All new degree programs must go through a series of internal and external review and approval processes before the new program can be implemented and marketed to potential students. The time for obtaining approval for a new program can vary depending on various factors - see new program approval timelines.
Details about the University of Windsor Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP) are outlined in the University of Windsor IQAP guide available from the Senate web-site. Below is a summary of the approval process:
New programs are developed within or among units, in consultation with the Academic Administrative Unit (AAU) Head or designate, the program faculty (and/or the Curriculum Committee) and the Faculty Dean. AAUs that are considering proposing new programs should contact the Office of Quality Assurance for guidance about the process.
1. The proposal brief (PDC Form A)
The proposal brief is prepared through consultation with members of the University community directly involved in the new initiative, including faculty, staff and students, the Faculty Dean, as well as those managing resources key to its implementation. The Windsor document for new program proposals is the PDC Form A "Proposal Brief for new programs" - this form as well as the full Windsor IQAP guide and an IQAP approval flow-chart can be found on the Senate web-site.
2. Faculty CVs
The CVs of all faculty members in the AAU submitting the proposal must be appended to Form A, as well as the CVs of other faculty members who will be involved in the new program. The CVs must be prepared in a specific format - for details see "Faculty CVs - resume template (new programs)" and "Faculty CVs - mapping document (new programs)" in templates and resources.
3. CVs of reviewer candidates
Under the new Quality Assurance process, proposals for new graduate degrees must undergo external review before formal approval at the departmental and faculty council levels.
Once the proposed program has received initial support, the Department Head, in consultation with the AAU council, forwards a list of 6 to 8 reviewer candidates along with their resumes to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Quality Assurance who selects 2 reviewers for the proposed program. There are arms-length and expertise requirements for reviewer nominees. A sample letter is also available and can be used to approach potential reviewer nominees. For details refer to the "External reviewers - resume template (new programs)"in templates and resources.
The Office of Quality Assurance will review the proposal brief and faculty CVs and work with the AAU to finalize these documents before proceeding to schedule the site-visit. Note that the reviewers need to receive a copy of the proposal brief and faculty CVs at least 6 weeks in advance of the site-visit.
Two of the nominated external reviewers are selected by the Dean of Graduate Studies and Quality Assurance who issues a formal invitation and provides a copy of the finalized proposal brief (PDC Form A) and the faculty CVs, as well as a template for the reviewers' report and any other supporting documentation. The reviewers conduct a site visit (see note below) and submit a joint report within 6 weeks after the site visit, focusing on specific program quality criteria, and identifying recommendations, if applicable.
Note that a site visit is required for all graduate program proposals. Undergraduate program proposals are normally conducted on site, but the Quality Assurance Framework allows for undergraduate program proposal review to be conducted by desk audit or video conference if the external reviewer is satisfied that the off-site option is sufficient.
Both the AAU submitting the proposal and the relevant Faculty Dean or designate will respond to the Reviewer’s Report and recommendations. The proposal can be revised before going forward for institutional approval, based on these recommendations.
Note that a confirmation is also required of consultation made with other Departments or areas that will be affected by the proposed program, as well as an endorsement by the Faculty Dean that s/he supports the proposal and is committed to seek to provide the necessary resources (per section #5 on page 2 of the proposal Brief/PDC Form A).
Review of all documentation created for the proposal to determine whether the proposal meets the quality assurance standards: the institutional approval includes approval by the AAU council, faculty coordinating council, Graduate Faculty Council (for graduate programs), the Provost, PDC and finally, Senate.