Educators from Ireland assist NC with curriculum review

Niagara College has long-standing relationships with academic and industry partners in Ireland, and they continue to find opportunities to collaborate. NC student Angelina Sokolova is pictured on a Be World Ready trip to Ireland.

This article is the first in a four-part series on the collaborative bilateral curriculum review from March 4 to April 4.

For the first time, programs in three different NC Schools of Study will undergo a comprehensive review that will inject an international perspective to their curriculum.

All NC programs undergo a six year review cycle to evaluate how well its services and practices are supporting student success and learning. Through the review process, recommendations are made to enhance programs to improve the student experience and learning outcomes. All programs undergo a comprehensive quality assurance program review in the first year led by a team of two external assessors. The review involves the development of self-study and a site visit where the external assessors interview current students, alumni, faculty, program advisory committee members, support staff and administrators.

Niagara College has been recognized by the Ontario College Quality Assurance Service (OCQAS) for implementing a best practice. NC is among only a few colleges in Ontario that use external assessors for every program review.

Over the years, assessments have been conducted by faculty from Canadian academic institutions. This year, NC will welcome faculty members from partner institutions in Ireland to review some of our programs. Throughout March and into April, reviewers will audit one program from each of the following Schools of Study: the School of Community Services, the School of Technology, and the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Sport.

  • March 4 – 7: Mary Skillington, Early Childhood Education and Care assistant lecturer, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology will review NC’s Early Childhood Education program.
  • March 25 – 27: Gerry Ryder, Technological University Dublin Mechanical Engineering lecturer will review NC’s Renewable Energies program.
  • April 1 – 4: Cian O’Neill, head of the Department of Sport, Leisure and Childhood Studies, Cork Institute of Technology will assess NC’s Sport Management program.

“Building off the Niagara College strategic plan to be culturally and globally engaged, the Centre for Academic Excellence set an ambitious strategic plan to broaden and deepen engagement with stakeholders and partners to ensure our programs and services are responsive to the evolving needs of the NC community,” said academic quality manager, Jeffrey Post. “By working with our partner institutions from Ireland, Niagara College and its academic schools are taking another step toward this goal. Over the last few months we have worked closely with our colleagues in the International Division to ensure these visits have a lasting impact on our academic programs.”

The review provides an opportunity for NC to foster global competencies and create world-ready graduates by incorporating global best practices from post-secondary educators from a different cultural context. NC’s academic schools will also enhance the college’s already strong partnership with the Irish institutions through reflective conversations in their areas of expertise.

“It is an opportunity for our Irish partners to assess the quality of our programs while at the same time, having all program review participants learn more about each others’ regional nuances within their discipline,” shared Post.

During their visit, the assessors from Ireland will be hosting a guest lecture that will introduce NC students to an Irish perspective related to their program area and offer an industry comparison between Ireland and Canada. There will be a meet and greet with the school faculty to allow for global best practices to be shared as well as an industry site visit.

Look ahead to the next installment in this series in the coming weeks.