On behalf of the entire University of Waterloo community, we thank you for your service. Thoughtful and constructive evaluation of our academic offerings is essential in achieving the academic mission of the University. We are grateful for your willingness to conduct a site visit and welcome your systematic, balanced and constructive feedback on the program(s).
A site visit by arm's length external experts is conducted for the review of all existing programs, as well as proposals for new programs.
The site visit is typically conducted over two days by a team of two external appraisers and an internal participant (i.e., support person) who is a faculty member at the University of Waterloo. The entire process is coordinated by the Quality Assurance (QA) Office, which reports to the Associate Vice-President, Academic (AVPA) and the Associate Vice-President, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (AVPGSPA). A one day site visit by arm's length internal reviewers is used for the review of certain non-degree programs (e.g., minors, options, UG diplomas).
In order to assess the program(s), the external reviewers will receive an electronic copy of the self-study or proposal brief prepared by the program a few weeks in advance of the site visit. Please note that these documents are confidential and should be securely destroyed/deleted following the completion of the external reviewers' duties.
External reviewers are provided with an honorarium for their work.
For more information on what will occur before, during, and after the site visit, please review the following.
Logistics of Travelling to/from the University of Waterloo
All costs associated with the visit will be reimbursed by the University of Waterloo, including mileage/flight (economy only) or bus/train/taxi ticket(s), accommodation at the Delta Hotel in uptown Waterloo, and meals.
Airways Transit is the transportation provider we use to transfer people to and from the airport.
From Toronto Pearson International Airport, Terminal 1 - Upon exiting the security doors turn right and proceed to the escalator near post E. Take the escalator down to the Ground Transportation Level. The Out of Town Van Services Desk is on your left at the bottom of the escalator (between doors R & S).
From Toronto Pearson International Airport, Terminal 3 - If you are arriving on an international flight (including from the United States), turn left when you exit the baggage claim area and proceed along the terminal corridor. If you are arriving on a domestic flight, turn right when you exit the baggage claim area and proceed along the terminal corridor. The Out of Town Van Services Desk is between doors C & D.
Airways Transit Assistance is available 24 hours at 519-886-2121.
Accommodations will be arranged on your behalf and confirmations will be shared via email prior to your arrival.
Local Transportation to UW
Transportation to and from the University of Waterloo will be arranged by the Quality Assurance (QA) Office and indicated on the site visit schedule. the Delta Hotel is a short 5 minute drive, 5 minute LRT ride or approximately 20 minute walk from the University of Waterloo campus.
Site Visit Schedule
The site visit will begin with a breakfast meeting with the Associate Vice-President, Academic (AVPA), and/or Associate Vice-President, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (AVPGSPA), as well as the Faculty Dean (or designate) or equivalent, and Department Chair/School Director and/or Program Director. The purpose of the meeting is to provide a high-level overview of the site visit process and what is exepcted of the external reviewers, and answer any questions that the site visit team may have before beginning the visit.
The schedule for the site visit will be distributed to the reviewers approximately one week before the visit. The reviewers will be scheduled to meet with a variety of individuals associated with the program(s), including but not limited to:
- Dean and/or Associate Dean(s) of the Faculty
- Principal, President, and/or Dean (for Affiliated and Federated Institutions of Waterloo)
- Chair/Director of the Department/School offering the program and/or Program Director
- Other administrators connected to the program, including Associate Chairs/Directors
- Faculty Members
- Current students
- Liaison Librarian
- Co-op Faculty Liaison (co-op programs only)
The site visit will conclude with an exit meeting with the AVPA and/or AVPGSPA, and the Director, Quality Assurance (Academic Programs). The purpose of the debrief meeting is to discuss the review team's high level impressions, main issues of concern and suggestions for improvement, and provide any off-the-record commentary that may require follow up by the AVPA or AVPGSPA. This is also an opportunity for the reviewers to ask any questions pertaining to the External Reviewers' Report.
Role of Internal Support Person
Program review teams evaluating undergraduate degree programs and/or graduate degrees or diplomas, typically consist of two external appraisers and an internal participant (i.e., support person) who is a faculty member at the University of Waterloo. A list of potential internal support persons is compiled by the AVPA/AVPGSPA and kept on file. The AVPA/AVPGSPA select reviewers based on rank, research and teaching activities, administrative experience, and awards and recognition. The internal support person is invited to participate in the two-day site visit by the Quality Assurance Office, on behalf of the AVPA or AVPGSPA.
The internal support person is selected from a Faculty other than the one hosting the program(s) under review, to ensure an arm’s length relationship to the program. The faculty member should have sufficient understanding of Waterloo administrative and academic practices to ensure that their contributions to the external reviewers’ site visit are meaningful.
The internal member plays a critical role in the program review process. In addition to assisting the external reviewers to find their way around campus, the internal member also acts as a resource for the review team on Waterloo’s organization and culture, aspects of Waterloo’s operations that may differ from the norms at other universities such as the prominent place of co-operative education, and any other aspect of the university that could be useful in contextualizing what the external reviewers read or hear, especially during the site visit. The internal support person joins the external members for all aspects of the site visit while they are on campus, including the orientation meeting at the start of the site visit on day one (which is typically a breakfast meeting with the AVPA and/or AVPGSPA, Chair/Director of the program, and Dean or designate), and the debrief meeting at the end of the site visit on day two, with the AVPA and/or AVPGSPA and the Director of Quality Assurance (Academic Programs).
The internal support persons required activities end when the site visit is complete. The internal member is not responsible nor expected to participate in writing the external reviewers’ report, although they may offer to be available by email or phone should questions arise during the writing of the external reviewers’ report.
Previous reviewers report that their participation in the process was rewarding and that they gained a broader and meaningful perspective of the various offerings and activities on campus. In gratitude of the time commitment demanded and to recognize the service contribution, a letter from the AVPA and/or AVPGSPA is provided to each internal support person.
The External Reviewers' Report is due within two weeks of the end of the site visit. It should be completed using the following templates (also provided over email):
The report will be relatively short and the majority of the report can be completed before the visit and then supplemented with information gained through discussions during the visit. The QA Office will try to build some time into the site visit schedule for the reviewers to discuss the report as well. Evenings are also free to work on the report.
The completed External Reviewers' Report is confidential and should be submitted to the Quality Assurance (QA) Office. When received, the report will be reviewed by the QA Office, and then the AVPA and/or AVPGSPA. Finally, the report will be distributed to the Vice-President Academic and Provost, Faculty Dean (or equivalent), relevant Associate Dean(s) and the program Chair/Director. The Chair/Director then prepare a Program Response to the external reviewers' recommendations and outline a plan for implementation. The Dean will also provide a separate response to these recommendations based on the Program Response.
Honoraria for this evaluation will be processed upon receipt of the External Reviewers' Report.
Internal Reviewers for the Review of Minors, Options and UG Diplomas
Undergraduate minors, options and diplomas are not required to be reviewed by the Quality Council; however, the University of Waterloo chooses to review these offerings to ensure the quality of the university’s academic programming. These reviews are undertaken by two internal appraisers (i.e., internal reviewers) who are faculty members at the University of Waterloo. The AVPA selects one member from a list of suggested reviewers provided by the program who are familiar with the offering, but are not directly involved in it, and a second faculty member from a different Faculty who has no association to the offering under review. A list of potential internal reviewers is compiled by the AVPA and kept on file. The AVPA selects reviewers based on rank, research and teaching activities, administrative experience, awards and recognition. The internal reviewers are invited to participate in the one-day site visit by the Quality Assurance Office, on behalf of the AVPA.
The internal reviewers essentially serve the same purpose as the external appraisers, although they are not external to the university. Reviewers engage in a day-long itinerary that involves meeting with faculty, students, administrators and staff, and tour spaces associated with the offering. The day often starts with an orientation meeting, which is typically a breakfast meeting with the AVPA, Chair/Director of the program, and Dean (or designate), and ends with a debrief meeting with the AVPA and Director of Quality Assurance (Academic Programs).
Reviewers are asked to appraise the academic program and prepare a reviewers’ report, using the same report template used by external reviewers who evaluate undergraduate degree programs and/or graduate degrees or diplomas. The report is due two weeks following the one-day visit.
An honorarium is paid to the internal reviewers in recognition of the time commitment involved in the preparation of the reviewers’ report. Previous reviewers also report that their participation in the process was rewarding and that they gained a broader and meaningful perspective of the various offerings and activities on campus.
For assistance with travel, accommodations, itinerary, honourarium and reimbursements, please contact: