McMaster recognized for “deep and genuine commitment to quality assurance” in IQAP program

McMaster University was praised for its “deep and genuine commitment to quality assurance” after receiving the final audit report from the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance (Quality Council) in November.

“We are grateful for the recognition,” said Acting Provost Susan Searls Giroux. “It reinforces the value of teaching and learning at McMaster and further highlights our commitment to the quality and continuous improvement of our academic programs.”

Beginning in the fall of 2018, the Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP), underwent a scheduled program review performed by the Quality Council, a third-party organization that operates independently from universities and government.

The audit is a standard practice for the Quality Council, which is responsible for assuring the quality of all degree programs in Ontario.

To prepare for the audit, thousands of pages of documentation were collected by Julianne Simpson, quality assurance specialist at the MacPherson Institute, and Christina Bryce, assistant graduate secretary at the School of Graduate Studies.

Auditors then took part in a three-day visit at McMaster to attend meetings with stakeholders responsible for administering IQAP, including: the president, provost, deans, Office of Institutional Research and Analysis, University Library, School of Graduate Studies and the MacPherson Institute. During this time auditors also met with representatives from nine randomly selected McMaster programs and examined their experiences with IQAP.

Each report generated by Quality Council provides recommendations and suggestions for universities to ensure ongoing compliance with the provincial Quality Assurance Framework. On some occasions, the auditors will also identify areas of “best practice” that set institutions apart from others in the province.

McMaster University was recognized for five areas of best practice, including:

  • centralizing the IQAP program within the MacPherson Institute;
  • providing an 18-month period for self-study preparation;
  • the formation of program-specific committees to monitor continuous improvement;
  • the involvement of students in the review process through the Student Partners Program; and
  • providing templates to programs as part of the review process.

“It’s great to hear this type of feedback from the community,” said Lori Goff, Director of the Paul R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Teaching. “IQAP is an important part of the academic process and we’re excited to continue working with the faculties to enhance our support.”

McMaster will be audited again in eight years as part of the ongoing quality assurance cycle performed by the Quality Council.

Questions about IQAP or this audit may be directed to Amy Gullage, educational developer with the MacPherson Institute  at