IQAP - Institutional Quality Assurance Process
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Undergraduate and graduate programs at Western undergo curriculum review every 7 years under the Institutional Quality Assurance Process.
To find out when your program is due to undergo review, review timelines, curriculum review forms, and other resources, please visit:
Start preparing for curriculum review 2 years before the visit by external reviewers.
- IQAP Preparation
- Year 1: Create plan; develop outcomes
- Year 2: Self-study prep & data collection
- IQAP Submission
- Year 3: Self-study submission; site visit
- Continuous Improvement
- Year 4: Improve and align
- Year 5: Consider High impact practices
- Year 6: Revisit Learning Outcomes
- Year 7
- Year 8
As part of the curriculum review or new program proposal process, departments are asked to articulate how their students achieve the Western Degree Outcomes and the Ontario Graduate Degree Level Expectations (WDOs and GDLEs).
WDOs and GDLEs capture the fundamental areas of knowledge and skills that students acquire by the end of their degrees.
Typically, the self-study report includes a table in which the program describes how their program learning outcomes map onto or fulfill the degree level expectations.
- Western Degree Outcomes and UUDLE - WDO Alignment Charts (printable version)
- Report of the Working Group on Western Degree Outcomes
- COU guide to Learning Outcomes, Degree Expectations and the Quality Assurance Process in Ontario
- Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents' Undergraduate and Graduate Degree Level Expectations
A: For the purposes of IQAP, with the exception of minors, each module in an undergraduate program will have module-level learning outcomes.
Citizenship Studies: 3 modules
1. Honors Specialization in Citizenship Studies
2. Major in Citizenship Studies
3. Minor in Citizenship Studies
In Example A, the fictional program Citizenship Studies would have two modules that would require module-level learning outcomes: the Honors Specialization and the Major.
If program modules share an equivalent name (such as Citizenship Studies), alignment between module learning outcomes can be expected. As a result, the equivalent modules can be grouped together in a “program block” for the purposes of cyclical review. In Example A, the Honors Specialization and Major would be two modules that make up one program block in Citizenship Studies.
A: Because Honors specializations represent the most sophisticated depth of knowledge in a program, the Honors specialization would be expected to have more module-level learning outcomes, and/or more sophisticated (in expected student achievement) module-level learning outcomes. Block Specializations or Majors would typically share some of the module-level learning outcomes of the Honors specialization (see example B, below).
Citizenship Studies — Module Learning Outcomes
Honors Specialization in Citizenship Studies
Major in Citizenship Studies
|Learning outcome A||Learning outcome A|
|Learning outcome B||Learning outcome B|
|Learning outcome C||No equivalent|
|Learning outcome D||Learning outcome D|
|Learning outcome E||Learning outcome E|
|Learning outcome F||No equivalent|
|Learning outcome G||No equivalent|
In the example above, the two modules share common learning outcomes (e.g. LOs A,B,D & E). The level of sophistication expected for similar Learning Outcomes further differentiates the modules. In example C, below, the achievement of Learning Outcome A at the Honors specialization level is more sophisticated (requiring the student to apply principles through a capstone project) than at the Major level.
Learning Outcome A, Major in Citizenship Studies
Students will be able to describe the principles of ethical leadership and collaborative engagement to identify and explain how others have used these principles to advance and sustain local and global communities.
Learning Outcome A, Honors specialization in Citizenship Studies
Students will be able to apply the principles of ethical leadership and collaborative engagement to advance and sustain local and global communities through the completion of a capstone project.
A: Undergraduate programs undergoing review can submit an “omnibus report”; the self-study will require a description of the common attributes of all program modules as well as the distinctive attributes of each discrete module. For more information on what is to be included in the self-study, refer to section 4.2.2 in Western’s Institutional Quality Assurance Process.
In summary, for cyclical review:
- with the exception of minors, each module in a program requires module-level learning outcomes (example A)
- in program blocks (modules with the same name at different levels (e.g., major, specialization), alignment between learning outcomes is to be expected (example B)
- while there can be common learning outcomes across modules in program blocks, learning outcomes can also be expected to demonstrate a clear difference in expected student outcomes (example C)
- undergraduate programs can submit an “omnibus report” where the self-study clearly outlines the common attributes of all modules, as well as the distinctive attributes of each program block and the included modules.
Western has developed a (fictional) program in Forestry with a series of Honors Specializations, Majors, Specializations and a Minor.
Forestry program modules
Honors Specialization in Forestry (BA)
Honors Specialization in Forestry (BSc)
Honors Specialization in Forest Conservation Arts (BA)
Honors Specialization in Forest Conservation Science (BSc)
Honors Specialization in Forestry Business Management
Major in Forestry Major in Forest Conservation Science
Major in Forest Biomaterials Science
Major in Forestry Business Management
Major in Forest Operations
Specialization in Forestry
Minor in Forestry
The Forestry program is up for cyclical review. How would these modules be organized for the self-study?
Module alignment table
Forest Conservation Arts (BA)
Forest Conservation Science (BSc)
|Forest Business Management||x||x|
Forest Biomaterials Science
In this case:
- the Minor in Forestry does not require module-level learning outcomes (and is not represented in the alignment table)
- there are seven program blocks (the rows) made up of eleven distinct modules (the "x"s) up for review within the program
- the Honors specialization Forestry BA and BSc would have separate module-level learning outcomes but the Forestry Specialization and Forestry Major would share module-level learning outcomes with the Honors specializations
- both the Forest Conservation Science BSc and Forest Business Management would have Honors specialization-level learning outcomes, as well as aligned learning outcomes (for both modules) at the major level.
As part of the curriculum review process, departments will receive a list of recommendations for improving program quality from the external reviewers. For example, recommendations may include: the need for adding a key course on research methods to a master’s program, requiring graduate students to meet with their advisory committees a certain number of times per year, revision of comprehensive exam practices, or recommending additional faculty positions to support the number of students in a growing program.
Departments have a chance to respond to the reviewers' recommendations before their program review document enters the final assessment of review through SUPR-U and SUPR-G. In the response, departments articulate what they may have already done to address recommendations, and what, if any, changes are in process or planned for the future.
If you would like to discuss this topic further, please contact a member of the CTL curriculum team.