The creation of a new program requires that you consider several factors that are interlocked, like the wheels of a gear. The process is iterative - as new information becomes available in one area, other areas may require revision. Elements to consider include:
- institutional priorities
- comparable and related programs
- labour market needs and employment opportunities
- Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs) and outcome-based curriculum design
- student demand
- faculty capacity
- library collection
- resource and budget analysis
You will find information below to assist you with research into each of these areas. Familiarize yourself with these resources in preparation for the concept paper, then return to them as you develop the full program proposal.
UFV supports the development of programs that meet its institutional goals and priorities as articulated in the following:
UFV Strategic Goals
SEM Plan 2014-2019
UFV Education Plan 2016-2020
UFV is located on traditional Stó:lō territory and is committed to indigenization of the curriculum. For more information, visit the Indigenous Affairs website.
Program developers are expected to consult with people outside of UFV to ensure that the program is of high quality and will meet expectations of all stakeholders. Who is consulted depends on the nature of the program, but typically external consultation will include academics from similar programs, employers, and accrediting agencies (when relevant). For degree-level programs, the proposal is normally sent for desk review to academics in the field. Generally, consultation takes place before the internal review begins, so feedback received can be incorporated in the proposal before it is approved internally.
Consultation with internal stakeholders is also a part of gathering evidence. It is important to consult different areas within the institution to determine if there are additional considerations. For example, to ensure your program is eligible for student loan funding, contact UFV Financial Aid & Awards early in the process. A Consultation Request form is used to track this process, while a Consultation Summary form will be attached as an appendix to the full program proposal.
Comparable and related programs
Analysis of comparable and related programs serves a number of purposes, mainly to avoid unnecessary duplication at UFV, in our region, and in BC.
Consider the related programs that are already offered at UFV to avoid duplication and identify useful combinations (from a student's perspective). In some cases it might make sense to revise an under-utilized existing program than to create a new one.
Consult the Education Planner or other institutions' websites to determine where similar programs are offered in the region and in BC. Consider possible partnerships such as block transfer agreements, which will facilitate students' mobility. For example, does a short program exist elsewhere that would feed well into a degree-level program at UFV?
Finally, an examination of comparable programs will also be useful to determine what is standard for programs like the one you are considering in terms of entrance requirements, curriculum structure and content, and fees, among other key components. Your program should be innovative and forward-looking, but not too out of line with programs elsewhere to ensure students have a recognizable credential, and good employment prospects at a competitive cost.
Labour market needs and employment opportunities
You are expected to demonstrate how your program will respond to labour needs, prepare graduates for employment, and/or further education. You will find useful resources below. The PDQA also works closely with the office of Institutional Research and Planning to assist you with this important task.
The BC government has put significant effort into providing data on industry sectors, occupational categories, and connecting jobs or career paths, and education. Visit the Labour Market Navigator section on the WorkBC website.
A similar resource provided by the Alberta government is also helpful: Alberta Learning Information Service
We help with systematic searches using online aggregate job search engines. (According to a recent US-based survey, online job boards are the tools used most by Generation Z students when searching for a job.) Industry associations are also a useful resource and often have job boards.
Published reports of employer surveys and graduate outcomes surveys are also useful:
Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs) and Outcome-based curriculum design
Students graduating from each program at UFV should possess a set of core abilities and skills. You will be asked to show how your program ensures the Institutional Learning Outcomes are met. This will require that you:
- articulate program learning outcomes that are aligned with the ILOs and
- structure the program curriculum (courses and other learning activities) to deliver your program learning outcomes.
You must also align your program learning outcomes with the competencies required for employment or further education in the field. This may require that you:
- consult relevant professional associations or accrediting bodies
- inform yourself of the skills and competencies required by employers through job postings, advisory committees, employer surveys (see above), focus groups, etc.
Other UFV resources:
You will need to estimate the student demand and provide evidence that there is sustainable interest in the program. Factors to consider:
- Will your program be of interest to international students?
- Will it attract students who would otherwise enrol in a different program?
- Are similar programs at other institutions well enrolled? Are they meeting the local demand?
Ways to answer these questions include:
- consultation with UFV International
- survey of existing UFV students (the PDO can provide samples, and assist with drafting and distribution of the survey)
- consultation with other institutions
- consultation with, or survey of, high school counsellors (the PDO can assist)
You will be asked to demonstrate that there is a sufficient number of faculty with relevant expertise to deliver a high-quality program. Alternatively, a plan for hiring the required expertise will need to be put in place.
PDQA will collect the curricula vitae of faculty members teaching in the program before the proposal is submitted to the Ministry of Advanced Education.
Every new program draws on the resources of the library, and a proposal must include an analysis, done by the library faculty, of the collection in the relevant subject area(s).
To request a collection analysis, please complete a Library Consultation request form (in development), attach the draft proposal (especially learning outcomes, curriculum, and names and expertise of faculty participating in the delivery of the program) and submit to the PDQA Assistant. The Assistant will send the documents to the Liaison Librarian for your area. Allow at least 3-4 weeks for them to conduct the analysis.
A summary of the analysis will be included in the proposal, with the detailed results attached as an appendix. If the analysis reveals that the library resources are insufficient to support the program, you will need to work with the Library to determine how they can be supplemented.
Resource and budget analysis
Consider what resources will be required to sustain the program, and whether you can draw on existing resources. This includes faculty, staff, advising, new classroom or lab space, equipment, etc.
Lay out the program on a four-year schedule to see what will be needed in each year. Sometimes, the resources required should be phased in. (For instance, supervision for a capstone course will not be required until year four.)
If the new program draws from courses currently offered, recent utilization and capacity to serve additional students will be analyzed. It might be sufficient to request reserve seats for the new program, or additional sections might have to be budgeted.
A detailed budget analysis will be done by the Budgets and Financial Planning Office once the curriculum is drafted, with the assistance of PDQA and dean. See section on developing the Full Program Proposal for the form to be used.