Academic Program Review Policy


To ensure the content and delivery of programs are responsive, current and relevant in meeting employer, community, student and government needs.


This policy applies to all Seneca postsecondary programs for which an Ontario college credential is awarded.

Key Definitions

Formative review

A snapshot of program data in the context of comparator programs and trend information including application and enrolment numbers, student and graduate satisfaction, graduation and retention, program learning outcomes and program advisory committee activity.

Summative review

Comprehensive and in-depth reflection on program metrics, program content and delivery, academic services, as well as progress on recommended action plans.


All academic programs will be reviewed formally on a summative and formative basis, consistent with the standards set forth by the Ontario College Quality Assurance Service. Summative reviews will be conducted every seven years, or more frequently as required by regulatory bodies. Formative reviews will typically be conducted every two years.

The comprehensiveness of program reviews for certificate, diploma and degree programs may vary to align with relevant standards, such as the Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board requirements for degree programs and provincial standards for diploma programs.

Where an appropriate external accreditation or program recognition process is available, this may be used in lieu of Seneca’s program review process, provided a gap analysis is completed and any gaps are addressed.

Supporting Documentation

Related Seneca Policies

  • None

Related Materials

Appendix A: Academic Program Review Procedure

Formative Review

The chair of the program/program cluster will complete the formative review, consisting of a self-assessment, with input from coordinators and faculty as required. Program Quality will provide the chair with qualitative and quantitative data (including program-specific and institution- and system-wide indicators) on a biennial basis for analysis and reflection. Where appropriate, program clusters will be analysed together. The program will disseminate the information to stakeholders, including faculty, staff and Program Advisory Committees. The formative review may lead to program revisions; the chair will document these revisions and receive approval from the dean. The formative review may prompt an advancement of a summative review when program indicators suggest that a deeper review and analyses are required to maintain the quality of the program. All formative reviews will be approved and signed by the dean.

Digitized copies of formative reports will be kept on file by the chair and Program Quality.

Summative Review

The summative review will consist of a self-assessment supported by an internal Program Review team that includes at least one external member to the program (e.g., a faculty member from another school or faculty). The review will provide an in-depth analysis consisting of cumulative quantitative and qualitative data and informed by the formative review process. The vocational and general education outcomes at the program level will be reviewed. Additional data from stakeholders (e.g., students, faculty, employers and Program Advisory Committee) will be collected and analysed to contribute to recommendations arising from the review process.

Academic and student support services (e.g., libraries, learning centres, work-integrated learning, career services, student advising, counselling services, technological infrastructure and applied research) are included in each summative review.

The Program Review team will receive an orientation and/or training in the program review process by Program Quality. The Program Review team is responsible for preparing a final report of the findings, including recommendations, in collaboration with the program. The chair, in consultation with faculty and staff, will provide recommendations to the dean; the chair will present the final recommendations for approval and resource allocation to the Vice President, Academic. The chair will disseminate the final report with approved recommendations and implementation plan to stakeholders. Digitized copies of the report will be kept on file by the chair and Program Quality.

The chair is responsible for providing regular reports on the progress of the implementation of the approved program review action plan to the dean; Vice President, Academic; and Academic Quality, as well as relevant stakeholders.

The Dean of Academic Quality will present regular reports of program review activities to Academic Planning and Student Affairs, a committee of the Board of Governors.

External Program Evaluation Committee

For degree programs, the program review process will include a report from an External Program Evaluation Committee (EPEC). The EPEC will consist of senior academic peers, both scholars and administrators, with relevant expertise external and internal to Seneca. The Seneca member will be from outside of the program under review, with no conflict of interest. The EPEC review will include a site visit and a program quality report addressed to the Vice President, Academic.