EPC response to QAA Consultation on the revised Engineering Subject Benchmark Statement

The EPC responded to the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) draft Engineering subject benchmark statement consultation to highlight that the statement could do more to promote ethics and sustainability. The full response is outlined below.

These Statements are reviewed on a cyclical basis to ensure they are as useful as possible for discipline communities and can inform a range of purposes across the sector, including course design and providing support for securing academic standards. Alongside discipline-specific information, the revised Statements consider the role of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), enterprise and entrepreneurship, and accessibility for disabled students within the context of the respective discipline area. The EPC has been represented on the Advisory Group which helps ensure each review considers a diverse and broad spectrum of intelligence, opinion and experience.

The EPC team also compiled an opinion piece, the engineering benchmark statement is invaluable, let’s defend it well to engage our members in this consultation.

EPC response (November 2022)

Overall, does the revised Subject Benchmark Statement continue to define the nature of the subject area and the academic standards expected of graduates?

Yes. It is adequate; however, we feel that ethics, EDI and sustainability elements need to be strengthened throughout.

Does the information in the introductory sections successfully describe the context, characteristics and purpose of the subject?

Yes. It would be good to see more emphasis on the transformative nature of studying engineering, personally, economically and socially.

Does the section on benchmark standards adequately cover the skills expected of a graduate in the subject area?

Yes. It would be good to see communication, leadership and digital skills more prominently featured.

Do the sections on learning and teaching, content, and assessment provide an appropriate indication of these aspects of the subject area?

Yes. We would welcome clearer reference to interdisciplinarity in this section.

Do the sections on Education for Sustainable Development, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, Accessibility and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion clearly express the needs of the subject and students in relation to these areas?

Education for Sustainable Development              

Yes. It is adequate; however, this stops short within the draft of being the golden thread it should be.

Stronger support for embedding the UN Sustainable Development Goals within curriculum design, pedagogy and assessment would be welcomed.

Enterprise and Entrepreneurship             

Yes. The responsibility for student safeguarding and support during industrial placement should be more clearly highlighted.

Accessibility

Yes.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Yes. It is adequate; however, equality, diversity and inclusion should be a golden thread throughout the statement.

In Section 1, Safety and Security topics have been grouped. Do you support this alignment?

Yes.

In Section 1, Industry and Entrepreneurship have been grouped. Do you support this alignment/grouping/structure?  

Yes.

Is there sufficient emphasis on Equality Diversity and Inclusion throughout the document? Is more detail required and if so where? 

Yes

It is adequate; however, while equality, diversity and inclusion features, it appears to be diluted by other elements. Equality, diversity and inclusion should be a golden thread throughout the statement and embedded in practice. This is not adequately reflected in the statement.

Is there sufficient emphasis on Ethics and Inclusion throughout the document? Is more detail required and if so where? 

Yes

It is adequate; however, while ethics and inclusion features, it appears to be diluted by other elements. Ethics and inclusion should be a golden thread throughout the statement and embedded in practice. This is not adequately reflected in the statement.

Please use this space to add any further observations relating to the revised Subject Benchmark Statement not covered in the questions above.

The EPC has fed comments made by the EPC membership back into the draft at earlier stages and is largely happy with the draft subject benchmark statement overall. However, we feel that ethics, EDI and sustainability elements need to be strengthened throughout, especially having looked at what we have and comparing it the Computing Subject Benchmark.

The EPC has also actively contributed to and supports the Royal Academy of Engineering’s National Engineering Policy Centre response. We particularly support their suggestions that a more effective approach may be to ensure that ethics, inclusion, diversity and sustainability are emphasised consistently across all sections of the document, rather than a focus on separate sections for each.

It is lovely that the EPC toolkits have been referenced, supporting sharing of best practice rather than inventing new.

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