The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted CEAB-accredited engineering education programs.
As a result of the factors described below, the CEAB has looked for ways to help relieve the pressures experienced by programs, their staff and students. As a result, the CEAB has decided to:
- Defer the 2020/2021 accreditation visit cycle for one year, and
- Grant a one-time, one-year accreditation cycle extensions to all programs who received a favorable accreditation decision before June 5, 2020.
In mid-March, the Accreditation Board Executive Committee met with leadership from Engineering Deans Canada (EDC) who shared the impact of the pandemic on institutional operations. EDC leadership validated the concerns that CEAB had been monitoring since early March. The following issues have been identified as potential factors that will impact the upcoming and future accreditation cycles:
- The human and financial resources required to implement dramatic temporary adjustments at engineering programs across the country in the face of the global health emergency are significant.
- For programs preparing to receive accreditation visits for the 2020/2021 accreditation cycles, there is concern that resources are not available to prepare and submit the Questionnaire or to prepare the on-site materials for the visiting team. There is a concern that the disruption during their “snapshot year” will result in a submission that is not representative of a program.
- If what health officials call “physical distancing” were to persist into the fall, those programs scheduled to receive accreditation visits in the 2021/2022 cycle and beyond will be impacted in terms of their ability to collect data during their snapshot year, to commit resources to prepare for the visit, and to host the visit.
- Finally, as the CEAB accreditation process relies heavily on the work of volunteers, there is a risk to the Board’s capacity to carry out the 2020/2021 visits if volunteers become unavailable due to work, home, or family commitments.
In light of the above, coming out of a special meeting of the CEAB on April 9, 2020, and following approval by the Engineers Canada’s Board on April 28, 2020, the following measures are being implemented:
- Visits to currently accredited programs scheduled to take place in 2020/2021 have been deferred to the 2021/2022 cycle. A one-time, one-year accreditation cycle extension is being granted to these programs.
- The CEAB will be flexible on the “snapshot year” of data that the programs submit to the visiting team. Programs that have collected data during 2019/2020 academic year for the 2020/21 visit cycle will be permitted to submit this data to the visiting team during the 2021/2022 visit cycle.
- Visits to new programs scheduled to take place in 2020/2021 will still occur, unless the institution decides to postpone the visit. If in-person visits are not possible, the CEAB will work with regulators and the institutions to determine how the accreditation process can be adapted to adequately evaluate the new program(s).
- All programs who received an R (report) decision before June 5, 2020 are granted a one-time, one-year extension to submit their report. This includes those programs due to submit a report on June 30, 2020; the new deadline for these reports is June 30, 2021.
- A one-time, one-year accreditation cycle extension is being granted to all programs that received a favorable accreditation decision before June 5, 2020.
- Those programs who do not wish to have their accreditation extended will be invited to submit a Request for Accreditation as per their current accreditation cycle.
- Programs subject to decisions during the June 6 and 7, 2020 meeting of the CEAB are eligible for an accreditation decision not to exceed the usual maximum allowable six-year term.
For those programs that have their accreditation cycle extended, it is important to note that the most recent accreditation findings communicated in the decision letter remain intact.
- All HEIs will shortly receive correspondence from the CEAB detailing which cycle their program(s) had been scheduled for and in which cycle those programs are now slated to be visited.
- The CEAB Secretariat will contact HEIs with new programs slated for visits in the 2020/2021 cycle to discuss specific considerations.