be made public on the Office of the Provost website.

Undergraduate Program Reviews

Purpose
The purpose of the reviews is to ensure the quality of undergraduate programs according to the program standards set out by the Campus Alberta Quality Council. The focus of the undergraduate program review is on the quality of the academic programs including program structure, learning outcomes, learning environment and support provided to students.

The review is also an opportunity  to respond to any earlier recommendations or suggestions of evaluation teams from accreditation or former quality assurance activities. Faculties are asked to complete a self-study of their undergraduate programs. A review committee, including an external chair, is invited for a site visit and submits a report on their findings. The faculty has the opportunity to respond to the external committee’s report.

Cycle: Every 5 – 7 years per unit


Graduate Program Reviews

Purpose
The aim of the Graduate Program Review is to ensure programs have the necessary expertise, systems and resources to: (1) support effective and timely program delivery; (2) deliver content of appropriate breadth and rigour; and (3) engage, support and assess learning through a clearly defined set of learning outcomes. In addition to ensuring maintenance of expected standards, the review will consider responses to recommendations of previous reviews.The Graduate Program Review complies with CAQC expectations for graduate programs.  

Cycle: Every 5 – 7 years per unit


President's Visiting Committee

Purpose
The President’s Visiting Committee (PVC) is forward-looking and strategic: the committee’s review focuses on a faculty’s quality, innovativeness, research impact and competitiveness in comparison to peer programs or faculties. The PVC will assess future plans for research programs and activities, taking into account the associated program review reports. Following a format similar to the program reviews, each Presidential Visiting Committee will include a self-study, external review and report, and unit response. The external review will be completed by a visiting committee of global experts and internal representatives who will offer advice that is intended to increase the unit’s research capacity and impact. The outcome of the President’s Visiting Committee should be a 5 to 7 year plan for research and strategic activities to guide the unit in increasing its research quality and impact.

Cycle: Every 5 – 7 years per unit


Ongoing Monitoring of Implementation of Recommendations

Purpose
Offered on a regular multi-year cycle, each review will take place with supports from the Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) and through the Office of Strategic Analysis and Data Warehousing.

The coordination of the quality assurance activities by the Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) results in a more efficient use of resources; ensures a predictable and manageable number of reviews annually; supports excellent compliance with Campus Alberta Quality Council mandated expectations, and establishes a system of regular follow up on recommendations.

Cycle: Annual (Fall)

Additional Information

Professional programs are often subject to regular accreditation reviews. To the extent possible, these accreditation reviews will be leveraged in the Quality Assurance Suite. A schedule for quality assurance will be based on a matrix that ensures that between 9 and 12 reviews are conducted annually with support from the Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) and from Strategic Analysis and Data Warehousing. A review may cover one small faculty (e.g., SPH, FNS, and Rehabilitation Medicine) or three to six departments from a large faculty (Arts, FoMD, and Science). By following a publically available, stable schedule of reviews, data can be produced and tailored in advance of each review, and a manageable and predictable workload is in place for faculties, the Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic), Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, and Strategic Analysis and Data Warehouse.