Timely implementation of curriculum change supports Niagara College’s commitment to continuous improvement, quality delivery, and response to assessment. Below is the process with step-by-step instruction on how to complete program and course changes.
Program modifications are changes to courses, curriculum and Program of Instruction (POI) design that affect the overall program requirements. Program level modifications include:
- Course level changes to course design, mode of delivery, language of delivery, course learning outcomes, teaching and assessment methods affecting in excess of 25% of the overall program
- Program standards or program descriptions
- Vocational learning outcomes
- Program admission requirements
- Sequencing of courses within various levels of a POI
- Replacing courses within a POI
- program continuation, progression, bridging or graduation requirements
- significant changes in program delivery (i.e. on-line; common core, co-op; practica; internship; enterprise learning, compressed offering, required spring/summer or capstone experience)
- program name
- program duration
- total contact hours
- new program intake term
- pre-, co-requisite updates to individual courses
- campus change
- required course credit weight
- creation of a joint program offering with another post-secondary institution
- program suspension, or cancellation
- general education exceptions
Identifying the Need for Program Modification
The identification of the need for modifications to programs results from cyclical and ongoing program quality assurance efforts and recommendations may stem originally from a range of individuals or groups, including Professors and Instructors, Academic Business Managers, Associate Deans, Deans, Students, the Program Advisory Committee (PAC), Support Staff, alumni, external accrediting bodies associated with the program, or the government and its ministries or agencies. With this in mind, it is strongly recommended that the catalyst for the proposed change stems from one of the following:
- Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) Program Standard Update
- Recommendations made as a result of cyclical program review
- Recommendations made through the PAC
- Recommendations made through external accrediting bodies associated with the program
- Recommendations made through curriculum committee meetings
- Recommendations made through the Student Feedback on Courses process
Evidence of the reason for the change must be provided as part of the program modification application.
The approval of, and accountability for decisions on proposed program modifications ultimately rests with the Academic Affairs and Strategic Enrollment committee (AASEC). Before being added to the AASEC agenda, the proposed change must be presented to the Program Change and Development (PCD) Working Group. The PCD will make a recommendation to the AASEC.
There are two processes for presenting a proposed change to the PCD:
A) Mature draft of proposed program modification – Under this process, the program has a clearly defined, mature proposal for a program modification. Consultation with the various stakeholders has taken place, the change has been entered into Academic Logistics, (but not submitted) and all known aspects of the change have been considered. This process is triggered by the responsible Academic Administrator, most typically the Associate Dean (AD), who initiates the following six steps:
- Enter (not submit) the change into Academic Logistics
- Update all relevant curriculum maps
- Complete the program modification consultation report
- Complete the program modification application
Steps 1-4 can be completed in any order.
- Schedule a discussion with the Academic Logistics Officer (ALO). The ALO will confirm that from a data entry perspective the change is ready to be presented at PCD.
- After ALO confirmation, contact the PCD secretary to be added to the agenda.
Steps 5-6 must be completed last.
To be included on the agenda, the Dean or Associate Dean must send a complete major program modification package to the PCD secretary a minimum of six (6) business days prior to meeting. Failure to meet this deadline will result in the proposal not being added to the next available agenda. The Program Modification Package includes:
- Program modification application
- Program modification consultation report
- Completed POI with changes entered into Academic Logistics
- Updated curriculum mapping documents
- Any other relevant documentation needed to consider the proposed change
The responsible Dean or AD must present, in person, the proposed change to the PCD working group. After presentation and questions, the PCD will make one of the following recommendations to the AASEC:
- Recommended: no revisions are required to the proposal. The change as presented has full the support of the PCD working group.
- Partially recommended: revisions to the proposal are required. If the recommended revisions are completed the change has the full support of the PCD working group.
- Not recommended: significant amendments to the proposal are required. As presented, the proposal does not have the support of the PCD. The program will need to present to the PCD again before a recommendation will be made.
If a decision of (1) recommended or (2) partially recommended is made, the Dean is responsible for contacting the AASEC secretary to be added to the next AASEC agenda. If a decision of (3) not recommended is made, the Academic Administrator must make the necessary amendments and present again to the PCD. Through PCD notes, the Associate Vice President, Academic and Learner Services will ensure that the PCD recommendation is communicated to the AASEC.
The second process for presenting at PCD is:
B) Program change in early stages of development: Under this process, the Academic Administrator has an idea for a modification, but before moving to Process A – Mature Draft, would like to receive feedback and insight from the PCD working group. Less formal than the Process A – Mature Draft, this process is an opportunity to discuss ideas and learn from past program modifications. While no documentation is required to present under this process, Deans and Associate Deans are encouraged to bring documentation that will help the PCD understand the proposed idea. In order to be added to the agenda the Dean or Associate Dean must contact the PCD secretary a minimum of six (6) business days prior to the next scheduled meeting. No recommendation is made by the PCD under this process and if programs decide to advance the proposed change they must come back to the PCD and follow the process outlined under Process A – Mature Draft.
Program Modification Deadlines
There are two deadlines associated with program modifications.
For modifications to be implemented in the fall semester:
|16 months prior to implementation date (last AASEC Meeting in May)||Meeting this deadline will allow modifications to be reflected in the Program Guide for the next recruitment cycle.|
|10 months prior to implementation date (last December AASEC meeting)||FINAL Deadline – Meeting this deadline will allow modifications to be reflected in the new budget cycle.|
* Approvals for program modifications that miss these deadlines can be approved for a later effective date, or sent to the Associate Vice President, Academic and Learner Services for expedited approval.
Course Level Changes
Course Level changes are modifications to courses and curriculum design that do not affect the overall program requirements, such as changes to:
- course titles
- course descriptions
- modifications to existing elective groups lists that do not affect the overall hours for a POI
- course design, mode of delivery, language of delivery, course learning outcomes and objectives, teaching and assessment methods for a single course
- essential employability skills
- required teaching and learning resources
- PLAR approval standards
To begin the process of enacting a course level change to an existing program, the Academic Administrator must first ensure that the desired modification is being enacted by the deadline for approving course level modifications. Approvals for course level modifications that miss the deadline for approval by the Associate Dean can be approved for a later effective date, or sent to the Associate Vice President, Academic and Learner Services for expedited approval.
The Academic Administrator initiates the approval process by indicating the nature of the change, and entering a brief rationale for the desired change in a table in the Change Summary section of Academic Logistics. The submission of data entered into the table in the Change Summary section of Academic Logistics will result in the automatic notification of the Academic Logistics Officer (ALO). The ALO will review the submission to ensure that the submission is accurate and will communicate approved modifications to all affected academic and non-academic units.
Course Level Change Deadlines
|Type of Change||Term Change will be Effective (Offering Term)|
|delivery and evaluation||May before semester start||October before semester start||February before semester start|
|description, outcomes, objectives, resources, titles||August before semester start||December before semester start||April before semester start|