Quality assurance of university academic programs has been adopted around the world and is widely recognized as a vital component of every viable educational system. Every publicly assisted Ontario university that grants degrees and diplomas is responsible for ensuring the quality of all of its programs of study, including modes of delivering programs and academic and student services affecting the quality of the respective programs under review, whether or not the program is eligible for government funding.
In the spirit of continuous improvement, Senate recently approved Carleton’s updated Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP). The IQAP is an implementation of the Quality Assurance Framework that was developed by the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents. Carleton follows the Quality Assurance Framework and its own IQAP to provide innovation and improvement of its programs while cultivating a culture of transparency, accountability and continued quality enhancements for student success.
Teaching and Learning Services Initiatives
In collaboration with the Faculties, Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) is supporting student success through the following initiatives.
- Supported by TLS, the Student Success in the Classroom working group will develop recommendations and guidelines as part of a long-term plan to support student engagement and will work closely with academic staff to pilot and evaluate a number of interventions.
- With the goal of improving student engagement and retention, TLS is transforming strategic courses in each Faculty. Last year, 10 courses adopted a blended teaching approach and the instructors formed a Community of Practice around blended teaching. Improvements are also being incorporated into seven additional first-year courses, including chemistry and engineering, which will impact thousands of first-year STEM students. In collaboration with Carleton’s Centre for Student Academic Support, an online learning skills module has been developed, which can be embedded in any course to help students develop skills related to participating in an online course for the first time.
- TLS supports the University’s Indigenous initiatives by supporting the development of curricular resources, including the Collaborative Indigenous Learning Bundles. There are currently six Bundles available and an additional nine that will be released next year. Produced and delivered by Indigenous experts, this award-winning collaboration provides an avenue to integrate Indigenous ways of knowing into all Carleton courses.
- A substantial classroom renewal project is underway with Facilities Management and Planning. Over 20 classrooms are being updated, 10 of which will include active learning elements. A student-centred learning space, similar to the Discovery Centre, will be developed in the Herb Grey Lounge (Loeb Building) space.
Dedicated Career Curriculum Support
In collaboration with the Faculties and the Office of the Vice-President (Students and Enrolment), a pilot project was implemented to provide course instructors with dedicated career curriculum support. Career Services hired a Career Curriculum Specialist to collaborate with faculty in the Faculty of Public Affairs to incorporate employability skills into academic curriculum. The role was then further leveraged to work closely with course instructors across all Faculties.
The Career Curriculum Specialist works with students to identify employability skills gained through projects and assignments offered in their courses. The role also works with course instructors to support them in helping students identify transferable skills through course content and implementing career development through experiential learning activities. Next year, this support will be expanded to explore how career-readiness competencies can be incorporated into course learning objectives.
Professional Development for Graduate Students
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs (FGPA) continued to expand its range of professional development opportunities and resources:
- A series of alumni interviews discussing career advice for graduate students was introduced on the Professional Development website.
- In partnership with Writing Services, FGPA expanded its graduate student writing support. In addition to leading writing support workshops and retreats, a dedicated Writing Support Teaching Assistant offered one-on-one sessions with students working on theses or dissertations.
- Several new workshops were added to Grad Navigate, an online hub of graduate-specific workshops offered across campus. Workshops are available to graduate students in the areas of career planning, professional and teaching skills, research and writing, and wellness.