By Tyler Orton
The Tri-City News
The Douglas College board chairman says students should not be worried about the quality of their credentials after the post-secondary school launched an external review of policies with its Chinese partnership program.
“[An external review] is not normal but we felt it was appropriate for this particular issue,” Paul Wates said this week.
The independent assessment, conducted by the Deloitte accountancy firm, comes after a standard five-year internal review of the China-based international program raised concerns about students’ English-language proficiency as well as guidelines for supplemental exams.
The college applied a number of changes to the program beginning in June 2010, which included raising admission standards, cutting class sizes in half and modifying supplemental exam policies.
“We felt it was important enough from a good governance perspective to have an independent review done to confirm that the implementations that had already been made were adequate,” Wates said.
The new assessment, to be released in March, will encompass the exam process, students’ grades and general oversight of the program itself.
“There is no evidence to indicate that [grading standards were lax] at the moment,” Wates said. “Once we have the Deloitte review in hand, we’ll be in a much better position to have a more detailed discussion.”
Douglas College faculty teach eight out of the 20 courses offered in the international program at the Heilongjiang Institute of Science and Technology in Harbin, China. The remaining faculty members are Douglas-trained Chinese instructors. The program offers students credentials that are recognized in both China and Canada.
Although conducting both an internal and external is not standard procedure, Wates said Douglas College wants to ensure it’s using best practices for the international programs.