By McGill Reporter Staff
The McGill University Senate on Jan. 19 approved a proposal to replace reviews of academic programs with cyclical reviews of academic units, starting in the 2011-12 academic year.
Under the new policy, academic units – including departments, schools, institutes, and faculties without departments – will be reviewed about once every seven years.
McGill has an obligation to conduct program reviews, in keeping with a policy adopted by Quebec universities within the framework of the Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec (CREPUQ), to ensure quality and accountability. In recent years, this obligation was met through academic-program reviews. But the ways in which those reviews were conducted varied widely across the University and didn’t provide academic units with the opportunity to assess their objectives, priorities and achievements, Provost Anthony Masi told Senate.
Under the new policy, the quality of programs will be assessed in relation to the research and reputation of the professors who offer them, as well as the student experience. The academic-unit reviews will be similar – but not identical – to cyclical unit reviews that ended in 1999.
Among other matters, Senate was updated on an effort to develop an over-arching University policy for examinations that would replace several existing policies. The proposed new University Student Assessment Policy policy “is meant to protect students from excessive workloads and to ensure that all students are treated equitably,” according to a memorandum to Senate from Deputy Provost (Student Life & Learning) Morton Mendelson. “Students should write examinations in conditions that permit them to put forth their best effort and that minimize the possibilities of cheating.”