It’s like an exam for universities.
Since 2015, every public post-secondary institution in British Columbia must participate in a Quality Assurance Process Audit (QAPA) once every eight years. A QAPA is an external review by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training that’s designed to ensure public post-secondary institutions follow rigorous and ongoing quality assessments of their programs.
In pre-COVID times, this review would be conducted by third-party assessors who would visit UFV campuses and then interview faculty and administrators face-to-face before producing a report on the university’s quality assurance processes. But the pandemic raised the question of how to do this when face-to-face meetings and campus visits could not happen.
Like everything else, the process went online.
UFV is the first university in the province to undergo a QAPA virtually, and the only school in BC to undergo the audit in 2020. This meant all UFV faculty interviews were conducted via video conference by the assessors, who all had experience as provosts in other Canadian universities.
“UFV was very excited to participate in this virtual review and to have our courses and quality assurances processes evaluated thoroughly — despite the pandemic,” said Dr. James Mandigo, Provost and Vice-President Academic. “UFV wanted to respect the process and our external assessors, but at the same time, we wanted to move forward with this important examination of UFV’s procedures and standards. Being the first in BC to complete this virtually was intense, but also very rewarding and we’re grateful for everyone who persevered and adapted to make this work. We are also grateful to the thoughtful effort and consideration the assessors put into UFV’s virtual audit and their resulting report.”
The process is lengthy and rigorous.
“The QAPA is a year-long process examining UFV’s quality assurance policies and procedures, and our program review and development processes in particular, against stringent standards and criteria,” notes Bruce Kirkley, Associate Director of Program Development & Quality Assurance. “The rigour that’s applied certainly remains consistent — be it a virtual or an in-person audit. The process is collegial, however, and we are hoping to benefit from the wisdom imparted to UFV from this close examination by a highly experienced panel.”
The QAPA assessors expressed high commendation for the university’s commitment to quality assurance. UFV is looking forward to reviewing the recommendations from their submitted report over the next few months. At completion, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training provides a QAPA summary that will be published on the UFV website.