Academic Program Quality Assurance in Canada and the United States

Summary

This research brief analyzes academic program review processes at Canadian and American universities. Specifically, we investigate the structure and timeline of academic program reviews, how results are used to modify programs, and how administrators expect to adapt their review processes.

Key observations from our research

1. Canadian institutions in Alberta and Ontario are accountable to provincial quality councils, and institutions in the United States report to regional accreditors.

2. While the structure of review processes vary at profiled institutions, all academic reviews contain a self-study document, a site visit from an external committee, implementation of an action plan, and a progress check.

3. Academic reviews combine internal self-assessments and on-site visits from external experts to provide a broad perspective on program quality.

4. Implement recommendations with an action plan and in-person progress check.

5. Administrators do not foresee major structural changes to their quality assurance processes, but plan to make reviews more data-driven and increase communication between administration and academic units.

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