QA Academy

Annually, about 30 undergraduate and graduate programs undergo cyclical review with an additional half dozen new program proposals reviewed as part of the approval process. To further engage students in the important work of quality assurance in compliance with Western’s IQAP, the student perspective is informally sought as part of the review process via participation in surveys, focus groups and interviews with external reviewers during a site visit. More formally, student engagement occurs via input from a student participating as an internal reviewer in conjunction with a site visit by external reviewers. Unfortunately, it has occasionally been difficult to recruit student leaders and adequately prepare them for their responsibilities as internal reviewers.

Description of the Initiative

In 2022, the Office of Academic Quality and Enhancement (OAQE) piloted a QA Academy to facilitate student engagement as internal reviewers in Western’s quality assurance work. An ongoing initiative, the QA Academy seeks to:

  • Recruit student leaders via the central undergraduate and graduate student councils, the network of student senators, and pool of high achieving student volunteers; 
  • Train and initiate a mentorship process via a student reviewer retreat; 
  • Provide skill and leadership development as part of meaningful university service work; and 
  • Learn from the experiences and perspectives of student leaders and implement these insights into the continuous improvement of academic programs.                

Working from lists of interested students provided by varied student councils, a select number of students will be invited to participate in a half-day retreat known as the QA Academy. The purpose of this interactive retreat is to provide context regarding: 1) how programs are developed in postsecondary education institutions; 2) the importance of quality assurance and continuous enhancement; 3) the processes and reflections involved in program review/approval; and 4) the role student reviewers play in supporting the review process. Following the retreat, participants will be assigned as a student reviewer as part of a program review commonly taking place between the end of January and April.

Following the completion of a program review, students will be asked to submit a brief reflection regarding their experience. They will subsequently receive: a letter recognizing their contribution, a notation in their co-curricular record (where applicable), and a small honorarium to recognize their work. Through this retreat, review and reflection process, it is the hope of the OAQE that participating students will further develop an understanding of university structures and processes along with leadership and communication skills.   

Should this important service work be of interest to you, please contact for greater detail.