UBC Okanagan’s engineering programs receive ‘ultimate recognition’ by review board
The School of Engineering at UBC’s Okanagan campus has passed its latest test with flying colours.
The school was recently reviewed by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB), and received the maximum scores for two programs and a “pretty good” grade for the third.
Spiro Yannacopoulos, director of UBC’s School of Engineering and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science, says since the Engineering program is fairly new, established in 2005, it was important to have it fully accredited by the board. It’s a lengthy process that began last fall.
“It is a very thorough review and they look at everything,” Yannacopoulos says. “They review the programs, the entire curriculum, the professors and support staff, the facility, the equipment, the classrooms, the library, and they consider the general support from the university as a whole. They also speak with potential employers, people in the industry, students, and our alumni.”
The CEAB examined the school’s Electrical, Civil, and Mechanical engineering undergraduate programs. Both the Civil and Mechanical programs received the highest possible grade, with a maximum six-year extension of the current accreditation.
Minor deficiencies, however, were identified in the Electrical engineering program, and Yannacopoulos says some of those are matters have already been addressed.
During the accreditation process, the CEAB looks at transfer students, the school they came from, and who taught them. If those instructors were not fully qualified professional engineers, then that reflects on UBC’s accreditation. Other deficiencies in the Electrical engineering program include a higher than preferred student-to-faculty ratio, and the fact that a number of faculty are junior professors still working towards attaining their professional engineering registration.
The Electrical engineering program will be reviewed again in three years, but Yannacopoulos says he can write a letter to the CEAB anytime before then to state that all concerns have been dealt with.
“We appreciate the review and any recommendations that come from it. While it is not imposed, we invited the review and we encourage any improvements the board suggested for our programs,” he says. “And while accreditation is not mandatory, I wouldn’t want to be Associate Dean at an engineering school that isn’t accredited, nor would I want to teach at one, or be a student at one.”
UBC offers a four-year undergraduate Engineering program within the Faculty of Applied Science. With about 225 first-year students expected in September, there will be 840 undergrads and about 150 graduate students enrolled in Applied Science at UBC’s Okanagan campus.
Engineering was first offered at UBC’s Okanagan campus in 2005 with a first cohort of 75 students. Since then, the school has grown rapidly as demand for engineering programs continues to rise.
Yannacopoulos says the recent accreditation review demonstrates they have done a commendable job.
“We are in very good shape,” he says. “Having been awarded full accreditation places our school amongst the most elite engineering schools in North America. This is the ultimate recognition for our engineering programs.”