The Futures of Engineering Accreditation (FEA) project recently concluded its virtual simulations, a structured form of brainstorming that invited 80 participants to explore the current accreditation and licensure system, as related to Engineers Canada’s Strategic Priority 1.1.
Overview: Between March 30 and May 3, participants studied mock purposes of accreditation and academic requirements for licensure through the lens of a future engineer (as expressed at the 2022 Strategic Foresight session). Each working group was assigned one scenario and was tasked to understand the necessary conditions their purpose of accreditation and academic requirement would need to succeed, and how they might fail.
Key Findings: The data synthesized from the simulations indicated that:
- Participants are aligned that accreditation should have a role in the engineering ecosystem to ensure quality control and professional integrity, but it needs significant change to be fit for purpose.
- There is value in having clearly defined, transparent standards for engineering knowledge and competence at a national level. Responses also suggest that this requirement should address a general, baseline level of technical knowledge complemented with professional competencies and an understanding of the ethical responsibilities of an engineer.
- The relationship between accreditation and the academic requirement for licensure is not yet clear and requires further work.
Simulation Design: The simulation experience was designed to not only bring together a variety of perspectives to co-create, but it also created a structure that unlocked key learnings for the project team. While participants initially found the mock purposes and academic requirements confining, the last exercise invited them to openly explore the future of accreditation and academic requirements, in which the majority indicated both were necessary for the future of the profession.
What’s to come: The Purpose Task Force and the Academic Requirement for Licensure Task Force will take the simulation synthesis and use it as a key input to build viable options for the future, to be presented during regulator consultations in the fall. This will be the first of two consultations that will narrow down the options of the path forward to define the future of the purpose of accreditation and a national academic requirement for licensure, as part of the larger system. Using these two pieces as a foundation, the journey ahead will then be documented in a 2024 Path Forward report.
As our task project forces work on these challenges over the summer, your input is appreciated. If you have any questions about the project, would like to share any insights related to the broader engineering profession, or are interested in getting involved, please use our online form.