Cyclical Program Review Guidance and Templates

Cyclical Program Review Process

Cyclical Program Reviews (CPRs) are at the heart of Queen's University Quality Assurance Processes. In their focus on continuous improvement, CPRs are essential to ensuring all academic programs both meet the university's standards for academic excellence and are well-resourced and sustainable. These reviews provide an opportunity to academic units to reassess program strengths and areas for improvement. Each program is reviewed at least once every eight years. 

Once complete, executive summaries of all cyclical reviews are posted on the Office of the Provost website. These summaries include an implementation plan which each unit receives at the end of its review. The provost, together with faculty deans, monitors units’ progress in responding to the points raised in the review.

Please click on the video below to watch an overview of the CPR process from Dr. Gavan Watson, Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning.

The image below shows the full Cyclical Program Review cycle, which is a cycle of continuous improvement for each academic program.

Overview of CPR process; is explained in more detail below.

In January or February, units and Faculties will receive a Notice of Assessment from the Provost's office, indicating which programs are to be assessed in the upcoming cycle. This is based on the Cyclical Program Review Schedule, which is designed to ensure that all program are assessed within the 8-year window. The dates in the schedule refer to the academic year in which the program will have its Site Visit. For example, if a program is due to be assessed in 2025-2026, they would receive their Notice of Assessment in January or February 2024.

The Self-Study is the mechanism by which programs communicate and document their quality assurance practices and is a key element of the Review Team’s evaluation when making their recommendations. A Review Team will use the Self-Study to determine:

  • Are the program objectives consistent with the institution's mission and academic plans as set out in the Principal's Strategic Framework?
  • Are the programs' measures adequate to ensure academic integrity, and to address equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and Indigenization? Does the program have anti-racism or other anti-oppression initiatives, and are they adequate?
  • Are the program-level learning outcomes clearly spelled out, and are they aligned with the Degree Level Expectations? Are there unique program-level learning outcomes for every program under review?
  • Do the teaching and learning activities, methods of assessment, modes of delivery, and program requirements support attainment of the program level learning outcomes?
  • Is the quality and distribution of the faculty’s expertise adequate to support the learning outcomes of the program(s)?
  • Does the program(s) foster an enriching student learning experience?
  • Does the program(s) use existing resources (physical, financial, human) appropriately and effectively?
  • Does the program have plans in place for monitoring student success?

Please click on the video below to watch an overview of the Self-Study process from Dr. Gavan Watson, Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning.

Units develop the Self-Study by completing the Self-Study Template, which can be obtained by contacting The following Guidance Documents will inform the development of the Self-Study:

CV Guidelines

Acronyms and Definitions

Guidance for the Development of Program-Level Learning Outcomes

Student Feedback and Survey Examples

Academic Integrity

I-EDIAA Guidance and Resources

Beginning with units in the 2024-25 cohort, there is a Self-Study Companion Guide available, which can be obtained by contacting

Units complete a Penultimate Draft of the Self-Study, which is sent to to be distributed to the Faculty Dean, the Dean, School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (if applicable), and the Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning. Once that feedback is collected, it is returned to the unit, who then implement it into their final version of the Self-Study. When the final version of the Self-Study is complete, it is sent again to to be distributed for signatures.  Once signed, the Self-Study is sent to the unit for their records and to the Faculty Office, who will include it as part of the Site Visit Package for the Review Team.

The purpose of the site visit is to allow the Review Team to follow up on matters raised by the Self-Study by interviewing students, staff, faculty, and others who can most appropriately provide informed comments, and to examine the physical facilities used by the program.  The site visit is conducted by two external reviewers, one internal reviewer, and if requested by the unit, additional reviewers such as professional reviewers.

The unit nominates potential reviewers using the Review Team Nominations and Ranking Template, which are then ranked by the Faculty Dean and the Dean, School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (if applicable), then approved by the Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning. To keep reviewers at arms' length, the unit is not to contact the reviewers directly; rather, all arrangements for the site visit are made by the Faculty Office.  The Faculty Office completes a Review Team Itinerary Template and sends it to

The following Guidance Documents will inform the External Review process:

Guidance for Nominating Reviewers

Guidance for Review Teams

Site Visits

Once the site visit is complete, the external reviewers will write the Review Team Report, in consultation with the internal reviewer.

When the Review Team Report is complete and has been returned to the Provost's Office, it is sent to the academic unit for their consideration and response, using the Internal Responses Template, which can be obtained by contacting  Academic units are asked to comment on the Review Team Report as a whole, to address any factual inaccuracies, and to respond to each of the Review Team Recommendations with either a plan for implementation of that Recommendation or with a reason why the unit does not endorse it. The Internal Response is then returned to so it can be sent to the Faculty Dean and the Dean, School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (if applicable) for their review and comment.

Once the Internal Responses Template is complete, it is sent, along with the Review Team Report and the Self-Study, to the Senate Cyclical Program Review Committee (SCPRC).

The Senate Cyclical Program Review Committee (SCPRC) reviews the Self-Study, the Review Team Report, and the Internal Responses. After careful consideration of all three, the committee creates the Final Assessment Report and Implementation Plan, which provide a summary and recommendations for the units to address. The Final Assessment Report and Implementation Plan is signed by the Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning, the Vice-Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, and the Faculty Dean. It is then shared with the unit and an abbreviated version is posted to the Provost's website. Previous Final Assessment Plans and Implementation Plans can be viewed on the Reports website.

Once the unit receives the Final Assessment Report and Implementation Plan, the monitoring and continuous improvement stage of Cyclical Program Review begins. The Faculty Dean oversees the unit's progress on implementing the recommendations as they work toward their next review cycle. Between the review cycles, units complete two Progress Reports, using the CPR Follow-Up Report Template, 18 months and 4 years after they receive the Final Assessment Report and Implementation Plan. Previous Progress Reports can be viewed on the Reports website.

Cyclical Program Review FAQs

Below you'll find common questions about the cyclical program review (CPR) process. If you don't see your question, please send it to:

In a typical cyclical program review cycle, the penultimate draft should be submitted to by the end of April. Internal responses to the draft will be sought from the faculty dean or associate dean and the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, where appropriate. Revisions based on the received feedback should be incorporated into a final version that should be complete by the end of August.

While the size and scope of this task will vary from unit to unit, the most effective approach to developing a self-study has been to develop a small core team responsible for authorship that coordinates outward with available resources and supports. 

Some units have hired a research analyst to synthesize and analyze data and/or gather student feedback, or a project manager to help keep the development of the self-study on track. Regardless of the approach taken, collaborative conversations with faculty and instructors are key to making final decisions about the content of the self-study.

It is best practice to schedule regular meetings (or have a standing agenda item at an existing meeting) with stakeholders to address specific action items and report on progress made to ensure deadlines are met. Units are encouraged to leverage existing structures within the departments like student groups, curriculum committees, or I-EDIAA resources.

Units are encouraged to begin identifying possible nominees early in the cyclical program review process. The nominations should be submitted to a month after submission of the Self-Study penultimate draft. The Office of the Provost, the faculty dean/associate dean, and the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, as appropriate, will review and rank the nominations. The final ranking will be communicated by the Office of the Provost to the Faculty Office who will invite the reviewers to participate.

Site visits by the review team should be scheduled when students are on campus between September and March following the completion of the self-study. 

Units are encouraged to work closely with their associate dean or equivalent throughout this process. Outside of the department, the main contact for the cyclical program review process and guidance are the Teaching and Learning Coordinators in the Office of the Provost at They can help connect you with appropriate resources throughout the process.

Student feedback on the student experience is a key component of a self-study. Units are encouraged to plan how they will engage students in the process early to ensure feedback is robust and adequately reflects the student experience in each program. 

Student Feedback Guidelines

Faculty CVs can be provided either as PDFs combined alphabetically into one file, or as links to individual CVs. The approach for all CVs must be the same, i.e., all PDFs or all links.

CV Guidelines

For the purposes of the Queen's University Quality Assurance Process (QUQAP), "core faculty" is defined as tenured, tenure-track, emeriti, and continuing adjunct faculty.

We recognize that clinical instructors teach foundation courses for programs with professional accreditation however, their CVs are not required by the Quality Council. It is recommended that the self-study include a list of clinical instructors, their qualifications, and which course(s) they teach.

The time period that is under review is the time period since the last cyclical program review, typically 7-8 years and generally considered as academic rather than calendar years. That review should be used to inform a forward-focused Self-Study that examines where programs are in the present and how they will improve in the future.

The data package you will receive from the Office of Institutional Research and Planning, and School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (if appropriate), will contain data up to the end of the academic year before you began writing the self-study. Where applicable, Units are encouraged to include discussion of significant developments occurring in the year the self-study is developed in the document.

An additional discretionary reviewer may be added to the review team if requested by the Unit and approved by the relevant Dean(s) and the Provost (or delegate).