A formal quality assurance practice is critical to determining educational policy and ensuring high academic and program standards at the University. Continuous evaluation and improvement is the goal of the processes that govern quality assurance at Brock, supporting a vision of a student-centred education based on clearly articulated program learning outcomes.
The Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) is the foundational document upon which quality assurance is based in Ontario. Following approval of the QAF in 2010, every university in Ontario developed an Institutional Quality Assurance Processes (IQAP) document outlining quality assurance procedures at the institutional level. The IQAP is subject to approval by the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance (Quality Council) which is responsible for oversight and administration of the QAF. The QAF was revised in February 2021, following an external audit of the document and its administration by the Quality Council. All universities have been asked to revise their IQAPs to reflect the new QAF. An IQAP Codicil was approved by Senate on Dec 15, 2021 and will serve to address key requirements of the new QAF until the completion of an upcoming audit of Brock by the Quality Council in 2022/23.
Within this context, the University’s quality assurance policies are subject to the authority of Senate through its Academic Review Committee (ARC). ARC is responsible for the coordination, monitoring and implementation of all aspects of the IQAP and IQAP Codicil. Upon Senate approval, Brock submits new program proposals, program discontinuations, cyclical program reviews and major modifications of existing programs to the Quality Council for approval. Quality Council approval of new programs and the results of cyclical reviews of existing programs is required prior to any program submissions to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities for funding.
The Quality Council conducts an audit of each Ontario University once every eight years to determine compliance with its IQAP and to evaluate institutional commitment to quality assurance. Brock is due to be audited in 2022/23 and expects that revisions will be required to quality assurance processes and the IQAP as a result.
Quality assurance is a shared responsibility between the Quality Council and Ontario’s publicly assisted universities. In the years since the establishment of the QAF quality assurance has evolved “beyond that of the institutions demonstrating compliance with established standards of quality to that of encouraging investments in quality improvement”. (QAF 2021 p.1) Brock’s commitment to high standards of academic quality through its quality assurance practices is foundational to its mission, vision and guiding values. Quality assurance processes are expected to result in an educational system that is open, accountable and transparent for all stakeholders.
Brian Power, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President, Academic
Christina Phillips, Manager, Quality Assurance (x 5678)