Once again, I am honoured and humbled by the ongoing confidence of the Nominating Committee who put my name forward this week as a presidential candidate for the 2018-2019 Council of Engineers and Geoscientists BC.
Once again, I am honoured and humbled by the ongoing confidence of the Nominating Committee who put my name forward this week as a presidential candidate for the 2018-2019 Council of Engineers and Geoscientists BC.
Wow! I just noticed that I have not posted here since before the elections! Tells me how busy I have been with Engineers & Geoscientists BC Council, work and my dissertation.
With the new year as Vice President, I begin my Branch visits across the province, starting in two weeks. If you are a member of Engineers & Geoscientists BC and have a question about regulation or what Council is up to, come on out to one of the Branch meetings when I am there. I look forward to meeting as many members as possible over the next few months.
With the new term upon us at Camosun College, I look forward to setting up class tours in industry to consolidate our in-class learning. If you are an industry member working in the engineering community, let me know what strengths our grads currently have…and where we can help develop needed skills and knowledge. This week will be our team development sessions and review, so a great time to look forward.
I am developing a new course for UBC Mechanical Engineering this term, as well, and look forward to working with the academic team on this new online opportunity. All very secret, for now, but should be running this summer, if all goes as planned…
As to my dissertation, it is in progress and very close to completion (defence). I have a paper related to this work in progress for delivery in Utah later this year. I will add it to the list of publications when it is done.
Happy New Year!
Honoured by the confidence of the APEGBC Nominating Committee to include my name on their list of candidates, I look forward to running again.
I will post my Candidate Statement on this blog once I have written it.
Hmm…the challenge of posting them each time is that I cannot simply reissue the same one… 🙂
Just a quick shout out to all my supporters!
Thank you for your votes during the latest APEGBC election. While somewhat disappointed that I was not elected Vice President this term, I am very happy to continue to serve as Councillor. And I am honoured that so many of you voted for me!
I look forward to another fine year on Council, working to ensure our professional association is the best it can be as both regulator and advocate: two interwoven roles that make engineering and geoscience powerful in British Columbia.
See you at the annual conference and AGM!
As a component of the 2016 election process for APEGBC Council, a question and answer page was adopted at the request of members so that voters could learn more about the candidates.
I found the 1500 character maximum too limiting, so have reprinted my responses in full for your reading pleasure…
As a regulatory authority, the key challenge APEGBC faces right now is the risk of losing the privilege of self-regulation. Many British Columbians, members and non-members, do not have a clear understanding of what self-regulation means. We must educate our members and the general public about the benefits and requirements of a self-regulated profession. It is only by supporting self-regulation that we will have the privilege of keeping it.
Self-regulation is not only the handing out of licenses to qualified applicants. Self-regulation engages professionals in regulatory processes, such as defining the roles and responsibilities of registered members, imperative for us in APEGBC where we have great diversity in our disciplinary knowledge and expertise. Self-regulation allows professionals to effectively respond to our changing world and to ensure the safety of the increasing expanse of technology that we develop. Self-regulation enables members to guide the public in determining when a professional member should be consulted and to ensure that he or she is a member in good standing, legally permitted to fulfill these duties.
I want to take a moment here to acknowledge and commend the vast majority of our members who are clearly ethical, keeping their knowledge current and delivering high quality projects. I also want to acknowledge the work being done by my colleagues on the various committees necessary for regulation. Overall, we’re doing a great job! Let’s be proactive about self-regulation so that we remain in control of our professions.
I believe the three key issues facing our professions concern education about self-regulation, the enhancement of fairness, equity, diversity and inclusion in our professions, and the expansion of our practice guideline library.
We need to provide education and promotional materials about our regulatory responsibilities, legislated for the public’s benefit, and showcase the range of activities for which it is necessary to consult with qualified professionals from APEGBC and other regulatory bodies. We need to make this information more transparent and readily available.
Education will have multiple incidental benefits, depending on how we decide to carry it out, more so if we establish this effort as founded among us as members, branches and divisions. It will serve to remind us about self-regulation’s benefits and requirements. It will mitigate some of the challenges we experience in terms of fairness, equity, diversity and inclusion. In addition, it will inform BC children and youth about career opportunities available in engineering and geoscience, thereby helping to stave off impending shortages due to retirements and growth.
Recent surveys continue to highlight the disparity between the salaries of men and women in our professions. This is only one of the areas that persist in inequity, in spite of our members efforts to rectify it.
British Columbia contains one of the most inclusive societies in the world, yet we continue to exhibit the unintended consequences of implicit bias (check out Harvard University’s implicit bias project at http://www.projectimplicit.net or test yourself using one of their online Implicit Association Tests targeting gender or other biases, at https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/canada/takeatest.html).
Other ‘isms’ that we unconsciously exhibit include decisions based on age, body shape and race. We might be able to assess our members’ salary and compensation data (anonymized, of course!) to determine in which areas we require additional practice guidelines to help us become more inclusive.
We need to expand our library of practice guidelines to ensure the broadest adoption of best practices across the province on both technical and non-technical topics.
APEGBC’s Practice Guidelines are very effective in clearing up unfortunate areas of concern by presenting best practice methods and procedures, such as those developed in swift response to major issues, like in the Forestry Sector, relating to the Mount Polley dam breach or even our current understandings about climate change. New practice guidelines for human rights and diversity are in work and additional topics can be explored as we identify areas of concern.
Interestingly, our practice guidelines have been quoted as best practice examples in the new WorkSafe BC guideline for developing written safe-work procedures (http://bit.ly/WorkSafe-Cites-APEGBC).
I see APEGBC as the preeminent professional regulatory body in British Columbia, recognized across Canada and around the world as the leader in maintaining professional practice and enhancing our reputation. It will be British Columbian engineers and geoscientists who will be instrumental in elevating our technological reach and societal influence to make the world a better place.
Okay, we might not get there in five years, but at least we will be on our way!
Please remember to vote!
It was fascinating this week to spend some time in Vancouver meeting with some of APEGBC’s Past Presidents and attending the new registrants’ Induction Ceremony. I enjoy meeting and chatting with members about their interests and opinions, and finding out how I might be able to help them get the most out of the association.
Some presidents from past councils have an ongoing interest in the success of the association. These individuals meet twice a year for a number of reasons: to keep themselves informed about what the current APEGBC Council is working on; to discuss what is happening, what has changed and what has not; and to meet with each other and catch up. Most important to me, however, is that they freely offer advice and guidance to any current council members who are able to attend.
I attend these events as often as I can.
Our Past Presidents tend to keep themselves informed about current events that impact the engineering and geoscience professions. They are thoughtful and considerate in their advice. I value their comments and questions quite highly.
The meeting this week was especially informative because the Past Presidents had included in the agenda an opportunity to delve into a number of interesting topics in small groups. Key discussion points were shared with the larger group at the end.
One of the topics the people at my table talked about was how new members are obtaining their technical education from diverse institutions. They expressed their concern that so few were coming from UBC, the sole provider of engineering and geoscience education back in the day. Through the conversation that ensued, we noted that the institutions across the province today are nationally accredited to the same standards as UBC and that international degrees become approved through the rigorous application process that we have at APEGBC. Apparently, we are national leaders in this area, as well, with our competency-based application process and our registry of approved degree-granting institutions. We discussed at length how the registration process has changed over the years to ensure that all members are appropriately qualified through both education and experience.
Other topics we discussed included:
After a brief socializing break, we all moved over to the Fairmont Vancouver Hotel’s gorgeous ballroom in which the Induction Ceremony was held. What a beautiful room…
Ann English, P.Eng., CEO and Registrar of APEGBC, was an excellent master of the ceremony, keeping the awards moving, giving a stirring talk about the obligations of engineers and geoscientists to uphold public safety and pronouncing all those names very well, indeed!
Life Members were recognized first. Their lists of accomplishments through their long careers were inspiring.
After the presentations of their gold foils, the 129 newly registered professional members walked across the stage. The inductees received their licenses to the sometimes raucous applause of friends and families. I met some new inductees at my table who have already begun interesting careers. Their supporters were clearly very proud.
Congratulations to all!
I recently received an anonymous comment to my July Candidate Statement post in which interesting points were made around continuous professional development, CPD. I think it is likely that others may have the same viewpoints, so I am addressing them here. The three points were:
First, to clarify, in addition to requiring the development of and adherence to a Code of Ethics, the Act mentions professional development once, in reference to possible bylaws council can create “to assist in promoting and maintaining the competency and proficiency of members and licensees” (10.1.m.1). Previous members of the association created and updated the first Code of Ethics, which refers to CPD twice, in Principles Six and Ten. Principle Six states that engineers and geoscientists must:
Keep themselves informed in order to maintain their competence, strive to advance the body of knowledge within which they practice and provide opportunities for the professional development of their associates.
This principle is clearly about the requirement for professional development. Therefore, my anonymous commenter is correct: together, the Act and the Code of Ethics define the legal requirement for CPD. This, however, does not make the proposed bylaw redundant. Rather, we need the bylaw to operationalize the Act and regulate the activities of our members – this is the duty of APEGBC as a self-regulating body.
One simple way to officially uphold the Act has already been piloted for the past few years as a voluntary trial: a check-box on our membership renewal webpage. Unfortunately, I am aware that a number of our members do not click the check-box specifically because it is voluntary to do so, despite completing more than the annual development requirement. As a professional association, we need to demonstrate 100% member compliance so that legislators and public alike can be fully confident that all engineers and geoscientists are conducting sufficient professional development.
The second principle relating to professional development is Principle Ten, which states that engineers and geoscientists must:
Extend public knowledge and appreciation of engineering and geoscience and protect the profession from misrepresentation and misunderstanding.
This is the second aspect of CPD: outreach to and education of the public. CPD protects the profession from misrepresentation and misunderstanding by requiring not only that each professional member is, in fact, increasing their own knowledge but that they are also helping to extend the public’s knowledge about engineering and geoscience. Many members are participating in school outreach programs, giving presentations and judging science fairs. Other members are participating in public presentations or mentoring junior engineers. These activities qualify for CPD hours, too.
Principle Ten is the principle that my anonymous commenter suggests is violated if someone suggests another member may not be CPD compliant, as if such an assertion casts aspersion on APEGBC. Yet this is nonsense: identifying members at fault is good for APEGBC because it means that we are paying attention to what each other is doing so that only qualified engineers, geoscientists and licensees are permitted to practice. There are members who have been negligent — just take a look at the disciplinary page on the website.
On a technical level, Principle Ten refers only to educating the public about our professions so that neither members nor the public misrepresent APEGBC. It does not refer to member actions, unlike Principles Seven and Nine. These two principles directly relate to members misrepresenting other professional members, highlighting our obligations to support other professionals yet report them if they do something “hazardous, illegal or unethical”. Interestingly, these two principles actually support my view that we must have the freedom to challenge the few professional members who are completing insufficient CPD as determined by their peers: those members are misrepresenting their knowledge and expertise.
For reference, Principle Seven states that engineers and geoscientists must:
Conduct themselves with fairness, courtesy and good faith towards clients, colleagues and others, give credit where it is due and accept, as well as give, honest and fair professional comment.
Principle Nine states that engineers and geoscientists must:
Report to their association or other appropriate agencies any hazardous, illegal or unethical professional decisions or practices by members, licensees or others.
It is worth noting that the majority of engineers and geoscientists have been maintaining their responsibilities by taking classes, attending workshops, reading relevant trade journals and sharing knowledge with other professionals. It is, however, somewhat naïve to believe this applies to us all. I have worked with hundreds of amazing professionals who more than uphold the APEGBC Code of Ethics. Yet, I regret to say that I know of a couple who just don’t make as much time for CPD as they should. These two individuals, less than 0.5% of my professional acquaintances, have the potential to destroy the incredible reputation we share as professionals by shirking their responsibilities in some way. When we call them to task about this lack, we strengthen our profession and we show others we believe this principle to be vital. This is how we further protect the public.
I am not sure if my anonymous commenter had an actual objection to mandatory CPD, or only wished to assert that he or she thinks it is redundant. Perhaps the real objection may be similar to one of those I have heard personally or read on the CPD microsite, such as: a concern that reporting CPD will take too much time (It won’t: it only takes a couple minutes), a concern that verifiable CPD activities are too expensive (Some are, but many of the activities conscientious engineers and geoscientists undergo are verifiable and free), a concern that non-professionals are dictating to members what qualifies for CPD (Not happening: we have around a thousand member volunteers, some of whom have informed the guidelines for development requirements within their own disciplines, member to member — as for the specific activities, we each have the responsibility to decide for ourselves), a concern that non-practicing members cannot meet the practice requirement (Irrelevant: non-practicing members do not have to complete CPD because they are not practicing as engineers or geoscientists), or a concern that the requirements are too high (Through consultation with over 4000 members, the number of hours has been lowered).
What is the downside of mandatory CPD? I cannot see one. Even if having a bylaw for mandatory CPD was redundant, which it is not, the worst outcome would be wasting a minute or two in checking the box on the renewal form.
What are the benefits? Self-regulation, increased public trust, increased education, increased relevance, increased participation and engagement of members, and enhanced engineering and geoscience practice.
There is nothing to lose and much to gain with mandatory CPD.
I urge all APEGBC members to review the CPD microsite and read the considered answers to member questions. Read the requirements of other professions in BC and other engineering and geoscience regulators across Canada. Consider your own development activities and see how many of them already align with the CPD requirements. Mandatory CPD is an easy way to uphold our Act and, more importantly, public safety.
I hope this helps you make your decision as you vote on the new bylaw.
Thank you for nominating me for re-election to the 2015 APEGBC Council. As current councilor, I am pushing council to improve and enhance the general reputation of the Association and of its members, to promote diversity and gender balance, and to advocate for all aspects of fairness in our profession. As I learn more about our complex organization, key factors continue to warrant specific attention:
Government Relations: Fostering great relationships with government representatives remains a priority. These are the people who influence the reach of APEGBC in the public sphere and who support our initiatives in legislation to increase the effectiveness of APEGBC members. Council’s challenge is to truly collaborate with APEGBC members in developing the proposals that go forth to government.
Professional Governance Activities: Recent interdisciplinary studies have broadened my perspective on how we can and must work together to effect the change we wish to see. Of utmost importance are innovative fair practices that enhance all committees, reflective volunteer care and recognition, policy development that covers the full engineering profession, and the fair implementation of PD reporting.
About fair practices: My focus is on three general practices: meeting technology, committee best practices and mechanisms for members to build relationships with council.
Meeting Technology: Society is changing at a rapid pace, as always. New tools and techniques regularly become available to support committee work. Often members cannot attend meetings in person and we rely on teleconferencing as the technology to connect people. I look forward to incorporating video conferencing into our toolkit. Although Skype and FaceTime are not considered sufficiently secure for professional work, video conferencing software is available and incorporated by some of our membership.
Committee support: Committee work is the active part of belonging to a profession. Many of APEGBC’s committees are very well functioning groups who engage their members, share the duties amongst the group and actively involve new members in those responsibilities. Recently, however, I became aware that some committees need more assistance with succession planning and diversity. Our APEGBC Volunteer Opportunities announcements are often overlooked, so I wish to explore new ways to both recruit future volunteers and assist committees to better engage their members. Best practices can be developed to support all committees.
Mechanisms for Building Relationship between Councilors and Members: Council members make efforts to connect with members as often as possible, but it is difficult to do so. As a former active branch member, I knew very little about the working of APEGBC and, especially, its council. One of the reasons I first decided to run for council two years ago was to learn about the mechanisms we have in place to run this very large organization.
About PD: Our Code of Ethics requires that we continue to develop our professional knowledge and skills. Yet, all of us can name at least one person we believe may be shirking these duties in some way. What is the minimum requirement for a geoscientist to remain current in her knowledge? What is the minimum requirement for an engineer? I believe these requirements are different for each individual professional engineer and geoscientist, yet in order to protect our reputation, we must somehow ensure that every one of us maintains our relevant and current knowledge within our disciplines. Over 45% of our membership are voluntarily reporting that we are attending conferences, reading trade journals, giving presentations to share our new knowledge of the applications of science in our designs and creations, and participating in the activities of APEGBC. While I would like to trust that the remaining 55% of our membership are learning about new methods and regulations, I believe that number is slightly smaller and that the small group who are not remaining current put our reputation at risk and, more importantly, public safety at risk.
We are one of very few professions across Canada whose members are not required to report their professional development. I wish to understand what the resistance is, beyond a fear of being discovered as non-compliant.
Supporting Branch Initiatives: Our Branches are the lifeblood of APEGBC. Our ability as Branch Members is to reach deeply into each regional community where we have a great capacity to effect change in our society. The more involved I am in service to APEGBC, the more aware I have become about the dichotomy of the reputation our professions enjoy and suffer among British Columbians and the broader community, national and global. Overall, we are well respected and recognized for our integrity and fairness. Our employers are increasingly receptive to fostering diversity in their employee populations and our designs and creations are world-renown. Yet few truly understand what it is that we do and our youth are generally misinformed about what it means to be a professional in geoscience and engineering.
Over the last few years, the post-secondary institutions of BC have become increasingly active in delivering outreach programs to students in elementary, middle and high schools across the province. These programs, like Science Venture in the summer months, and Go Eng Girl or A Taste of Electronics during the school year, provide activities that expose participants to design and innovation, thereby creating knowledge about careers that apply science to make the world a better place. This is what we do as engineers and geoscientists in our places of work and communities. As Branch members, we play an even greater role in educating youth through our work in local outreach programs.
Diversity: Geoscience has maintained gender balance for many years (), however increasing the number of women in engineering continues to be a focus for engineering. Great headway has been made to date and APEGBC will continue to support organizations in developing policies that acknowledge and accommodate the needs of diverse populations: research has shown that financial and organizational success comes more swiftly to corporations that achieve full gender and racial diversity (with at least 30% of underrepresented minorities) by increasing employee satisfaction and retention, thereby stimulating creativity, loyalty and productivity. Our public school system has been tremendously successful in supporting the needs of boys and girls in all aspects of education (well, some work still needs to be done to improve boys’ literacy); my doctoral studies focus on the transition high school physics and engineering education. This participant action research will shift the paradigm to incorporate engineering principles in the teaching of physics labs. The diversity of our association was made apparent to me at the induction ceremonies I attended in Vancouver. It is so exciting to see the multi-coloured face of engineering and geoscience today, reflecting the general population so much better than ever before. Our challenge continues to be how APEGBC can best support all members – working in large companies or small, locally or globally, in one jurisdiction or in many.
For more information about me, please view my LinkedIn profile at:http://ca.linkedin.com/in/kathytarnailokhorst
For information about the vision, mission and values of APEGBC, visit:http://apeg.bc.ca/about/mission.html
Official Candidate Statement, 2015 Election
First off, I must clarify: I am neither an interdisciplinary engineer nor an integrated engineer. These are terms typically used to describe someone who has expertise in more than one discipline of engineering, which I do not. Rather, I am an engineer who is also becoming an interdisciplinary scholar. The “f-word” I am referencing has many more than four letters…. [read more]
I am very excited to announce that I have co-founded a new society in my hometown: The Victoria Salon. Our purpose is to promote public debate about relevant – and potentially contentious – issues to better inform us all and to raise the level of knowledge-based decision-making.
Join us on March 24th, 2015, in the Young Auditorium at Camosun College, Lansdowne Campus.
Be it resolved that whereas the citizens of Greater Victoria have elected, through a non-binding question, to explore the concept of Amalgamation, the 13 municipalities must move towards amalgamating civic services as quickly as possible.
PROPONENTS FOR THE RESOLUTION
Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly, PhD bio
Leslie Ewing bio
spare: Shellie Gudgeon bio
OPPONENTS FOR THE RESOLUTION
Jim McDavid, PhD bio
Nils Jensen bio
The following list was blue-skied by Kathy and in no way represents the views of the panellists. Readings to be vetter.
Headed for Splitsfille? Dawn Chafe, Atlantic Business Magazine
WHY MUNICIPAL AMALGAMATIONS? HALIFAX, TORONTO, MONTREAL. Andrew Sancton, University of Western Ontario <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Halifax man starts petition to reopen amalgamation debate. Jacqueline Foster, CTV Atlantic
Alternatives to amalgamation in Australian local government: the case of Walkerville. Brian Dollery, University…
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