Catalyzing the Engineering Education Ecosystem in Canada


The Engineering Education ecosystem in Canada has evolved organically over the past several decades into its present complex form. A dynamic entity, it is comprised of variegated institutional cultures, multiple provincial and national governing bodies, and numerous initiatives and organizations. Each of these entities serves related but individual purposes to support educators and drive innovation. The need for better organization and coordination of these national initiatives has been acknowledged and discussed within the community for several years. 


E-CORE/CIEL is facilitating a systematic research approach to bring engineering education leaders and influencers together as a working group to coordinate the infrastructure for this national ecosystem of initiatives. 

The members of the working group represent various Canadian engineering education initiatives (e.g. CEEA-ACEG, E-CORE/CIEL, EGAD, ECL, DIEEN, etc.), as well as Engineering Deans Canada, several members of which have sponsored this work. The national ecosystem of initiatives is targeted towards all engineering institutions and educators in Canada, including instructors, administrators, staff, educational developers, teaching assistants, and anyone working to enhance the education of future engineers. Together, these groups make up the key stakeholders of this work.


Establish an actionable plan towards a viable and sustainable model for the ecosystem of Engineering Education initiatives in Canada. This plan will identify opportunities to connect individual engineering education initiatives to build relationships, optimize resource use, encourage growth, and increase impact of the ecosystem while maintaining the current strengths and objectives of the organizations within the ecosystem. 

Short-Term Vision

Long-Term Vision

For a viable and sustainable ecosystem of Engineering Education initiatives in Canada which has a clear identity and access points, includes strong connections between initiatives, supports ongoing development and innovation, and is ultimately positioned to engage with key stakeholders to improve Engineering Education across Canada.
This short-term vision and our mission play into a larger vision that we have for the entirety of Canadian Engineering Education and the profession more broadly.
In the long-term, our group envisions a thriving, sustainable engineering education ecosystem in Canada that brings together educators, students, industry, and partner organizations in a culture that is recognized and appreciated within Canada and globally as: focused on the student learning experience; a space for continual innovation; and rooted in scholarship and research. This culture will foster the education of the next generation of innovative, creative, adaptable, and socially responsible engineers.


In order to fulfill our mission and contribute to both our short- and long-term visions, we have established a set of values to guide our work: 

  1. Work collaboratively with key stakeholders across the Canadian system to ensure outcomes are accessible and clearly communicated to all 
  2. Have a systems-level focus to account for complexity and different interconnected frames of the Canadian Eng. Ed. system
  3. Act with urgency and agility, given the time constraints, but pivot and iterate as necessary
  4. Consider utility and relevance and link work to longer-term objectives beyond current pandemic circumstances
  5. Be informed by and consult relevant research, including higher education change management literature, social learning theories, etc.

Strategies & Approach

We have established four main strategies to achieve our mission and build towards our short-term vision of a viable and sustainable ecosystem of Engineering Education initiatives. 

Building Understanding & Awareness

Ensure that key elements of the Canadian engineering education ecosystem are understood, clearly communicated, and easily accessible, including an understanding of the structure of the ecosystem, an awareness of the organizations/key players, roles, benefits, and constraints present, and ways to access various communities and elements of the ecosystem.  

Building Community

Engage in reciprocal communication with a range of stakeholders (e.g. individuals, universities, initiatives) to support multiple interests and foster communities within the support ecosystem that enable collaboration, networking, mentoring, and personal and professional development opportunities.

Optimizing Current System & Logistics

Establish operational processes to ensure the communication and coordination between different initiatives in the ecosystem regarding: activities, key players, resource needs (financial, capacity, etc.), knowledge collection and dissemination, and opportunities to engage. 
Ensure these processes enable the avoidance of duplication of efforts and the identification and addressing of overlaps between initiatives and gaps and between them.

Improving System & Building Resiliency for Future

Enhance cohesion of engineering education initiatives by building in processes which foster organizations to work towards collective transformational goals. 
Ensure that the ecosystem not only supports ongoing improvement and development of engineering education, but also is resilient and has mechanisms in place to grow and adapt to address emerging challenges and support new initiatives.

The overall working group approach is informed by ethnography and systems design approaches. Our process is being informed primarily by Collaborative Inquiry (Heron & Reason, 2001), Change Management (Elrod & Kezar, 2016), and Design Thinking (Stanford d school). If you have any questions about this work or the working group, reach out to our team at [email protected]