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The Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU) and Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission (MPHEC) Quality Assurance Committee

Terms of Reference 

Purpose

  1. In accordance with the MPHEC Act, jointly adopted by the three Maritime provinces, the Quality Assurance (QA) Committee is established to advise and assist the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission (herein after "MPHEC" or "Commission") in undertaking measures intended to ensure the continuous improvement in the quality of academic programs and of teaching at post-secondary institutions within the MPHEC's scope.

  2. In carrying out its duties, the QA Committee will give first consideration to improving and maintaining the best possible service to students as lifelong learners.

Objectives

  1. The QA Committee aims to assist the Commission in enhancing the post-secondary learning environment in the Maritimes by:
    1. Providing assurances that programs developed by universities within the MPHEC’s scope meet agreed-upon quality criteria.
    2. Confirming that universities within the MPHEC’s scope have appropriate policies and practices to ensure the ongoing quality of their programs.

Functions

  1. To that end, the QA Committee shall, in accordance with the Commission’s policy on quality assurance:
    1. Assess new or modified university programs within the parameters established by the Commission.
    2. Assess, as required, institutional compliance with conditions attached to approved programs.
    3. Monitor the implementation and the outcomes of universities’ quality assessment policies and procedures within the parameters established by the Commission.
    4. Advise the Commission on the appropriate evolution of its policy on quality assurance and related mechanisms.
    5. Advise the Commission on issues to be researched as they relate to quality assurance, and oversee projects deemed necessary and appropriate, by the Committee and/or the Commission.
    6. Advise the Commission on other matters relating to quality assurance, as required.

Membership

  1. The QA Committee is composed of a maximum of nine members, including the Chair.

  2. Profile of Members:
    1. Members have expertise in quality assurance in post-secondary education (e.g., program development, program assessment, unit reviews).
    2. In addition:
      1. At least three members are current senior academic administrators at a Maritime university.
      2. At least two members are students (who may not meet criterion A).
      3. Ideally, at least two members are also Commission members.
      4. Ideally, at least one member is not currently in the employ of a Maritime university or a Maritime provincial ministry responsible for higher education.
      5. Some members must have the capacity to work in both English and French.
      6. Geographic distribution and equity considerations are kept in mind during appointment processes.
  3. Three members are appointed by the Commission who meet criterion 6A above.

  4. Three members are appointed by the Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU) who meet criterion 6A above.

  5. Two student members (who are not required to meet criterion 6A above) are appointed jointly by the Commission and the AAU.

  6. The Commission may appoint a ninth member to allow the QA Committee to more closely meet the profile outlined in paragraph 6.

  7. Members are appointed for a three-year term.

  8. The terms should overlap to ensure continuity.

Committee Chair

  1. The Chair of the QA Committee is a Commission member appointed to the Committee.

Quorum

  1. A simple majority of the entire QA Committee membership represents quorum.

Governance and Operating Framework

  1. Members sign an Oath of Office declaring that they have read and understand the Commission’s Governance and Operating Framework document, including Member’s Code of Conduct, the Policy on Confidentiality (including the Standards for Maintaining Confidentiality) and the Policy on Conflict of Interest. Generally, the same principles, policies and practices that apply to the Commission as a Board apply to the workings of its Committees.

  2. Committee members and Chairs may not speak or act for the Commission, except when formally given such authority for specific and time-limited purposes. Such authority will be carefully stated in order not to conflict with the authority delegated to the Chair of the Commission and the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission.

  3. Committees are instruments of the Commission.  A Committee’s work products are the property of the Commission.

  4. Staff’s primary accountability is, through the Chief Executive Officer, to the Commission as a whole, as represented by the Board, even when assigned the role of Committee resource.

  5. Committee members and Chairs cannot exercise authority over staff, and normally have no direct dealings with staff operations. Extraordinary requests for resources made by a Committee must be approved by the Commission.

  6. The Committee has the authority to engage outside consultants as required to assist in its functions.

  7. The Terms of Reference for the Committee are reviewed at regular intervals.

Link to Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU)

  1. The AAU representatives to this Committee shall report to the AAU Secretariat any issues/opportunities that require the action/involvement of the member institutions.

  2. Minutes of meetings shall be forwarded to the AAU in a timely fashion.

Members

Appointments in progress

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