Professional Performance widely endorsed at AAEE 2017 conference

The Warren Centre hosted a successful workshop at the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE) annual conference at the Manly Novotel in Sydney. The workshop addressed the importance of introducing university students to Profession Performance alongside Ethics and Competencies in tertiary education.

The scene was set with reports from the Warren Centre on the integration of Professional Performance, Innovation and Risk (PPIR) into a number of undergraduate and postgraduate tertiary programs. At LaTrobe University commencing in 2018, PPIR will be integrated into all undergraduate and Masters’ engineering programs. At the Sydney University, PPIR was introduced to students in an intensive professional experience program for engineers who used the framework to assess a series of engineering disasters.

The workshop assembled an expert discussion panel representing academia, the profession and industry.

Dr Sally Male (University of WA) reported on her application over the past two years of the Professional Performance methodology for a Masters’ level design project and illustrated how PPIR can serve as a ‘scaffold’ for development of a range of curriculum subjects.

Dr Lincoln Wood, Engineers Australia’s National Manager of Accreditation, reported on EA’s recent endorsement of PPIR as the appropriate definition of expected performance for professional engineers. Dr Wood foreshadowed that EA will issue an accreditation Practice Note nominating PPIR as an appropriate resource for Professional Practice components of tertiary curricula. He also reflected on the position of PPIR within the Queensland Code of Practice for Registered Professional Engineers and its likely inclusion within a future registration scheme in Victoria.

Finally, Mark Smith, Director – Industry & Technical Development at ‎Transport for NSW, endorsed the important role which PPIR can play for industry, describing his organisation’s Authorised Engineering Organisation (AEO) program and the very close alignment to the PPIR methodology.

The panel Q&A was followed by an open and enthusiastic discussion which confirmed strong interest among the workshop participants in the integration of PPIR and the Professional Performance methodology into university curricula. The discussions identified specific needs to enable the effective adoption of PPIR within tertiary curricula:

  • Incorporation of PPIR as a continuous “spine” through complete engineering courses.
  • Development of templates and supporting materials to facilitate use of the Professional Performance checklist in a variety of applications.
  • Development / adaptation of a range of case study materials to introduce the checklist approach for project and team assignments and also to address more complex applications such as Engineering Management and Project Management.
  • Consideration of cultural translation of the PPIR approach, especially with regard to application with international students.
  • Stronger integration between academic and industry practice (including the role for “pracademics”).

The Warren Centre continues to support engineering educators to help drive the adoption of Professional Performance and to develop materials and face-to-face support. We welcome your comments, thoughts, queries and ideas to enhance university engineering education. Make contact with us at john.nurse@ppir.com.au.

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