Office of Quality Assurance
Quality Assurance Structure for Undergraduate and Graduate Programs
As part of the University’s continuing effort to provide its student population with the most positive learning experience at each degree level, the University recently implemented a new quality assurance structure. Approved by the Senate as part of the restructuring of graduate studies at the University of Ottawa, this new structure brings together the undergraduate and graduate studies councils as well as the undergraduate and graduate program evaluation committees.
The organizational chart below shows the new overall structure and resources dedicated to continuous program improvement at the University.
The two program evaluation committees are at the heart of the Office of Quality Assurance (OQA), which is led by the office director—a regular professor at the University of Ottawa. The work of the OQA is overseen by the Associate Vice-President, Programs, who is also responsible for the Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP). Both evaluation committees are composed of professors representing the two major branches of knowledge—the pure and applied sciences and the humanities and social sciences.
In order to ensure the level of continuity recommended by the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance, between activities related to program changes, creation of new programs and program evaluations and reviews, the director of the Office of Quality Assurance sits on both councils (undergraduate and graduate studies).
The Council on Undergraduate Studies and the Council on Graduate Studies are chaired by the Associate Vice-President, Programs, and the Vice-Provost, Graduate Studies, respectively. Both councils are composed of the vice-deans of undergraduate or graduate studies, as well as professors and students elected by the Senate.
Roles and responsibilities
- Vice-President Academic and Provost – Has overall authority for governance of undergraduate and graduate studies and for the various institutional quality assurance processes; acts as the resource person for the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance
- Associate Vice-President, Programs – Is responsible for implementing the Institutional Quality Assurance Process and assists the Vice-President Academic and Provost in overseeing the various quality assurance processes for undergraduate and graduate programs; chairs the Council on Undergraduate Studies; sits on the Council on Graduate Studies
- Senior Educational Policies Officer – Liaises with the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance (the Quality Council) and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development; oversees administration of the Institutional Quality Assurance Process; submits annual reports on program changes and requests for new programs to the Quality Council (both undergraduate and graduate levels); provides support to the Council on Undergraduate Studies, including handling and following up with requests for changes to programs and requests for new undergraduate programs
- Curriculum and Learning Outcomes Analyst – Works with supervisors of undergraduate and graduate study programs to analyze curricula and develop learning outcomes
- Vice-Provost, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies – Is responsible for regulations and graduate programs; chairs the Council on Graduate Studies; sits on the Council on Undergraduate Studies
- Executive Assistant – Provides administrative support to the Council on Graduate Studies (CGS), including handling and following up with requests for changes to programs and requests for new graduate programs
- Director of Office of Quality Assurance – Is responsible for cyclical reviews of undergraduate and graduate programs and manages the processes; chairs both program evaluation committees; sits on both councils (undergraduate and graduate studies)
- Program evaluation coordinators – Are responsible for coordinating the cyclical program review process; provides support to the program evaluation committees
- Administrative assistants – Provide administrative support for the Quality Assurance Office, the program evaluation coordinators and the Associate Vice-President, Programs
Cyclical review of programs
As part of the University of Ottawa’s Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP), all programs are evaluated every seven years (maximum of eight years) to ensure that we continuously deliver the highest standards and quality in our programs.
The goal of the cyclical review process is to constantly improve our quality programs and engage the academic units in a culture of progressive and continuous learning. The cyclical review is not simply an administrative requirement. Rather, it is an opportunity to develop and strengthen programs that are currently of good quality and to address any challenges within our programs.
These cyclical program evaluations measure the degree to which programs:
- Have attained their program goals and desired learning outcomes
- Meet student’s needs and provide them with a university experience that lives up to their expectations
- Help the University accomplish its academic goals and mission
- Possess the quantity and quality of human, financial and material resources required
- Are viable and relevant
The self-study element of a cyclical review is a critical look at all aspects of a program—the curriculum, student population and faculty resources as well as all other human, financial and material resources. It is an in-depth, forward-looking probe based on significant amounts of data as well as quality indicators.