The purpose of this Final Assessment Report (FAR) is to summarize the results from the Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP) and Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) evaluation of the Engineering Programmes. It requests that the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC) review these results as per the process outlined in Ref A section 2.6.
Accreditation/Cyclical Review Background
All engineering programmes in Canada are accredited by the CEAB for a period of up to six years. The standard CEAB review process (Ref B) followed at RMC is outlined below:
- For each programme, the accreditation involves the preparation of a so-called Questionnaire (Ref C, D, E, F, G, H). Information required by the IQAP but not required for CEAB are found in an appendix to the Questionnaire. The Questionnaires were submitted to the CEAB in early October 2012.
- The CEAB visiting team was made up of one external visitor for each programme, a visit chair, a visit co-chair and a representative from the provincial engineering licensing body (in our case Professional Engineers of Ontario or PEO). In addition, an observer from Engineers Canada was present to assess the future feasibility of simultaneous CEAB and IQAP cyclical reviews. A list of these people is found in Table 1.
- The CEAB visit to RMC occurred on 18-20 November. On 7 February, the CEAB visit report was issued to the Dean of Engineering (Ref I). The report contained observations made by all members of the CEAB visiting team on the Faculty and its six engineering programmes. The Dean of Engineering sought input from each of the Engineering Departments and then responded to the CEAB visit report (Ref J). The CEAB Visit Chair then commented on the Dean's response (Ref K). As per the normal CEAB accreditation process, Refs H, I and J were submitted to the actual Accreditation Board for review and decisions. On 17 June 2013, the Accreditation Board made its accreditation decisions regarding the six engineering programmes (Ref L). These decisions and related comments will be discussed in Sections 6.
- One potential safety-related "deficiency" was found in the Aeronautical Engineering programme and was outlined in Refs I and L. RMC was given until 31 August to respond to the deficiency. On 22 July, in consultation with the Head of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, the Dean responded to the potential safety-related deficiency (Ref M). The Accreditation Board agreed to review its findings related to this programme on 15 September 2013 (Ref N). On 3 Oct, RMC was officially notified CEAB's decision regarding this "deficiency" (Ref V). This will be discussed further in Section 6c.
Ref A states "The RMC IQAP has been created to meet the requirements of the Quality Council. It provides the framework and templates to assist faculties as they conduct comprehensive, constructive, and meaningful reviews of their existing programs". Ref A allows RMC to use the CEAB review process to partially fulfill its IQAP cyclical review requirements. However, there are two important elements required for RMC's IQAP that are not part of the CEAB review process. They are:
- The external evaluation must include people external to the programme being reviewed but internal to the institution. The list of the external/internal reviewers is found in Table 1. The presence of reviewers from the institution presented a problem for the CEAB as this was not part of their standard operating procedure. A compromise solution was brokered by the Dean of Engineering in which the external/internal reviewers would review all available CEAB documentation, would accompany the CEAB programme visitors during their time at RMC but would NOT be part of the in-camera CEAB meetings and would NOT be asked to contribute to the visiting team report (Ref I). The CEAB visiting team report was shared with the six external/internal reviewers by the Dean. Additional meetings were also set up with the six external/internal reviewers and the Dean of Engineering, the Principal and the Commandant. Each of external/internal reviewers then wrote a separate report on the programme visited (Refs O, P, Q, R, S, T)
- Ref A requires that RMC demonstrate that each of its graduates has developed a series of so-called degree-level expectations (DLEs). Appendix 3 of Ref A outlines 6 broad DLEs each one broken into a series of, what I will refer to here, indicators. This approach is not unlike that required by CEAB (Ref B). With the exception of 4 indicators, all twelve CEAB DLEs could be mapped to those of IQAP. The mapping process is outline in each of the programme Questionnaires (Refs C to H). The four RMC-specific IQAP indicators were discussed in the appendix of the programme Questionnaires.