External Reviews are a key part of the University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process (UTQAP). Academic units are reviewed once every seven or eight years, while the governance process for new programs also includes an external appraisal component.
The review process allows units a chance to reflect on their academic, administrative, and strategic performance and to receive valuable insight from experts concerning academic and administrative issues; assess their performance against leading international programs; identify areas where they can improve; secure guidance on key strategic directions; and celebrate successes.
Key Review Components
The central event of an external review is a site visit, where three experts in the field from other leading institutions visit UTSC for two days, meeting with different department affiliates (from faculty to librarians to students). Prior to that site visit, the reviewers are provided with an extensive self-study written by the department. After the site visit, the reviewers will write an appraisal report, which is shared with the Dean’s Office and the department.
Planning an External Review
Roughly one year prior to the review the Vice-Dean Teaching and Learning Undergraduate Programs will send official notice to the academic unit informing them that they will be reviewed in the following year.
The department chair then has initial responsibilities for assembling review materials as follows:
Begin work on the self-study, drawing on the template provided by the Dean’s Office.
Begin collaborating with faculty in the department to identify a list of about 15-20 possible reviewers who meet guidelines shared by the Academic Programs Officer (APO).
The APO and the Programs & Curriculum team work with the department to help identify and secure suitable reviewers. Potential reviewers are evaluated and approved by the Vice-Provost, Academic & Programs, then contacted and secured by the P&C team.
The P&C team will collaborate with the department’s administrative staff to schedule the site visit portion of the review. Once suitable dates have been set, specific times will be booked for the following meetings between the reviewers and the department members during the site visit:
After the conclusion of the site visit, the review team will write and submit a review report, which will be shared with the department. The department will work together to write a response to the review, which is shared back with the Dean’s Office.
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