A major modification indicates a significant change to an existing program such as a change in the learning outcomes (UDLES or GDLES); a change in requirements that differ significantly from the way the program is offered since its last cyclical program review (e.g., introduction of co-op option, merger of two or more programs); or significant changes to the faculty delivering the program (e.g., large number of new hires or retirements) and/or essential resources to the program (e.g., change to existing delivery by moving a program fully online or to a different campus). Source: http://oucqa.ca/guide/5-major-modifications-to-existing-programs/
Distinguishing between a new program and a major modification can be challenging; however, the Quality Council has provided examples to help define what constitutes a “new program” versus a “major modification”: http://oucqa.ca/guide/examples-of-new-programs/#
Major modifications to existing programs require normal internal approval (from Department/School, Faculty, Senate Graduate and Research Council, and Senate). Minor modifications follow the same process, with the exception that Senate Graduate and Research Council are empowered to approve these changes on behalf of Senate, as per Senate Bylaw 2.
The following examples of major modifications are provided in the Quality Council’s Quality Assurance Guide:
a) Requirements that differ significantly from those existing at the time of the previous cyclical program review
- The merger of two or more programs
- The introduction or deletion of a work experience, co-op option, internship or practicum, or portfolio
- At the master’s level, the introduction or deletion of a research project, research essay or thesis, course-only, co-op, internship or practicum option
- The creation, deletion or re-naming of a field in a graduate program
- Any change to the requirements for graduate program candidacy examinations, field studies or residence requirements
- Major changes to courses comprising a significant proportion of the program, where significant is defined as more than one-third of the courses
b) Significant changes to the learning outcomes
Changes to program content, other than those listed in “a” above, that affect the learning outcomes, but do not meet the threshold for a “new program”
c) Significant changes to the faculty engaged in delivering the program and/or to the essential resources, for example, when there have been changes to the existing mode(s) of delivery (such as different campus, online delivery and inter-institutional collaboration)
- Changes to the faculty delivering the program; for example, a large proportion of the faculty retires; new hires alter the areas of research and teaching interests
- A change in the language of program delivery
- The establishment of an existing degree program at another institution or location
- The offering of an existing program substantially online where it had previously been offered in face-to-face mode, or vice versa
- Change to full or part-time program options, or vice versa
- Changes to the essential resources, where these changes impair the delivery of the approved program
If there is uncertainty as to whether a particular change is major or minor, the AVPA will be the arbiter for undergraduate and the APGS for graduate programs, respectively. The Vice-President and Provost has the final say in this decision. The Vice-President and Provost has the right to choose to send a particular major modification to the Quality Council for an expedited review, as per section 3.3 of the Quality Assurance Framework, and if so would follow procedures similar to those for a new graduate field.
Major modifications to existing programs require normal internal approval (from Department/School, Senate Undergraduate Council, and Senate). Minor modifications follow the same process, with the exception that Senate Undergraduate Council is empowered to approve these changes on behalf of Senate, as per Senate Bylaw 9.
If an existing program is offered in a new location, this requires notification at the Department, Faculty, Senate Undergraduate Council levels.
Major modifications require reporting to the Quality Council by the Associate Vice President, Academic Programs office (AVPA), on an annual process.
The Quality Council (2010) defines a major modification as one or more of the following program changes:
- Requirements for the program that differ significantly from those existing at the time of the previous cyclical program review;
- Significant changes to the learning outcomes;
- Significant changes to the faculty engaged in delivering the program and/or the essential physical resources as may occur, for example, where there have been changes to the existing modes(s) of delivery.