Program Renewal at Red River College is one of eight phases in the life cycle of an academic program. With a view to fostering continuous improvement and quality assurance, Program Renewal is comprised of several key components that result in a plan to enhance or improve an existing program.
The process gathers information through consultation with Industry practitioners, other similar programs, the program Dean, Chair, Academic Coordinator and Faculty to create a renewal plan to improve multiple dimensions of the program.
Comprised of interrelated collaborative activities, Program Renewal results in building staff capacity and a renewal plan that enables the Chair to manage change in the program.
Following a request for assistance from a Program Chair, a comprehensive needs analysis process is conducted by Program and Curriculum Development Curriculum Consultant(s) who may facilitate all or some of the ensuing major deliverables as deemed essential to continued program and student success.
- Environmental Scan: The purpose of the environmental scan is to gather national and local information on similar programs, along with challenges and trends influencing their development and direction. The scan analysis provides a summary of the scan’s components such as number of faculty and students, credentials, curriculum model, course content, assessment methods, current challenges, and articulations and partnerships.
- Focus Groups: These are conducted with current students and graduates of the program, as well as early leavers, to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for enhancement or improvement in program outcomes, curriculum, and delivery. Interviews with faculty and other stakeholders may be conducted as appropriate.
- Occupational Analysis: An Occupational Analysis provides the forum for industry practitioners to identify retiring and emerging trends, and the competencies and skills deemed necessary for successful performance in the occupation. Accreditation standards, apprenticeship standards or competencies and skills identified in National Occupational Classification Codes from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSCD), inform this process where applicable. Representatives from industry work under the guidance of a qualified facilitation team to identify skills, attitudes, and abilities required for the target occupation. Industry then identifies the level of competence a graduate is expected to perform each skill to be successful in the occupation.
- Graduate Skills and Abilities/Gap Analysis: The results obtained from the Occupational Analysis are reviewed and discussed in a meeting with Faculty and Chair in preparation for this workshop. The purpose of the Graduate Skills and Abilities and Gap Analysis process is to determine what would constitute realistic learning expectations for all graduates within the renewed program and the level of competence that the graduate should have for an entry-level position. Faculty also indicate in which course each skill and competency is taught and assessed as well as the level of competency, to identify gaps or overlaps in the curriculum.
- Graduate Profile (Program Outcomes): This is a set of outcome statements describing the essential skills, attitudes, and abilities expected of a program graduate. The graduate profile is developed from industry and faculty input, and serves as the focus for future curriculum renewal.
- Integration of College-Wide Learning Outcomes (CWLO): This generally involves a series of meetings with faculty in which Red River College’s CWLOs (2014) are mapped to program outcomes (Graduate Profile) and related assessments at competency levels appropriate to the discipline to facilitate effective teaching and learning. Articulating outcomes in this manner facilitates curriculum planning and development by minimizing overlap, duplication, and avoiding gaps.
- Course-Level Learning Outcomes: Based on the results of the Occupational Analysis and reflecting the Graduate Profile, this stage involves a series of sequential workshops with faculty to write course level learning outcomes, organize them into courses, sequence courses appropriately, and write course descriptions.
- Vision and Goals: In preparation for this workshop, Faculty and Chair meet to review the results obtained from the preceding deliverables. Depending on the needs identified, additional inputs such as Advisory Committee Meeting minutes may also be reviewed. Through a facilitated discussion with the faculty and Chair about the future of the program, this visioning session is the culminating workshop that identifies goals and actions to revise and renew the program. Goals typically focus on program components such as curriculum, marketing, partnerships, student success, and faculty development.
- Program Renewal Plan: This five-year implementation plan articulates the actions, sequence, and timelines required to attain the program renewal goals. As the program renewal plan is the responsibility of the Chair, he/she determines the strategy for consultation with faculty, RRC support departments, and external stakeholders for the development and implementation of this renewal plan.
- Final Report: This report outlines the Program Renewal process, presents the deliverables and outcomes, and provides the details on the Program Renewal plan. The final report is prepared for the Chair and Dean to share with faculty, college leaders, and industry.