Read the organizational standards that guide CAQC’s organizational evaluations
CAQC’s organizational standards are used by Council and its evaluation teams to assess an institution’s readiness to implement and sustain degree programs.
All institutions proposing degree programs meet general organizational assessment standards. Institutions proposing graduate programs are also required to meet graduate program organizational assessment standards.
General Organizational Assessment Standards
These organizational assessment standards are applied to all institutions proposing degree programs.
Mandate and mission – The organization has a clearly articulated and published mandate (public institutions) or mission (private institutions) and academic goals statement, approved by the governing board and appropriate for a degree-granting institution, and has academic policies and standards that support the organization’s mission and educational objectives to ensure degree quality and relevance. The mission includes a commitment to the dissemination of knowledge through teaching and, where applicable, the creation of knowledge and service to the community or related professions.
Governance and administrative capacity – The organization has the legal characteristics and the leadership, through a governance structure and administrative capacity, necessary to organize and manage a reputable, effective and high quality degree-granting institution.
Academic freedom and integrity – The organization maintains an atmosphere in which academic freedom exists. Where adherence to a statement of faith and/or code of conduct might constitute a constraint upon academic freedom, the conditions of membership in that institution’s community must be clear prior to admission or employment. Students and academic staff display a high degree of intellectual independence. Academic activity is supported by policies, procedures and practices that encourage academic honesty and integrity.
Academic policies – The organization has published admission, continuation and graduation policies consistent with the objectives of its programs and has the capacity to ensure that academic records of students are secure.
Organizational policies, strategic planning and periodic review – The organization has appropriate policies and processes in place to assess the effectiveness, continuous growth and improvement of its educational programs and services, including a strategic planning process (both for short and long range plans) that enables the organization to respond in a focused, effective and innovative way to the challenges of its environment and constituents. Policies and procedures are in place which address internal curriculum development and periodic program review to ensure the ongoing quality of its programs and learning outcomes. Such assessments normally include the advice of external experts.
Financial planning and resources – The organization has the financial management procedures, resources and appropriate planning to provide a stable learning environment and to ensure that students can complete the degree program.
Ethical conduct – The organization values and upholds integrity and ethical conduct as demonstrated by the relevant policies and practices by which it conducts its business. It has fair and ethical policies in place governing admissions and recruitment of students, and a systematic method for evaluating and awarding academic credit.
Faculty and staff – The organization has the human resources, including appropriately qualified faculty and instructional staff, necessary to achieve its mission and academic goals. The organization has policies and procedures with respect to appointment, evaluation, employment conditions including employment equity, promotion, termination and professional development for faculty and staff. Revised to add “including employment equity”, March 2008
Information services and systems – The organization has the information services and learning resources to support the academic programs for students and faculty, as well as an established method of setting priorities with respect to their acquisition. The institution is committed to maintaining and supplementing them as needed. As well, the organization has the systems in place to gather and analyze data, which are used for planning and decision-making purposes. It establishes specific performance indicators and benchmarks by which programs and academic units are assessed.
Student services and student protection – The organization values and upholds integrity and ethical conduct in its relations with students through the availability of full, accurate and truthful material regarding its mission and goals; history; governance and academic structure; program and subject descriptions; faculty and administrator credentials; entrance requirements including credit transfer and prior learning assessment policies; clear and informative student enrollment agreements verifying student awareness of relevant policies; support services; payment requirements and refund policies; financial assistance; and transcript protection.
Dispute resolution – The organization has policies for dealing with disputes between the organization and its students, the organization and its faculty, and between faculty and students where complaints, grievances, and/or disputes of students, faculty, staff and administration are dealt with in accordance with the principles of natural justice.
Scholarly and research support – The organization has policies and procedures in place to support and facilitate engagement by academic staff in scholarship and, where appropriate, research or creative activity.
Physical plant – The organization has the facilities, including laboratories, classrooms, technology and specialized equipment, as well as the existence of plans and methods for managing health and safety issues, appropriate to support degree programming in the program(s) it offers or proposes to offer.
Graduate program policies – Organizations proposing graduate programs have policies, structures and mechanisms in place appropriate to graduate studies and research.
Dated: 13 March 2008
Graduate Program Organizational Assessment Standards
In addition to the general organizational assessment standards, Council has adopted additional standards for institutions proposing to offer a first graduate degree program or a graduate degree at a new level. Council will be evaluating the institution’s potential and plans to put in place the resources, personnel and organizational support to deliver and sustain the proposed level of graduate program.
Graduate program policies – Organizations proposing graduate programs have policies, structures and mechanisms in place appropriate to graduate studies and research (e.g., policies concerning supervisory responsibilities, appeal systems, satisfactory standing, etc.).
Commitment to graduate students – The institution has core faculty committed to the graduate program(s) and to the intellectual life of graduate students through sustained participation in activities involving graduate students (seminars, colloquia, conferences, journal clubs, etc.). The organization is committed to the timely program completion of its graduate students and to their financial support through such means as teaching assistantships, scholarships, bursaries, faculty research grants, research contracts, etc. The quality of graduate supervision is commensurate with an excellent program.
Faculty – Faculty, as a group, should provide intellectual leadership. In doctoral and research-oriented master’s programs, the scholarly activity and intellectual atmosphere of the academic unit is based on the number and quality of significant publications or creative research output of the members and on the unit’s continuing insistence on originality and excellence. In the case of programs in professional areas, there must be a solid basis of appropriate scholarly or creative activities.
The evidence of accomplishment must be demonstrated through peer review and critical analysis, with peer-adjudicated publication as the predominant way of assessing scholarly achievement in the traditional disciplines. For some fields of study, evidence of professional achievement and intellectual leadership may be inferred from other scholarly or creative activities.
It is essential that the intellectual engagement of the faculty, as a whole, be maintained through regular participation in scholarly activities, the validity of which has been verified by peer review. Most members of the unit must be involved in ongoing research and publications of findings, or other scholarly activity as appropriate. The commitment to graduate students, above, also requires a faculty involved in the scholarly life of the department and institution.
Research done by the department or unit should have, or have the potential to have, a significant impact provincially, nationally and internationally, commensurate with the size of the department or unit, and appropriate to the program being proposed.
Library and information resources – The institution must provide the essential information resources to support appropriate graduate student work. These resources must be adequate for the number of students enrolled and for the level of study.
Research facilities – The institution has laboratory, computer, studio, and/or creative facilities, as well as essential resources, to support the faculty and students adequately in their research.