By Bobinec, Greg on February 4, 2020.
Lethbridge College’s Civil Engineering Technology program has been granted national program accreditation by Technology Accreditation Canada (TAC).
The accreditation means graduating students will now have more advantages to begin their careers, earn higher wages and have flexibility to work anywhere in Canada. The new accreditation means all three programs in the college’s School of Engineering Technologies have now received TAC accreditation, following the Engineering Design and Drafting program in October 2019, and Geomatics Engineering Technology program in April 2019.
“Accreditation is important for a number of reasons. First of all, it does validate the educational experience the students have here at the Lethbridge College in Engineering Technologies,” says Bill Smienk, chair for the School of Engineering and Technologies, Lethbridge College. “We have known for a long time that many of our students have been extremely successful in the industry and so this is another way of validating that they have that credential that is recognized.”
The college applied for the accreditation process and provided TAC with plenty of information to review, along with the in-person audit and inspection of the program. Through the process they looked at a variety of factors including program functionality, outcomes, as well as interviewing everyone from current students and faculty to alumni.
“We look for some institutional information and look at the policies that are in place and that they are being implemented,” says Richard Stamper, executive director of Technology Accreditation Canada. “But more on the program side is if they are delivering learning outcomes that show what graduates know at the end of the program. We have a set of standards that they need to know to obviously be successful out in industry, so we are doing a really close evaluation of that.”
During interviews with alumni and their employers, Stamper found the college had an impressive way of sending students out into the industry with all of the skills they need to be adaptable and knowledgeable.
“During the audit interviewing people, we found that the students just hit the ground running. They have the right technical skills, have some good soft skills, they are really productive from day one,” says Stamper. “Another thing is that they are very adaptable. You don’t know everything and every company might have different ways of doing things, but they can pick up things and run with them, and that was the feedback.”
For the students enrolled in the program and for future students, Stamper says the accreditation can give them confidence in the program they are taking, as it meets the standards of the industry and will help them be pushed further into their careers.
“It really is about confidence,” says Stamper. “The students will know that the program here is delivering a curriculum that meets those standards of the engineering technology profession, and they can feel confident that when they go out and they talk to employers, they are going to say yes because they have the skills that can move them into the industry.”
Accreditation provides an expedited path to professional certification through the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta and other provincial engineering technology and applied science associations across Canada.
Follow @GBobinecHerald on Twitter