Results of vote to gauge interest in exploring accreditation of Canadian physics programs

Physics departments across Canada were recently asked to vote on whether they are interested in having the CAP explore the possibility of developing a system for accreditation of Canadian physics programs. The CAP Board specified that a majority of departments offering BSc programs in Physics was required to vote in favour in order to justify the resources required to pursue this.

A total of 23 departments submitted a vote, with 12 voting in favour and 11 opposed. There were no trends in large vs small departments, eastern vs western departments etc. While the majority of departments who participated did vote in favour, the threshold of a majority of departments across Canada voting in favour was not met. As a result, the CAP Board does not feel that support was strong enough to justify proceeding with this issue at this time.

The main reason that departments voted against the motion was that they did not feel that the advantage of program accreditation or program standards justified the increase in administrative effort required to mount such a program. However, we expect discussion of this issue will continue as this appears to be a trend amongst sister societies. The UK Institute of Physics (IOP) currently accredits physics programs in the UK as part of its CPhys process and the American Physical Society (APS) is exploring professional standards that might be established for a BS degree in Physics. 

A document which introduces the issue and provides some background information is attached. 

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jan2015-exploring-interest-in-accreditation-of-canadian-physics-programs-background-notes.pdf 94.38 KB