Program Quality Policy

Policy Number: AS-2000-2013
Policy Title: Program Quality Policy
Policy Owner: Vice President, Academic
Effective Date: January 16, 2019

On this page:

  1. Purpose
  2. Application and Scope
  3. Definitions
  4. Principles
  5. Accountability and Compliance
  6. Rules
  7. Policy Revision Date
  8. Attachments
  9. Links

1. Purpose

This policy is intended to provide an overarching framework for developing and delivering quality academic programming and maintaining exemplary academic standards.


2. Application and Scope

This policy applies to all academic programs offered by Mohawk College. Review processes will be modified for programs requiring external accreditation, as well as for degree programs, apprenticeship programs, college certificate programs and non-postsecondary programs.


3. Definitions

“Annual Review” is the process used to review and revise curriculum based on College strategic directions, feedback from faculty, Program Advisory Committee members, students, administration, and the analysis of relevant data.

“Comprehensive Review” refers to cyclical program quality review conducted every five years for all College programs. This review, which builds on the annual review, assesses each program against established quality criteria.

“Conventional Programs” are programs that either have provincial program standards, are offered by other Ontario colleges and/or are delivered via the traditional college model of semester blocks, typically leading to an Ontario Credential.

"Essentiality" refers to the importance of the program to the overall strategic plan and direction of the institution. Programs will be considered essential if they are:

  1. core to the brand and focus of the College; or
  2. serve to support and enhance a prominent and distinguishing aspect of the communities we serve.

“Experiential Learning” (EL) is an educational activity facilitated and supported by the College through which students learn while doing. Students participate in workplaces, or simulated workplaces, where they are exposed to authentic professional demands and expectations. The goal of an EL experience is to improve students’ employability and interpersonal skills and to support their transition to the workforce.

“Innovative Programs” are programs that the college intends to deliver in a unique way and/or programs that require a rapid development process to meet emerging needs of the marketplace.

“Program Cancellation” refers to a program the college is no longer offering and in which no students are enrolled.

“Program Intake Suspension” is the internal decision to not admit semester one students for a particular intake year.

“Program Modification” is the revitalization strategy that involves implementation of program-specific changes intended to enhance the viability and/or relevance of the program and/or resulting from provincially mandated changes.

“Program Suspension” is a program into which a college has decided not to admit semester one students with the intention of cancelling the program and such suspension will be reported to the Ministry.


4. Principles

  1. Mohawk College is committed to academic programming excellence.
  2. All Ontario college certificate, diploma, advanced diploma and graduate certificate programs offered by the College will conform to the Minister’s Binding Policy Directive Framework for Programs of Instruction, the Ontario College Quality Assurance Service Credentials Framework, college system standards, and programming principles and external accrediting bodies where applicable.
  3. Programs developed and delivered by the College will maintain consistency with published Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) program standards and titling principles where they exist.
  4. Mohawk is committed to Experiential Learning opportunities for students within each program of study.
  5. Program review is a pivotal continuous improvement strategy, enabling the College to ensure that the content and delivery of academic programs continue to be responsive, current and relevant.
  6. The College is committed to regular review, restructuring, reorganization and enhancement of the academic programming complement as an essential strategy to keep pace with demographic shifts, changing employment trends, global competition and student and employer needs.
  7. The program closure and consolidation model integrates a process that is strategic, transparent, consultative and evidence-based. The goal of the process is to maintain and enhance the College’s academic strengths and financial viability, while limiting adverse effects for students and employers.
  8. Program closure and consolidation are realized with the application of various strategies (in sequence or independently) that may include the suspension or cancellation of specific courses, modifications to enhance the performance of the program, the suspension or cancellation of academic programs, or in some cases reinstatement of academic programs previously offered by the College.


5. Accountability and Compliance

5.1 Accountability Framework

This policy has been approved by the Senior Leadership Team.

5.2 Compliance

The Vice President, Academic is responsible for monitoring compliance to this policy and updating the policy as required.


6. Rules

A. New Programs - Program Development

The following will apply for all program development:

  1. New Program Strategy
    1. The College will develop and annually review and revise a new program strategy that includes:
    2. Identification of key applicants, demographic needs analysis by industry sector and market need
    3. Opportunities to leverage online modalities, blended learning, partnerships, applied research infrastructure and other faculty assets.
    4. Links to the College’s strategic plan, academic plan and brand.
    5. Program portfolio development planning as opposed to one-off program development. This planning may include student pathways and partnerships as well as program streams.
  2. Call for Proposals
    1. At least once per year the College will issue a call for proposals from Deans, Associate Deans, and faculty members.
    2. The proposal call will share the high level results from our market scan of the market to help guide proponents in the proposals they bring forward.
    3. The gaps identified in the market research will result in directed program development where the college will deploy a team to develop a program which is an obvious need.
    4. Program proposals will be assessed on the basis of their alignment with market trends and having regard to our strategic plan, academic plan and branding.
  3. Business Analysis
    1. A business analysis will be conducted to determine the projected contribution margin having regard to tuition, projected enrolment, operating and capital costs. In addition, this analysis will assess space capacity and human resource needs (including the use of full-time vs. part-time staffing). Where a feasible business case is demonstrated, the program proposals can move into the design phase.
    2. Provision will be made to allow for some programs which carry a higher level of risk in terms of their business case to ensure that aversion to risk does not preclude innovation in programming.
    3. Approvals will be made by the Executive Group through the Strategic Enrolment Management process, prior to moving to the Design Phase.
  4. Design Phase
    1. The design phase will be guided by the principles outlined in the Academic Plan. The Academic Plan is founded on the Strategic Plan and our Branding strategy and sets forth guiding principles around the delivery of Mohawk programs, and the skills and attributes of our graduates.
    2. In designing new programs, the college will ensure that new learning technologies are utilized and the curriculum emphasizes leading technology being employed in the field.
    3. New programs will, where possible, employ cross-disciplinary learning, embed institutional learning outcomes, and embrace internationalization.
    4. New programs will be designed with multiple entrance and exit pathways for our students.
    5. New programs will ensure that there are experiential learning opportunities, and where possible, close connections to community and industry partners.
    6. Consideration will also be given to the modularity of the program to take advantage of equivalent or similar existing offerings at the College and how they can be leveraged to reduce the requirement for new courses while providing more flexibility to students in course choice.
  5. Program Launch
    1. At this stage consideration will include promotional strategies and risk mitigation for innovative programs. More conventional low risk programs will be launched as part of the College’s regular program offering. Consideration will be given to piloting more innovative higher risk programs through continuing education or otherwise so as to mitigate risk.
  6. Timelines
    1. The program development cycle, from market research to launch, is expected to range from six months for innovative pilot programs to two years for conventional program offerings.
  7. Detailed Procedure
    1. A detailed program development procedure will be developed and updated regularly to reflect the changing needs and priorities of the college.

B. Quality Programs - Program Review

The following are the major requirements of program review:

  1. Alignment
    1. All College programs participate in the Program Quality Assurance Process. The program review process will focus on continuous quality improvement. The review is intended to determine that:
      1. The program continues to be aligned with the mission, vision, and values of the college, the College’s Strategic and Academic plans, Ministry of Colleges and Universities standards and directives, and industry accreditation standards where applicable
      2. Program content continues to be relevant for market demands, and where appropriate, supports transition to further study
      3. Program delivery integrates innovation, best practices, and alternative approaches to teaching and learning as appropriate to enhance accessibility and student success and satisfaction.
  2. Annual Review
    1. Every program offered at the College will undergo an annual review, conducted according to established processes and criteria. The annual review will include the following components:
      1. Review of the annual program scorecard data
      2. Review of the program curriculum and recommendations for changes to the program of studies, including an updated curriculum mapping matrix
      3. Review of admission standards and recommendations for changes
      4. Review of blended learning metrics and identification of recommendations or opportunities
      5. Review of student pathways and identification of recommendations or opportunities.
  3. Comprehensive Review
    1. A comprehensive review will be completed for each program every five years, according to established processes and criteria
    2. The comprehensive review will include the following components
      1. Assessment of course outlines
      2. Assessment of program learning outcomes
      3. Analysis of curriculum map
      4. Analysis of course learning activities
      5. Analysis of enrolment and student success data
      6. Analysis of labour market data
      7. Analysis of KPI data.
  4. Approval
    1. The final program report will be approved by the Vice President, Academic and a summary will be presented to the Board of Governors for information.
  5. Timing
    1. Annual Review reports will be submitted to the Vice President, Academic according to the established schedule and deadlines.
    2. Comprehensive Reviews will be scheduled on a five-year plan that is updated annually. Comprehensive Reviews will be submitted to the Vice President, Academic according to the established schedule and deadlines.
  6. Procedures
    1. Detailed program review procedures will be developed and amended from time to time as required.

C. Closure and Consolidation

The following will apply for all program closure and consolidation:

  1. Alignment
    1. The program closure and consolidation process is intended to review the college’s overall program mix and make recommendations to change that mix through modifications, consolidations or suspensions.
    2. The program closure and consolidation process is college-wide in scope whereas the program review process in section B pertains to individual programs. Findings from the program review process will be used to inform the closure and consolidation process.
    3. The program closure and consolidation process will operate within and be consistent with the College’s strategic and academic plans and will respect Collective Agreements.
  2. Criteria:
    1. Programs will be evaluated by a set of criteria that will be determined prior to the review starting.  Many of these criteria, such as internal and external demand for the program, quality of program inputs, and outcomes are aligned with the College’s Program Review process.     
  3. Analysis
    1. Programs that do not meet minimum criteria will be identified for an in-depth review as the first step in the closure and consolidation process.
    2. Some programs not identified for an in-depth review may have one or more performance measure shortfalls that need to be addressed. In these situations, the program area will be responsible for determining the reasons for the shortfall(s) and developing and implementing a modification plan. The decision-making process for revitalizing and rationalizing programs must be considered within the context of a performance framework that is consistently applied. The following review criteria will apply::
      1. Essentiality of the Program to the college
      2. Program Maturity
      3. Current and potential future demand for the program among students and employers
      4. Integration with other College programs
      5. Quality of Program Inputs and Processes
      6. Quality of Program Outcomes
      7. Contribution to the essential academic focus of the College
  4. Report and Recommendations
    1. A report of the results of the in-depth review will be communicated to the Mohawk Executive Group (MEG) who will be responsible for a decision regarding the future of the College’s programs.
    2. Decision options include program modifications, program suspension, program cancellation, program consolidations or maintenance of the status quo.
    3. A recommendation for program modification, suspension or cancellation must be accompanied by an implementation plan to address the recommendation.  
  5. Implementation
    1. Programs approved for a one-year revitalization will be reviewed at the beginning of the next annual program review cycle. If it is determined that modifications have not improved program performance to an acceptable level, then a recommendation must be made by MEG regarding suspension or cancellation of the program.
    2. The suspension, cancellation or reinstatement of an academic program offered by the College requires the approval of the College Board of Governors.
  6. Procedure
    1. A detailed program closure and consolidation procedure will be developed and updated regularly to reflect the changing needs and priorities of the College.


7. Policy Revision Date

7.1 Revision Date

January 2024

7.2 Responsibility

This policy will be reviewed and updated every five years or earlier if required.


8. Attachments

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9. Links