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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
April 18, 2014
Canadian Excellence

Major Modifications to Existing Programs

Template for Major Modifications

As outlined in Policy 2.2, Major Modifications to existing programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level fall into one of two categories: Program Changes, which do not require approval of the Quality Council, and Expedited Reviews, which do require submission to the Quality Council for review and approval.

Program Changes to an existing program include the following three types of major modifications:
1. Requirements that differ significantly from those existing at the time of the previous cyclical program review, such as:
• The merger of two or more programs
• deletion of programs (covered in article 23 of the WLU-WLUFA collective agreement)• New bridging options for college diploma graduates
• Significant change in the laboratory component of an undergraduate program
• The introduction or deletion of an undergraduate thesis or capstone project
• 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
• Any change to the requirements for graduate program comprehensive or other examination requirements, field studies or residence requirements
• Major changes to courses comprising a significant proportion of the program (may be defined in quantitative terms; typically, institutions have chosen one-third)
• Addition of a new minor or option to a program
• major hanges to an existing minor or option

2. Significant changes to the learning outcomes, such as:
• changes to program content, other than those listed above, that affect the learning outcomes, but do not meet the threshold for a new program

3. Significant changes to the faculty engaged in delivering the program and/or to the essential resources as may occur, for example, when there have been changes to the existing mode(s) of delivery (e.g. different campus, online delivery, inter-institutional collaboration), such as:
• Changes to the faculty delivering the program: e.g. 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

Expedited Reviews include:
• A proposal for a new field in a graduate program. (Note: the university is not required to declare fields in either master’s or doctoral programs.)
• A proposal for a new collaborative or joint program;
• Proposals for new for-credit graduate diplomas;
• If the university requests it, approval of any of the program changes listed above (for the process, see steps 5 and 6 below).

For all three types of Major Modifications, the steps in the review process are as follows:

1) Proposals for major modifications of any type must be prepared by a program or academic unit’s curriculum committee or like body after consultation with other relevant communities using the provided template. These communities may include academic departments or programs within the university, as well as stakeholders in the broader community such as partners in joint programs.

2) When appropriate, the proposal will be reviewed and approved by the department or equivalent curriculum committee. Proposals may need approval by department or equivalent councils prior to being forwarded to divisional curriculum committees.

3) Proposals will be reviewed by the divisional curriculum committee, and then approved by the Faculty, school, federated college, or campus divisional council. Changes to graduate programs must also be reviewed and approved by Graduate Faculty Council.

4) Proposals will then be submitted to the Senate Academic Planning Committee by the responsible Faculty for review and approval. Proposals for changes to graduate programs will be presented by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies regardless of the program’s home.

5) The vice-president: academic, on the recommendation of the Senate Academic Planning Committee, will determine which curriculum changes are major modifications and, of those major modifications, which ones should be submitted to the Quality Council for expedited review. When expedited review is deemed necessary, the department or equivalent will prepare a proposal brief which addresses the relevant evaluation criteria as outlined in Policy 2.2, section II(C).

6) Approved proposals for major modifications, along with the vice-president: academic’s recommendation on expedited review, will be brought forward to Senate and presented by the Faculty responsible.

7) Major modifications are reported annually to the Quality Council by the Quality Assurance Office.

8) Major modifications are included in the Program Development Report, filed annually with the MTCU by the Quality Assurance Office.