Overview of Sheridan’s Program Review Process
All programs at Sheridan leading to an Ontario College credential undergo a comprehensive review every five to seven years. Sheridan’s Program Review process involves a continuous cycle consisting of the following:
Program review begins with a planning phase which occurs in the Fall followed by the start of the cycle in the Winter term. During the review year, the main deliverables for the review are typically worked on during the Winter and Spring/Summer terms. The cycle extends over a period of approximately 12-months with the exception of degree programs which must undergo an additional phase known as consent renewal. Two-years following the approval of the Executive Summary Report, the Dean/Associate Dean is responsible for submitting an up-to-date action plan report to the Program Quality Assurance Committee (PQAC) of the Senate. The report includes status updates for all committed action items.
Program Review Activities
1. Collection & Analysis
The program review process is based on a cycle of evaluation, review, and improvement. The focus of the program review is on inquiry, analysis and evaluation, not merely description. The reflections and recommendations drawn from the program review are evidence-based deriving from the various data sources (environmental, institutional and program). Data analysis contributes to a culture of research-based practice and supports evidenced-based reflection, assessment, narrative writing, and decision-making.
2. Evaluation: Self-Assessment, Site Visit, External Evaluation
The evaluation is conducted through a process of self-assessment, followed by peer evaluation via reviewers external to the College.
The self-assessment should provide a judgment of the overall quality and effectiveness of the program. It is an analysis of the current state and identifies strengths, challenges, gaps, emerging opportunities, and the impact of trends to support achievement of the program’s mission, vision, goals, and objectives. It also identifies opportunities for further enhancements of the program and should address fundamental questions that support strategic planning for the program moving forward. The findings and recommendations resulting from the self-assessment are informed by data. How each academic Program Review Team approaches these analyses will vary, but the teams should strive to provide a comprehensive review of the following program components: program goals, education experience, educational design, and resources.
Each program review includes a 1-day visit by external reviewers with robust credentials and relevant experience in the discipline. The role of the external reviewer is viewed as that of a “field expert” with a wealth of knowledge about the issues particular to the discipline or the field. The external reviewers are asked to provide insight and feedback on issues and trends particular to the discipline/field, with a specific focus on how the program can strategically improve and enhance.
Each visit is conducted by the academic Program Review Team, consisting of two or more external reviewers. The reviewers are responsible for being familiar with the review materials (i.e., self-assessment and supporting documentation). During the day of the site visit, reviewers jointly meet with faculty, administrators, staff, students, and PAC members to gain further insight into the state of the program and discuss key issues and program strengths. The review team also meets with the program Dean and/or Associate Dean.
External Evaluation Report (Reviewer Report)
Following the site visit, a report is written by the external reviewers. The report is an analysis of the review materials as well as insights gained from the meetings with key program stakeholders. It includes specific recommendations for the continuous improvement of the program. The academic Program Review Team fact-checks the report and has an opportunity to follow-up with the reviewers for questions and clarification. Afterwards, action and implementation plans are developed.
3. Planning and Implementation: Executive Summary Report
Once the external evaluation report is received and reviewed by the academic Program Review Team, an action plan is developed which details specific recommendations for program improvement and enhancement. Based on the action plan the team will write the corresponding implementation plan. The comprehensive report including the action and implementation plans are discussed with the Senior Academic Team. The program review process allows faculty members, the Dean, the Office of the Provost, and the Senior Academic Team to assess the educational quality of the program and to address questions regarding educational goals, the effectiveness of the program’s strategies to achieve those goals, the allocation of resources, and changes that should be made in relation to review findings. The Faculty Dean or designate must implement the agreed upon action plan and report on implementation in the following Annual Report and the Program Quality Assurance Committee (PQAC) two-year Follow-Up Report.
4. Consent Renewal: Ministerial Consent Renewal Application (degrees only)
Degree programs must undergo an external, formal Consent Renewal process that fulfils requirements for obtaining Ministerial permission to continue offering the programs. Consent is granted under specific terms and conditions as described by the Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board (PEQAB). PEQAB is an Ontario agency that makes recommendations to the Minister of Colleges and Universities of Ontario on applications for ministerial consent. Consent applications are prepared by the academic Program Review Team with the support of CTL and must be submitted to the Minister of Colleges and Universities (MCU) 12-months prior to the expiry of consent.
5. Renewal and Improvement: Two-Year Follow-Up Report
Programs are required to report on the status of action item implementation to the Program Quality Assurance Committee (PQAC) of the Senate two-years after the completion of the program review. Programs are notified by the PQAC Secretary and provided with a template for completion.