Quality assurance principles
All Universities Canada members are committed to delivering the highest quality of postsecondary education.
There is a rigorous application process for a higher education institution to become a Universities Canada member, such that institutions must meet a set of criteria. One of the membership criteria is the requirement to have robust quality assurance policies and procedures in place.
Below are the principles that have been endorsed by the president, principal or rector of each Universities Canada member institution. Since 2005, every five years, Universities Canada members have reaffirmed their commitment to these principles, guaranteeing the quality and integrity of their academic programs.
Universities Canada principles
Quality assurance and improvement
The institution has in place a formal, approved, transparent policy committing it to ensuring the quality and continuous improvement of its academic programs.
Where applicable, the institution is also in compliance with the requirements of a provincial or regional authority having responsibility for quality assurance either through that agency’s verification that the institution’s quality review policy and processes meet an agreed standard, or through the agency’s own assessment of the programs offered.
The authority responsible for implementation of the institutional policy and for action in response to recommendations resulting from the quality assurance process is clearly identified.
There is a procedure for the regular review of the institution’s quality assurance policy and related processes.
Scope and frequency of reviews
The policy applies to current and planned programs.
The policy is comprehensive in its coverage of all undergraduate and graduate programs.
The policy applies to all programs whether campus-based or delivered at a distance, in Canada or across borders.
The full range of the institution’s academic programs is subject to review on a regular cycle.
The policy defines the elements of the program reviews.
The policy includes an appropriate mechanism to review interdisciplinary programs.
Key characteristics of the quality review
The quality assessment process is based on self-evaluation and peer review.
The process includes, as a fundamental dimension, the involvement of external disciplinary experts.
The process involves internal and external stakeholders including students, faculty, and the administration of the institution, and may also involve alumni and representatives of the community.
Where accreditation or certification processes exist for certain professional and other programs, the institution typically participates in them, and these standards are integrated into the institution’s own quality review processes for these programs.
Information to the public
There is documentation to guide the quality assurance process, and this documentation is public.
In the interests of transparency and accountability, the results of the quality assessment are made public.
The policy, related processes and the calendar for assessments are known within the institution and among external stakeholders including government and the public-at-large.