CREATING FACULTY BUY-IN: LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES IN IMPLEMENTING CEAB GRADUATE ATTRIBUTES
AbstractIn 2009 the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) announced its intention requiring all undergraduate engineering programs in Canada to utilize twelve graduate attributes for assessing the capacities of its students. In response, engineering faculties across the country have been experimenting with creating processes that incorporate these graduate attributes as a means to stimulate program improvement to achieve curricular and program innovation. Many of the support resources (like the inter-university collaboration EGAD, for example) have focused largely in three directions – definitional, programmatic and information management challenges faced by different engineering programs.Less attention has been given to identifying and addressing leadership challenges faced by faculty administrators in piloting curricular and programmatic changes such as the CEAB graduate attributes. We argue that these challenges result from fundamental features of university educational culture: faculty members place great value upon autonomy in their workplace, and likewise expect a high degree of intellectual independence in designing courses. The introduction of CEAB attributes, together with the mandated changes they will bring to course design, is perceived by faculty members as an external imposition. Such a perception we suggest introduces some scepticism in the faculty about its efficacy leading to a disengagement from the change process. Thorough attention to these cultural factors impacting on graduate attributes adoption is crucial to the implementation of successful curriculum development.Describing these challenges in detail, this paper will outline some pathways that can circumvent these impediments to curricular innovation.