Humber and Centennial Colleges are co-hosting the inaugural Student Voices in Higher Education: Quality Assurance Perspectives and Practices Symposium to enhance student involvement in program development and enhance learning outcomes.

Leading up to the Symposium, taking place on November 14 and 15 at Humber’s North Campus, guests are invited to register for the event and submit their presentation proposals. The event will provide an opportunity to engage in a national and global discussion about the means and motives for student involvement in quality assurance.

The event will feature keynote speakers, Francisco Marmolejo, Lead Tertiary Education Specialist, The World Bank and Stuart Brand, Emeritus Professor and Consultant, Birmingham City University.

“As professionals in academic quality assurance, we’re accustomed to responding to accreditors and regulators, institutional narratives and faculty perspectives,” said Kelly O’Neill, dean of program planning renewal and development, Humber College. “We’re missing the student voice, which is among the most important. The Symposium is an opportunity to generate discussion about the means and motives for student involvement in quality assurance.”

Humber and Centennial are leaders in involving students in Quality Assurance. Program reviews ensure each program at all Ontario colleges are current, relevant and responsive to the changing needs of industry and society. For degrees, these reviews also fulfil the requirements for obtaining consent for program renewal. Humber recently completed a review of its Bachelor of Commerce – Fashion Management and Bachelor of Commerce - International Business programs. The program evaluation committee included Jenna Valenti, a recent graduate of the Fashion Management program.

“Being a proud graduate, I was able to offer suggestions and provide insight on how to build on an already solid program foundation. It was insightful to hear the committee’s, the students’ and the professors’ point of view in hope to better the program for years to come,” says Valenti.

Third-year student Jem Hewitt participated in the program evaluation committee for Centennial’s Bachelor of Public Relations Management degree program consent renewal process.

“The faculty session allowed us to express the student perspective to them. What was surprising is that they heard a lot of commonalities similar to their own ideas for making the program better – such as more diversified internship options – ideas that meshed together perfectly,” says Hewitt.

By hosting the Symposium and including students in their program reviews, Humber and Centennial have created a process for other institutions to follow.

“Students are at the core of the higher education system and their experiences and insights can contribute greatly towards ensuring that institutions continue to offer quality learning experiences, says Michelle Cole, Director, Academic Quality, Centennial College. “This event offers student leaders, representatives and executives of student unions and associations the chance to join college and university administrators in engaging student involvement in program planning.”

When college degree programs are being approved or renewed, consent is granted under a strict set of standard terms and conditions prescribed by the Post-Secondary Quality Assurance Board (PEQAB).

“As the colleges’ partner in quality assuring degree programs, PEQAB appreciates Humber and Centennial’s support in adapting their quality assurance review process to include students and graduates on their external review panels,” said James Brown, Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board. “Though it’s common for students to provide input into postsecondary programs, the Symposium will explore ways to broaden student involvement in quality assurance, which is a critical dimension for continuous improvement of college and university programs and courses.”

More information about the Symposium can be found here. The Symposium will also share updates and information on their social media channels (@studentvoicesqa).