Recommended Procedures Concerning the Temporary Suspension of Admissions to Academic Programs

Approved May 28, 2013, amended September 2014

Checklist (PDF 120KB) - Confirmation that this checklist was consulted should be referenced in the Senate submission.

Definition of a Program

A program is the complete set and sequence of courses, combinations of courses and/or other units of study, research and practice prescribed by Queen's University for the fulfillment of the requirements of a degree, diploma, or certificate. For the purposes of this policy, this is limited to any program designation that appears on a student's transcript. However, graduate fields which appear on graduate student transcripts are excluded from the scope of this policy.1

Recommended Procedures for Decision Making

Senate recognizes that the decision to temporarily suspend admission to academic programs is best made by the relevant Dean(s) in consultation with her/his/their respective Faculty Board(s) (or equivalent(s)) and Senate, and subject to any policies or requirements the affected Faculty or Faculties may have, or may institute, to govern their decision-making process.

In considering a decision to temporarily suspend admissions to an academic Program, the relevant Dean(s) has a critical leadership role to play. The underlying factors giving rise to the concerns about a specific academic Program will dictate the urgency of the situation. Some parts of the procedure provided below may not be appropriate in situations requiring confidentiality regarding personnel or staffing or Section 13(1) FIPPA exemption; insofar (and only insofar) as such considerations render a measure provided below inappropriate, that measure shall not apply. In such a case the Dean(s) shall clearly indicate that some factors in the decision have been withheld for the sake of confidentiality.

In considering a proposal to suspend admissions to an academic Program, the Dean(s) shall:

  1. Ensure that there are opportunities for affected individuals and groups to provide input into the decision.
  2. Ensure that alternatives to temporarily suspending admissions to the Program have been explored and explain to the affected individuals and groups, including Faculty Board(s) or equivalent(s) and Senate, the feasibility (or lack of feasibility) of these alternatives.
  3. Conduct an analysis of the anticipated effect, if any, a temporary suspension might have on other academic and non-academic units and/or Programs at Queen’s.
  4. Conduct an analysis of the anticipated impact, if any, a temporary suspension might have on the equity goals of the Academic Unit/Faculty/University, and steps that will be taken to ensure that, to the extent possible, these goals continue to be met.
  5. Develop a communication plan regarding his/her/their decision in consultation with the Provost, including a media release if appropriate.
  6. Convey his/her/their decision, and the reasons for it, to: students, staff, and faculty most closely affiliated with the Program; the broader academic community; and the relevant Faculty Board(s) or equivalent(s) and Senate. This shall be done prior to the decision coming into effect wherever possible.


Recommended Procedures Following a Decision to Temporarily Suspend Admissions

Before a decision is finalized to temporarily suspend admissions, it is imperative that there be a well-articulated plan to ensure that students currently enrolled in the affected Program can meet graduation requirements. As soon as the decision is announced, this plan should be communicated to students, staff, faculty, and academic administrators affected by the decision to temporarily suspend admissions.

Temporary suspensions of admissions shall be time-limited (for up to 2 years) and the Dean (or Deans) shall provide an interim report to Faculty Board (or equivalent body) after the first year and each year thereafter. At least six months before the end of the initial specified time of temporary suspension, the Dean (or Deans) shall advise the Provost and Senate (with reasons) of his/her/their further intentions regarding the temporary suspension which may be one of the following:

  1. to extend the temporary suspension by a further 2 years (maximum).
  2. to lift the temporary suspension and resume admissions to the original Program.
  3. to lift the temporary suspension and resume admissions to a revised/restructured Program [note: restructuring/revision may involve major modifications to a Program which, as defined by QUQAPs, will require approval by SCAD and Senate. Additional approvals by COU Quality Council (and an external accreditation body in the case of a professional Program) may also be necessary].
  4. To consider closure of Programs in accordance with the Senate approved Policy and Procedures for the closure of Academic Programs (Undergraduate or Graduate).

If options a, b or c above are to be followed, timing of the decision should take into consideration, to the extent possible, provincial application deadlines (e.g. OUAC) (particularly in the case of direct-entry Programs) and publication deadlines for recruitment materials.

1.   The above definition of a Program is consistent with the Senate Policy and Procedures for the Closure of Academic Programs (Undergraduate or Graduate) approved April 29, 2014.