The Minister of Advanced Education is responsible for the approval and regulation of Alberta's post-secondary programs. Under the Programs of Study Regulation (91/2009), the Campus Alberta Quality Council is responsible for monitoring the quality of approved degree programs. Following are some of the principles which the Council adheres with respect to monitoring of existing programs (CAQC Handbook 2015, p 95, emphasis added):
- The primary responsibility for academic quality assurance rests with post-secondary institutions themselves.
- CAQC supports institutions in establishing robust internal quality assurance mechanisms, and expects institutions to accept increasing responsibility for monitoring, as they demonstrate to Council’s satisfaction their ability to assure the quality of their programming. A critical element of a respectable internal quality assurance process is the use of external peer reviews conducted by independent academic experts.
- It is the responsibility of the institution to continue to meet Council’s standards, and to report when it no longer does so.
- An institution’s experience and capacity in offering degree programs at the same level (i.e., undergraduate, master’s, doctoral) and in the same or closely related fields of study will affect CAQC’s positioning of an institution’s new programs on the spectrum referred to above.
Find all of the CAQC’s monitoring principles in the CAQC Handbook: Quality Assessment and Assurance.
Program Review at AU
Athabasca University respects and adheres to these principles and has developed a robust program review process that reflects the common model of program review. This includes a self-study, external peer review and report, and institutional response. The self-study is intended to set the stage for future planning, with the externals providing helpful third party insights. The response to the external report is expected to address the key points of the self-study, those of the external report, and strategies for continuous improvement. A summary of this response is disseminated as information through Athabasca University’s committee structure and outcomes of the strategies' successes are reported on an annual basis.
Please contact Helen Mayes Coordinator, Quality Assurance (Academic Programs) for information regarding program reviews.