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Assessments Conducted under Provincial Degree Granting Acts (private institutions)

Programs Under Review

New Brunswick

Degree providers designated under the New Brunswick Degree Granting Act are required to undergo an institutional assessment in order to determine that the institution has the necessary governance, policies, planning and financing in place to deliver a quality degree program.

The Commission carries out assessments of programs submitted/designated under the New Brunswick Degree Granting Act. As per the Act, programs are required to be assessed prior to designation and again five years after designation (i.e., assessment of existing programs). In some cases, a program is designated with conditions that also require a follow-up assessment (i.e., conditional designations) and/or the university may wish to modify a designated program (i.e., modifications).

Institutional Assessment

Key steps in the institutional Assessment process are as follows:

  • The applicant prepares a self-study according to MPHEC guidelines
  • A panel of external reviewers is established from a roster of potential external reviewers. (The roster includes university Presidents, Vice-Presidents Academic, Vice-Presidents Finance, and institutional researchers.) The membership of the panel is determined on a case by case basis to take into account the specific characteristics of the institution in question.
  • The Panel Chair is appointed, and is responsible for overseeing the preparation of the report, liaising with the institution, including presenting, as required, the panel's assessment to the institution and incorporating the institution's response into the panel's report, and finally presenting the report to the Commission.
  • The Panel is asked to provide a report on which the Commission can make a recommendation to the Minister. The report is to be based on:
    • A site visit
    • The assessment of the self-study submitted by the institution, as well as any other pertinent information provided to or requested by the panel.
    • The Panel's expertise in university administration in Canada or in North America.
  • The Panel's report is forwarded to the applicant for response. The Chair of the Panel is responsible for incorporating the institution's response into the panel's final report.
  • The Academic Advisory Committee receives the final report from the expert panel, and provides comment as appropriate, prior to it being submitted to the Commission for approval.
  • The Chair of the Panel presents the report and the institution's response to the Commission.
  • The Commission formulates its advice to the Minister based on this report.
  • The Commission's advice is forwarded to the Minister where it remains confidential until the Minister notifies the applicant of the final decision and simultaneously advises the Commission that the Minister's decision has been communicated to the applicant.

Download a copy of the Policy on Procedures and Information Requirements for Institutional Assessments of Degree Providers under the New Brunswick Degree Granting Act, including a description of the process, assessment criteria, and guidelines for the preparation of the self-study.

Prior to designation

Under the New Brunswick Degree Granting Act, institutions are required to submit proposals for new degree programs to the Province, and in turn the Commission, prior to designation (and implementation). The purpose of this external program quality assessment is to determine the suitability and the quality of the proposed program given its objectives, structure, institutional appropriateness, resources, stated students outcomes and their relevance.

Key steps of the program assessment process are as follows:

  • The applicant drafts a proposal using the MPHEC Guidelines.
  • Upon receipt, program proposals, not including appendices or proprietary information, are distributed to institutions on the MPHEC's schedule as well as MPHEC members and staff for comment.
  • The AAU-MPHEC Academic Advisory Committee oversees the assessment and selects a minimum of three consultants to comprise a panel that will assess the proposed program.
  • The panel is asked to provide a joint report on which the MPHEC could make a recommendation to the Minister. Should the panel not be able to reach consensus, the Commission will accept that a dissenting report be added to the majority report.
  • The report is to be based on:
    • A site visit
    • The assessment of the program proposal submitted by the organization, as well as any other pertinent information provided to or requested by the panel.
    • The consultants' expertise in the field and knowledge of similar programs elsewhere in Canada or in North America.
  • The panel report is forwarded to the applicant for response.
  • The Committee reviews the report prepared by the panel and the applicant's response to the report and makes a recommendation based on these, as well as any other documents obtained during the assessment process.
  • The Committee then forwards its final recommendation to the MPHEC. Both the Committee's recommendation and the MPHEC's advice are forwarded to the Minister which remains confidential until the Minister notifies the applicant of the final decision and simultaneously advises the MPHEC that the Minister's decision has been communicated to the applicant.

The Policy on Assessment of Programs submitted under the New Brunswick Degree Granting Act provides a description of the process, assessment criteria, and guidelines for the preparation of proposals.

Conditional designation

Upon Ministerial decision, an institution may be required to undergo a follow-up to their program assessment as a condition to designation. The purpose of such follow-ups is to determine whether an applicant has met the conditions of approval outlined by the Minister and has responded to any questions/concerns identified during the initial assessment process. This assessment process differs from the assessment of existing programs; that process is outlined in the next section.

Key steps in the assessment of programs designated with conditions are as follows:

  • The applicant submits a status report according to the MPHEC's Information Requirements.
  • The AAU-MPHEC Academic Advisory Committee oversees the assessment and selects the consultant to carry out the review. Where possible, the Chair of the panel (or alternatively a member of that same panel) that had carried out the initial program assessment is hired as an external consultant to determine whether the program, in its first years of implementation, appears to continue to meet the standards normally associated with the degree.
  • The external consultant will submit a report summarizing his/her assessment.
  • The report is to be based on:
    • A site visit
    • Assessment of the status report, as well as any other pertinent information provided to or requested by the consultant
    • The consultant's expertise in the field and knowledge of similar programs elsewhere in Canada or in North America.
  • The consultant's report is forwarded to the applicant for response; the external consultant will be responsible for incorporating the institution's response into the final report.
  • The Academic Advisory Committee receives the final report from the consultant prior to it being submitted to the Commission for review; as appropriate the consultant will present his/her findings to the Committee and/or the Committee will formulate comment for the Commission.
  • The external consultant presents his/her report and the applicant's response to the Commission.
  • The Commission formulates its advice to the Minister where it remains confidential until the Minister notifies the applicant of the final decision and simultaneously advises the Commission that the Minister's decision has been communicated to the applicant.

The Procedures and Information Requirements for the Follow-Up on Conditional Program Designations under the New Brunswick Degree Granting Act provides a description of the process and guidelines for the preparation of the status report.

Assessment of Existing Programs

Under the New Brunswick Degree Granting Act, all designated institutions are required to submit their programs for reassessment in the fifth year following designation. The general purpose of reviewing existing programs is to monitor the quality of approved degree programs on a continuing basis.

Key steps of the assessment process for existing programs are as follows:

  • The applicant submits a self-study prepared in accordance with the MPHEC's Information Requirements.
  • The AAU-MPHEC Academic Advisory Committee oversees the assessment and selects a minimum of three consultants to comprise a panel that will assess the program.
  • The panel is asked to provide a joint report on which the MPHEC could make a recommendation to the Minister. Should the panel not be able to reach consensus, the Commission will accept that a dissenting report be added to the majority report.
  • The report is to be based on:
    • A site visit
    • Assessment of the self-study, as well as any other pertinent information provided to or requested by the panel.
    • The panel's expertise in the field and knowledge of similar programs elsewhere in Canada or in North America.
  • The panel report is forwarded to the applicant for response. Once a response is received, the panel is responsible for incorporating the applicant's response into the panel's final report.
  • The Chair of the panel presents the final report to the Academic Advisory Committee, which provides comment as appropriate, and formulates its advice to the Commission.
  • The Chair of the panel presents the report and the applicant's response to the Commission; the Chair of the Academic Advisory Committee will report on the Committee's advice.
  • The Commission formulates its advice to the Minister based on the report as well as any comment by the Academic Advisory Committee.
  • The Commission's advice is forwarded to the Minister where it remains confidential until the Minister notifies the applicant of the final decision and simultaneously advises the Commission that the Minister's decision has been communicated to the applicant.

The Policy on the Assessment of Existing Programs Established under the New Brunswick Degree Granting Actprovides a description of the process, the assessment criteria and information requirements for the preparation of self-studies.

Modifications

In cases where an institution would like to modify a designated program, the MPHEC will, upon request by the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, undertake an analysis of the proposed modification to determine the extent of the proposed changes and to provide advice, as applicable, on approval or on next steps prior to approval.

Key steps in the assessment are as follows:

  • The proposal for a modification is forwarded by the applicant to the Department, which will forward the documentation to the MPHEC for advice.
  • The AAU-MPHEC Academic Advisory Committee analyses the proposal and formulates its recommendation to the Department. [The MPHEC reserves the right to request additional information from the applicant that it deems necessary to conclude its assessment.]
  • The Department will be advised of one of the following three outcomes:
    • Outcome #1: The proposal appears to represent a relatively minor change to the program; with the information provided, the modification ought to be approved as presented.
    • Outcome #2: The proposal appears to represent a relatively moderate change to the program; with the information provided, the modification ought to be approved as presented.
    • Outcome #3: The proposal appears to represent a significant change to the program; in advance of implementation, an in-depth assessment of the modification ought to be undertaken using an established MPHEC procedure.
  • The Commission will track the types of program modifications considered, with a view to determining which modifications may not require submission in the future. 
  • Should the Committee recommend that an assessment be undertaken using an established MPHEC procedure (i.e., Outcome #3), the applicant is provided the opportunity to submit a written response to the anticipated recommendation. This would be considered by the Committee in advance of finalizing its recommendation.
  • The MPHEC CEO submits the Committee’s final recommendation to the Department on behalf of the Commission. The advice remains confidential until the Department notifies the applicant of the final decision and simultaneously advises the Commission that the Department’s decision has been communicated to the applicant.
  • The Department makes the final decision on the proposed modification, and where relevant, any required steps (including additional analyses) prior to implementation. If additional analysis using an established MPHEC procedure is required, a separate contract is developed for that purpose.

The Procedures and Information Requirements for Proposed Modifications to Programs Designated under the New Brunswick Degree Granting Act provides a description of the process and information requirements for the preparation of program proposals. 

Nova Scotia

The Government of Nova Scotia has defined its Regulations under the Nova Scotia Degree Granting Act. By request of the Minister, the Commission will carry out institutional and program assessments for applications under the NSDGA. Please contact the Commission at mphec@mphec.ca or (506) 453-2844 for further information on the MPHEC's assessment processes and information requirements.

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