Senate Agenda, November 19, 1999 - EXHIBIT IV, Appendix 6
In an effort to ensure that all universities in Ontario have in place appropriate review procedures for undergraduate academic programs, the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents in 1996 established an Undergraduate Program Review Audit Committee. Beginning in 1997, this committee began a systematic audit of the procedures in place at each institution, first collecting all relevant documentation concerning the current program review processes and then dispatching auditing teams on site visits to examine recent reviews of selected undergraduate programs. In May 1998, the UPRAC auditors visited The University of Western Ontario, examining the most recent reviews in English, Business, Electrical Engineering, and the Economics, Business and Mathematics program at King's College. In addition, the auditors examined procedures used in establishing the new undergraduate program in Health Sciences (BHSc) in the newly-merged Faculty.
In April 1999, the Report of the Auditors on Undergraduate Program Reviews at The University of Western Ontario was completed by the reviewers. It was subsequently submitted to the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents and forwarded in its final form in August. The Provost's response to the Audit including each of the recommendations is included. The full report can be obtained from the office of the University Secretariat.
Conclusion, Summary of Recommendations and Suggestions from the Report of the UPRAC Auditors on Undergraduate Program Reviews at the University of Western Ontario
The University of Western Ontario has a well-established tradition of the conscientious attention to the merit of its undergraduate programs. That concern has expressed itself recently in the steps taken by the University to bring its policies into conformity with the Guidelines established by OCAV. This audit touches mainly on aspects of the reformulation of policy not yet achieved--as in the recommendations concerning the implementation of new programs--and on points of procedure that might be made more effective--as in the suggestions about the conduct of self-appraisals. The audit is emphatically positive. The evidence provided to the Auditors demonstrates that the University of Western Ontario has performed well and is anxious to satisfy the measures recommended by OCAV to ensure that the quality of undergraduate programs is effectively assessed.
Summary of Recommendations and Suggestions:
For ease of reference the Recommendations and Suggestions are repeated here:
Recommendation 1: It is recommended that the colleges affiliated with the University of Western Ontario develop program review policies that meet the requirements of the UPR Process and are appropriate to the scale of the institutions.
Recommendation 2: The guidelines related to self-appraisal should be expanded to emphasize the collective nature of the process, to invite a critical appraisal of all aspects of the academic character of the unit, and to direct particular attention to the topics on which the external reviewers are to comment.
Recommendation 3: The Program Review Committee should specifically ensure that its final report responds clearly to the concerns raised in the self-appraisal document produced by the academic unit concerned.
Recommendation 4: The Program Review committee should ensure that its final report includes a consideration of the non-confidential documents provided by the external reviewers.
Recommendation 5: The Program Review Committee should ensure that, when reviews with different objectives are undertaken simultaneously, the distinctive needs of the undergraduate program reviews are satisfied.
Recommendation 6: The provisions governing the implementation of new undergraduate programs at the University of Western Ontario, as at all Ontario universities, should be revised to bring them into conformity with the OCAV's UPRAC Guidelines.
Suggestion 1: To assist members of the university in adapting to changes in the guidelines governing the review of undergraduate programs, the Provost should make available for a suitable interim period instructions noting the differences between the old and the new procedures and the priority to be given to self-evaluation.
Suggestion 2: In order to further the coherence of program reviews, the Program Review Committee should ensure that questions directed to the consultants are also addressed by the academic unit under review.
Suggestion 3: To remove any procedural ambiguity in the directions concerning the final reports completed by the Program Committee, the relevant guidelines should be amended to specify that, whatever composite documents may be produced by the Program Review committee concerning program reviews, each review should have its own final report. The academic unit involved should be given an opportunity to respond to the final report.
Suggestion 4: The Auditors suggest that, in order to bring the Guidelines for the Appraisal of Academic Units and Programs into agreement with the UPR Process and with the recommendations of the Provost's Advisory Committee on Procedures for the Review of Undergraduate Programs, specific reference be made to consultation, where appropriate, with bodies external to the University.