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Academic Reference Group

The Academic Reference Group is made up of educators and representatives of the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) who share information and collaborate on nursing regulatory issues of mutual interest and concern.

The goal of the group is to provide an opportunity for discussion and collaboration on regulatory issues of importance to both educators and the College of Nurses of Ontario.

The group includes 10 Ontario nursing educators who have volunteered to represent all nursing programs in the province. We encourage you to share your feedback with the group by emailing cqo@cnomail.org.

Sandra DeLuca, RN PhD
Fanshawe College, Western University

Laura Gedcke-Kerr, RN MSc
Queen's University

Sylvie Larocque, BScInf. MScInf. PhD (Nursing)
Laurentian University/Université Laurentienne

Kumaran Mahathevan, RN, BScN, MScN
Centennial College

Paula Mastrilli, RN PhD (Nursing)
George Brown College

Mary McGrory, RN MScN
Humber Institute of Technology & Advance Learning

Linda Patrick, RN PhD
University of Windsor

Karen Poole RN, BScN, MEd, MA (Nursing)
Lakehead University

Katherine Tripp, MN, NP
University of Toronto

Anne Marie Shin, RN, MN, MSc (QIPS)
College of Nurses of Ontario

Katie Dilworth RN, MHSc, CCN(C)
College of Nurses of Ontario

Terms of Reference


In February 2016, the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) held meetings with representatives from all nursing baccalaureate programs to share information regarding NCLEX-RN exam results and other related topics. CNO also obtained feedback about forming an Academic Reference Group, including all nursing programs (practical nursing, baccalaureate, and nurse practitioner).

The group was proposed as a strategy to enhance relationships with stakeholders by allowing information sharing, and by collaborating on regulatory issues of mutual interest and concern. Those participating in the February meetings were supportive of the concept of forming a reference group.


The main objectives of the Academic Reference Group are for CNO and nursing educators to:

  • Discuss and collaborate on regulatory-related topics of mutual interest.

  • Exchange information and provide input that supports the planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of regulatory and nursing education policies and initiatives.

  • Identify the impact of policy decisions.

  • Propose recommendations for consideration.


The Academic Reference Group is focused on supporting nursing regulation in Ontario, and any resulting impact on nursing education. Information collected from the group will be used to inform all phases of nursing regulation (i.e. planning to evaluation), and support nursing educators so they are informed and prepared to support related changes to nursing regulation.

The reference group provides one mechanism for CNO and educators to engage with each other and gather input on strategic and operational matters (related to topics discussed).

Roles and responsibilities

The reference group will consist of CNO staff and nursing educators in Ontario. The group will be chaired by a CNO staff member.

The Chair is responsible for:

  • preparing meeting agendas, supporting materials (such as information and briefing material on topics for discussion), and reporting outcomes of meetings to CNO; and

  • facilitating meetings that promote respectful and inclusive dialogue.

    Participants are responsible for:

  • meeting preparation (reviewing agenda and supporting material), providing input into agenda items (including submitting any documentation as needed), engaging in respectful and inclusive dialogue at meetings, and participating in any evaluations related to the reference group; and

  • clearly identifying any conflict of interest with agenda items to the chair.

    Selection and qualifications of participants

    CNO selects participants for the reference group in a way that ensures the group’s members incorporate:

  • a range of knowledge and experience of nursing education from

    practical nursing, undergraduate nursing, and nurse practitioner programs;

  • clinical and theoretical aspects of programs representatives; and

  • geographical diversity and language (French and English) representation.

CNO conducts a formal selection process every three years. Applicants are required to complete an online application form, and are selected based on the criteria listed above.

Membership and Terms of Membership

Participation in the group is voluntary.

The desired number of educator participants for the reference group is 10 – 12 (no alternates).

A participant’s membership in the group ends if they miss two consecutive meetings without notifying the Chair, or cease employment in nursing education, or become an employee of CNO and/or member of CNO’s Council.

A rotation of one-third the membership every three years is expected. Quorum for any decision-making (e.g., agenda, meeting minutes) is 50% + 1.


The reference group will meet quarterly by teleconference (using supportive technology, such as WebEx, as needed).

Meeting agendas will be circulated at least one week in advance of the meeting date, along with pre-reading material. Meetings topics will focus on identified priorities, selected by the members and approved by the chair.

Meeting notes will be circulated no more than 14 business days after a meeting. Meeting notes will provide key discussion points, action items, and responsibility for follow-up.

Reporting and sharing of information

Meeting summaries and findings will be distributed to the relevant CNO departments and shared with CNO’s Council as appropriate.

Group participants are encouraged to share agreed upon key messages with their colleagues, organizations and various networks. Certain items shared (such as, draft documents) may require confidentiality and will be restricted from circulation beyond the reference group.


The group will review the Terms of Reference annually.

Members of the reference group may establish ad hoc groups to address specific topics or emerging needs.

Page last reviewed July 05, 2021