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Institutional change through departmental quality assurance self-studies

Klodiana Kolomitro (Office of the Provost, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada)
Jenna Inglese (Office of the Provost, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada)
Denise Stockley (Office of the Provost, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada)
Jill Scott (Office of the Provost, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)
Madison Wright (Office of the Provost, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada)

Quality Assurance in Education

ISSN: 0968-4883

Article publication date: 20 December 2022




In 2010, the Ontario Universities Quality Assurance Council was established and became responsible for monitoring the quality of university programs, and each university was tasked with establishing institutional quality assurance purposes. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the quality assurance process at facilitating change at one Canadian institution.


To better understand the impacts of quality assurance, the authors analyzed 39 self-study documents, which were completed for all academic programs at Queen’s University. Focus groups were also conducted with key stakeholders to gain more insights into the institutional change that resulted from completing these self-studies.


After the analysis of the self-studies and focus groups, three themes emerged as impacts of completing self-studies: teaching and learning, identity and collaboration and resource allocation and strategic planning. This study demonstrates that self-studies completed by departments have value beyond simply meeting the provincial mandate, as they are effective in catalyzing positive institutional change.

Research limitations/implications

The self-study documents were created for the purpose of institutional quality assurance process, not this research study, therefore limiting the data that could be collected.

Practical implications

Four considerations are provided at the end of this study to spark conversations at other institutions when reviewing and assessing the impact of their quality assurance processes.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first time self-studies have been analyzed to evaluate the quality assurance process.



Kolomitro, K., Inglese, J., Stockley, D., Scott, J. and Wright, M. (2022), "Institutional change through departmental quality assurance self-studies", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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