Health and Safety Professionals Alliance (HaSPA) Proposal for Program Accreditation for Generalist OHS Professionals 1

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1 Health and Safety Professionals Alliance (HaSPA) Proposal for Program Accreditation for Generalist OHS Professionals 1 CONTENTS 1 Overview Useful definitions Why accreditation is needed Benefits of program accreditation International implications Goal and objectives Principles underpinning accreditation process Administrative structure Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board Management of the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board Terms of reference of the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board The SIA Academy of University OHS Education and Research and the Australian Council of OHS Professors The Accreditation process Eligible programs Application cycle Initial application Renewal of application Annual return Payment of fees Accreditation criteria Appendices A1 Role statement for Registrar A2 Flow chart describing accreditation process A3 OHS Education Accreditation Application Documents A4 Schedule of fees A 5 Draft AQF and qualification type descriptors Recognition is made of the program accreditation guidelines and criteria of Engineers Australia and the Australian Human Resources Institute in developing this proposal.

2 1 Overview 1.1 Useful definitions As some terms used in the document may be defined in different ways by different people some definitions are provided here for ease of use. Course HaSPA Major study Program Components in a sequence of study. Some people may call this a unit or a topic. Health and Safety Professionals Alliance. Courses comprising at least 50% of the total credit points for a program. A sequence of study leading to a recognised qualification. Some people may call this a course. 1.2 Why accreditation is needed Accreditation of OHS professional education programs is required to: Ensure that OHS professional education programs adequately prepare graduates to enter the workplace as an entry-level OHS professional; Provide a basis for professional certification; Increase industry and community recognition and confidence in OHS professionals. Discussion: In Australia Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) is not a regulated profession and there are no educational or experience requirements for employment as an OHS advisor/coordinator/manager/consultant. There is also substantial variation in OHS education provided by universities which may reflect the specialties of the School in which they reside e.g. health, sciences or engineering; or the interests of the key educators within the program. Consequently there are likely to be gaps in the coverage of some important topics which, to a large extent, are due to the lack of an agreed core body of knowledge for generalist OHS professionals (Toft et al., 2009). The need for a professional certification program was recognised by Maxwell (2004) in reviewing the Victorian OHS legislation and by the Health and Safety Professionals Alliance (HaSPA, 2008). Criteria for certification includes completion of an approved education program or some alternative means of establishing that the applicant has the required knowledge, expertise and competencies; demonstrated practical expertise; and a minimum period of full-time practice or its equivalent. Accreditation of appropriate professional education programs is an important basis for professional certification. 1.3 Benefits of program accreditation Accreditation of OHS professional education programs will:

3 Contribute to public assurance that graduates meet a certain minimum standard of knowledge and skills; (May) provide a basis for international comparability and reciprocal recognition, thus promoting mobility of OHS professionals; Provide guidance for students considering OHS professional education; Provider institutions will benefit through: Display of the Accredited Program logo on program literature in line with conditions of use of the logo; Accredited programs being listed in the SIA on-line list of accredited courses; Graduates of accredited programs being deemed to have met the knowledge requirements for entry to professional certification; Institutions providing accredited programs being eligible to nominate students for the national OHS education awards and educators for the SIA Academy teaching and learning awards; Increased recognition of the value of OHS professional education within the university community. 1.4 International implications The accreditation process has been developed taking account of OHS course accreditation practices in other countries but has not been bound by these practices, thus ensuring a process that suits the Australian context and providing an example to other countries. 1.5 Goal and objectives The overall goal of the accreditation process is to ensure education objectives and graduate capabilities, educational design and review processes, and delivery of learning appropriate to develop graduates equipped with the knowledge and skills to enter the workplace as an entry-level generalist OHS professional 2. This goal will be achieved through: developing co-operation, partnerships and alliances with OHS educators in pursuing common goals in relation to OHS and the profession; providing industry feedback, knowledge and experience in curriculum development to ensure continued professional relevance; developing and promoting OHS course development that enhances professional standing and recognition of OHS professionals. 1.6 Principles underpinning accreditation process The OHS education accreditation process is based on the following principles. 2 The generalist OHS professional is defined as one who applies a multidisciplinary body of knowledge in a unique way to provide enterprises with advice on the organisational arrangements that will lead to the systemic and systematic management and reduction of fatality, injury, disease and ill-health (FIDI).

4 1. The accreditation process acknowledges that fundamentally, the academic quality and standards of programs for education of professionals are primarily secured by the internal quality assurance processes of the institutions. Thus the accreditation process does not prescribe detailed program objectives or content but requires providers to have in place their own mechanisms for validating outcomes and continually improving quality. 2. The accreditation process recognises that each institution and each program is unique and this is to be valued. Thus the criteria for accreditation will be outcome-based allowing institutions the maximum flexibility in achieving the required standards. 3. The accreditation process is intended to be constructive and to respect the expertise and academic autonomy of institutions providing OHS professional education. 4. The accreditation process will, as far as is possible, be aligned with institution quality processes with minimal complexity in the application process. 5. The accreditation process will be open to external scrutiny; conducted in a consultative and consensus-building collegiate fashion, transparent and fair, and balance academic priorities with those of the OHS profession; 6. The accreditation process will be based on self- and peer-assessment for the purpose of publicly and openly assuring adequate standards of education and training of OHS professionals and the constant improvement of quality in OHS professional education. 7. Only full programs will be accredited. The accreditation does not apply to individual courses or part programs 8. Completion of an accredited OHS program is deemed as providing satisfactory evidence of having completed the knowledge component of the requirements for entry-level OHS professional certification. 2 Administrative structure The OHS education accreditation process will be administered through the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board with advice provided to the Board by the Australian Council of OHS Professors. 2.1 Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board The OHS program accreditation process will be managed by a separately incorporated body affiliated with the Safety Institute of Australia titled the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board.

5 Discussion: There is a mixture of approaches taken by other professional bodies: Dieticians Association established a Council of Dietetic Standards and Recognition in 1999; AHRI has a National Accreditation Committee which operates as an independent body with authority to report to the AHRI on accreditation outcomes; IOSH has internal processes for accreditation. Criteria for OHS accreditation body recommended by workshop of professionals: needs an administrative structure; needs independence [consider possible conflicts of interest (universities, employers groups)]; continuity and objectivity. SIA was seen to: Have the administrative structure; Be well known. 2.2 Management of the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board The Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board will be managed by a committee of management chaired by a Registrar. In addition to the Registrar, the Committee of Management will have broad national representation including: Senior OHS professionals (min 2) Senior OHS academics (min 2) Senior education academic (min 1) Industry including employer and union (min 2) OHS regulator (min 1). The inaugural Registrar will be appointed by HaSPA for a period of 12 months. After this time the Registrar will be appointed by (the most appropriate process will be clarified in legal advice). The term of appointment of the registrar shall be two years with the option of renewal where agreed by the incumbent and (to be clarified based on legal advice). The inaugural committee of management will be appointed by HaSPA. Members of the committee of management shall be appointed as individuals based on their expertise and experience related to the activities of OHS professionals and the education of OHS professionals. The committee of management of the Board shall be appointed by (to be clarified based on legal advice). for a term two years with the option for renewal where agreed by (to be clarified based on legal advice).

6 Discussion: Dietitians Association has members of the public with expertise in professions and professional development; elected members of DSAAC, members who have overseas qualifications and other members as appropriate. AHRI has a committee elected by the AHRI Board comprising members nominated by the Board, senior industry representatives from public and private sector with a range of generalist and specialist HR experience (min 4), senior academics (min 2) and a VET representative. Engineers Australia has a panel comprising senior academic and industry practitioners. 2.3 Terms of reference of the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board The Accreditation Board shall manage the OHS education accreditation process by: Meeting at least twice per year and more often as required; Approving guidelines and operating procedures for accreditation; Maintaining a pool of appropriately qualified and trained persons from which persons are drawn to form individual assessment panels; Appointing people to individual accreditation assessment panels; Receiving and reviewing preliminary/provisional accreditation recommendations from the assessment panel; Endorsing recommendations made by the assessment panel or recommending alternative or additional actions including seeking additional information, making visits or other appropriate actions; Taking advice from the Australian Council of OHS Professors in matters relating to OHS education; Maintaining links with industry to ensure relevance and currency of program accreditation criteria; Monitoring information on accredited courses between accreditation cycles and taking action as appropriate; Maintaining links with institutions providing accredited programs; Maintaining links with like-purpose international bodies; Reporting annually to the Board of the Safety Institute of Australia; Members of the committee of management of the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board and others who may form the pool of assessors for the purpose of accrediting OHS professional education programs shall receive appropriate training. 2.4 The SIA Academy of University OHS Education and Research and the Australian Council of OHS Professors The Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board will support the formation of the Australian Council of OHS Professors as a group within the SIA Academy of OHS Education and Research.

7 Any Australian academic with the title Professor or Associate Professor with an education or research role focusing on the prevention of work-related fatality, injury, disease and ill-health may be a member of the Australian Council of OHS Professors. The Council will: Provide a forum for OHS professors to discuss matters of mutual and national concern and importance; Monitor the state of OHS education and research; Consult with and advise universities, government and industry on matters relating to OHS education; Consult and offer advice to the SIA Academy of University OHS Education and Research and the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board. 3 The Accreditation process 3.1 Eligible programs A professional OHS education program is defined as a sequence of study provided by a recognised Higher Education institution where OHS as defined in the OHS Body of Knowledge constitutes a major study and results in the awarding of a bachelor degree, a graduate diploma or masters qualification. Double degrees combining OHS with other professional areas will be considered provided the criteria for accreditation as an OHS program are met. The accreditation is accorded to the education program not to the award title or to the school or faculty. Education programs will be either accredited or not; there will be no ranking or merit grading of the programs. 3.2 Application cycle An initial application may be made at any time for an existing program. Accreditation is awarded for five years. Application for renewal of accreditation may be made at any time to coincide with the insitute s quality processes but must be at least five-yearly. Advice of program changes shall be made as appropriate. New programs may apply for provisional accreditation with a full application made in the final semester of the first graduating cohort. 3.3 Initial application

8 1 Institute tenders course descriptions developed to meet their internal quality processes 3 together with the accreditation Mapping Matrix and Self-Assessment Form and Checklist together with the assessment fee. 2 An assessment panel will be convened by the National OHS Education Accreditation Board to conduct the assessment. As a minimum the assessment panel will comprise one OHS professional and one OHS academic. The assessment panel may be drawn from the members of the committee of management of the Accreditation Board or may be drawn from a pool of qualified assessors established by the committee of management. The composition of the assessment panel will be developed taking account of any actual or potential conflict of interest. 3 A desk audit will be carried out to verify completion of the application and review the documentation and resources against the accreditation criteria. 4 Interviews will be carried out, either face-to-face or by telephone. Interviews may be conducted with academic leaders, course coordinator, teaching staff, administrative staff, past and present students, and possibly employers of past students. 5 A provisional assessment will be made on the basis of the desk audit and interviews. The provisional assessment may be: Accreditation awarded; Accreditation Pending further information or a visit; Accreditation requires significant additional work; Accreditation refused at this time. 6 The provisional recommendation will then put to the full committee of management of the National OHS Education Accreditation Board. The Board may endorse the recommendation of the assessment panel or they may request additional information or a visit. 7 Upon confirmation of accreditation the National OHS Education Accreditation Board shall add the program to its on-line register of accredited programs and send the applicant an Accredited Program Logo. Use of the logo is bound by conditions defined by the National OHS Education Accreditation Board. 8 The Accreditation Board reserves the right to visit an institution providing an accredited program at an agreed time by giving 30 days notice and the agreed time being within 14 days either side of that notice. Notice of a visit does not imply concern for the program but rather part of the quality processes of the Board. 9 In the event that an institute is dissatisfied with the outcome of the accreditation process an application may be made for a review. This application must be made within four weeks of being notified of the decision of the National OHS Education Accreditation Board. Any additional documentation must be submitted at this time. The review process will be as follows: The registrar of the National OHS Education Accreditation Board will convene a review panel comprising persons different to those on the original assessment panel. In 3 An example of the level of detail expected in such documentation will be provided.

9 addition to an OHS professional and OHS academic the review panel shall comprise an education academic and the Registrar of the Board. The review panel will examine the original application and supporting documents, the desk audit summary and any additional submissions from the applicant. The review panel may interview the applicant or may visit the applicant. A final decision by the National OHS Education Accreditation Board will be made within 30 days of the request for review. The decision may be to award accreditation, to list the accreditation application as requiring additional work; or to reject the application. 3.4 Renewal of application Accreditation is awarded for a five year period. Renewal is required before the expiry of the five year period or when the university requires review, whichever is the sooner, 3.5 Annual return Providers of accredited courses will be required to provide an annual return. This statement will require information on: Number of students enrolled in each year level; Number of students graduating with a qualification in that year; Student quality survey results (where conducted and where available); Changes since last return to staffing, other resources, university reporting arrangements, program details or other relevant details together with an assessment of impact of the changes. 3.6 Payment of fees A schedule of fees shall be set by the National OHS Education Accreditation Board. Each application for accreditation shall be accompanied by the approved fee. No additional fee will be is required for assessment of a resubmission following assessment as Accreditation Pending further information or a visit provided the re-submission is made within 30 days of the provider being notified of the assessment, or the visit, whichever is the later. No additional fee is required for conduct of a review following an appeal. There will be no limit or time delay required in making further applications but these will require payment of the accreditation assessment fee.

10 4 Accreditation criteria Discussion: Professions requiring registration tend to have very specific lists of content for their accreditation criteria. AHRI has some very general requirements plus referees Engineers have general content requirements plus quite detailed requirements around structure and management of the program. IOSH criteria focus on content plus an IOSH external examiner. The criteria below are based very loosely on the criteria set out by Engineers Australia taking account of some other professions and IOSH. Criteria Performance measure The academic program 1. Entry-requirements Clearly stated requirements for entry to the program 2. Program information Program information clearly defines the nature and level of the qualification and the graduate outcomes. 3. Program and award title Qualification title is in line with the requirements in the Australian Qualification Framework taking account of the program duration and stated learning outcomes While strongly encouraged, it is not essential that the title include the letters OHS. 5. Program content Program outline and structure is clearly described including graduate attributes, expected education outcomes, course titles and structure, course pathways, 6. The program includes integrated tasks and structured learning experiences that address the conceptual structure of the OHS Body of Knowledge. 7. The program structure, content and learning activities are appropriate to the level of the award taking account of the criteria in the Australian Qualification Framework There is evidence of integration of learning with workplace/professional practice. 9. Learning environment There is evidence that the program is underpinned by clearly enunciated educational theory. 10. There is evidence of current OHS research informing program content. 11. Assessment practices Assessment principles and methodology are clearly enunciated. 12. A range of assessment modes are employed 13. Validity and reliability of assessment modes are demonstrated. 14. Where programs are delivered by distance modes there is evidence that assessment methods address issues of reliability and demonstrated skills as defined in the graduate attributes and stated learning outcomes 4 Refer to Appendix for information on the AQF. 5 Refer to Appendix for information on the AQF course descriptors.

11 Criteria Performance measure 15. Assessment is treated as an integral part of the learning process. 16. Practical facilities Where practical activities are deemed to be essential/desirable there are appropriate facilities available with equipment reasonably representative of current OHS practice. 17. Learning resources Library (electronic and hard copy) are suitable for the content, modes of learning and numbers of students. 18. IT facilities are suitable for the modes of delivery and learning models. 19. IT facilities are reliable and accessible to all students. 20. Student : staff and student-peer interaction There are adequate opportunity and facilities for student: staff and student peer-interaction to enable the development of skills and thinking processes required of an effective entry-level OHS professional. 21. Where programs are delivered via remote campus, off-campus or distance modes the opportunities for student:staff and studentpeer interaction are equivalent to what would be expected for oncampus modes of delivery to enable the development of skills and thinking processes required of an effective entry-level OHS professional.. The operating environment 22. Organisational structure The program sits within a defined faculty/school and there is a statement of commitment to the program by the head of the faculty/school. 23. There is a clearly identified leader of the teaching team for the program. 24. Academic and support staff Teaching staff in sufficient number and capability to ensure the quality and viability of the program. The delivery of a program shall not rely on a single individual. 25. Where sessional staff are employed there is evidence of them being an integral part of the educational process. 26. There are arrangements for input to the teaching program by practicing professionals. 27. There is adequate access to support staff given the nature of the program and student numbers. 28. Academic and educational culture Teaching staff are supported in undertaking professional development. 29. Student support There are adequate facilities for student support and counseling. Quality systems 30. Structure for program review and approval There is a structured review process. 31. Approach to education design and review Educational philosophy underpinning the review process is clearly elucidated. 32. Review process includes Review process includes input by past and present students. 33. stakeholder input Approval and review process includes industry and OHS professional representation. Institutes are encouraged to have at least two certified OHS professionals as part of the program review and approval process.

12 Appendices A1 Role statement for Registrar The Registrar of the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board is shall be a part-time/casual paid position. The role includes: Development and maintenance of policies, procedures and documentation relating to the program accreditation process; Management of the administrative processes related to program accreditation; Act as secretary to the committee of management; Liaison with universities on OHS program accreditation; Conduct of initial assessment of adequacy of application; Collation of statistics on student numbers, graduates etc provided in the annual returns; Preparation of an annual report on accredited programs and student numbers. A2 Flow chart describing accreditation process (To be developed) A3 OHS Education Accreditation Application Documents (To be developed) Mapping document linking university program documentation to accreditation criteria; Mapping document linking course content with components of the OHS Body of Knowledge; Self assessment form; Guidance information on completing the documentation; Conditions of sue of Accredited Program logo. A4 Schedule of fees (To be developed) Fee structure shall take account of discount for assessment of nested programs or where multiple programs are included in the one application.

13 A 5 Draft AQF and qualification type descriptors 6 Bachelor Degree Graduate Diploma Masters by Coursework Level LEVEL SUMMARIES Graduates at this level have. Broad and coherent knowledge and skills for professional work and for further learning. Advanced knowledge and skills for professional or highly skilled work and for further learning. Specialised knowledge and skills for research, and/or professional practice and for further learning. LEARNING OUTCOMES KNOWLEDGE LEARNING OUTCOMES SKILLS to demonstrate LEARNING OUTCOMES KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS are applied to demonstrate. PURPOSE This qualification is designed KNOWLEDGE Graduates of the qualification type will have APPLICATION OF KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS Graduates of the qualification type will be able to: Broad and coherent theoretical and technical knowledge with depth in one or more fields of study or practice. Well developed cognitive, technical and communication skills to select and apply methods and technologies to: analyse and evaluate information to complete a range of activities; analyse, generate and transmit solutions to unpredictable and sometimes complex problems; transfer knowledge, skills and ideas to others. Autonomy, well developed judgment and responsibility: in contexts that require selfdirected work and learning; within broad parameters to provide specialist advice and functions. To qualify individuals who apply a broad and coherent body of knowledge in a range of contexts to enter professional work and/or as a pathway to further learning. A broad and coherent body of knowledge, with depth in the underlying principles and concepts in one or more disciplines as a basis for independent lifelong learning. Cognitive skills to critically review, analyse, consolidate and synthesise knowledge; Cognitive and technical skills to demonstrate a broad understanding of knowledge with depth in some areas; Cognitive and creative skills to exercise critical thinking and judgment in identifying and solving problems with intellectual independence; Communication skills to Advanced theoretical and technical knowledge in one or more fields of study or practice. Advanced cognitive, technical and communication skills to select and apply methods and technologies to: critically evaluate and transform information to complete a range of activities; analyse, generate and transmit solutions to complex problems; transfer knowledge, skills and ideas to others. Autonomy, well developed judgment, adaptability and responsibility as a practitioner or learner. To qualify individuals who apply a body of knowledge in a range of contexts for professional or highly skilled work and/or as a pathway for further learning. Advanced knowledge within a systematic and coherent body of knowledge that may include the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills in a new or existing discipline or professional area. Cognitive skills to critically review, analyse, consolidate and synthesise knowledge and identify and provide solutions to complex problems; Cognitive and communication skills to generate and evaluate complex ideas demonstrating an understanding of theoretical concepts; Specialised technical and creative skills to a field of highly skilled and/or professional Advanced and integrated understanding of a complex body of knowledge in one or more disciplines or areas of practice. Expert, specialised cognitive and technical skills in a body of knowledge or practice to independently: critically analyse, reflect on and interpret complex information, problems, concepts and theories; research and apply established theories to a body of knowledge or practice; interpret and transfer knowledge, skills and ideas to specialist and non-specialist audiences. Autonomy, expert judgment, adaptability and responsibility as a practitioner or learner. To qualify individuals who apply an advanced body of knowledge in a range of contexts for professional practice or scholarship and/or as a pathway for further learning. A body of knowledge that includes the understanding of recent developments in a field of knowledge and/or area of professional practice. Cognitive skills to demonstrate mastery of theoretical knowledge and to critically reflect on theory and professional practice; Cognitive, technical and creative skills to critically investigate, analyse and interpret complex information, problems, concepts and theories and to apply established theories to different bodies of knowledge or practice; 6 Source: Strengthening the AQF: A framework for Australian qualifications. Consultation paper July Australian Qualifications Framework Council A Committee of the Ministerial Council for Tertiary Education and Employment.

14 APPLICATION OF KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS Graduates will be able to... NOTIONAL DURATION OF STUDENT LEARNING Bachelor Degree Graduate Diploma Masters by Coursework present a clear, coherent and independent exposition of knowledge and ideas. Apply knowledge and skills: using judgment and initiative in professional practice and/or scholarship; to adapt knowledge and skills in diverse contexts; to take responsibility and accountability for own learning and professional practice and collaboration with others within broad parameters. practice; Communication skills to transfer complex knowledge and ideas to a variety of audiences. Apply knowledge and skills: to make high level, independent judgments in a range of technical or management functions in varied specialised contexts; to initiate, plan, implement and evaluate broad functions within varied specialised technical and/or creative contexts; to demonstrate responsibility and accountability for personal outputs and all aspects of the work function of others within broad parameters. Cognitive, technical and creative skills to generate and evaluate complex ideas and concepts at an abstract level; Communication and technical research skills to justify theoretical propositions, methodologies, conclusions and professional decisions to specialist and non-specialist audiences; Technical and communication skills to design, evaluate, implement, analyse and theorise about developments that contribute to professional practice or coursework. Apply knowledge and skills: to demonstrate creativity and initiative in the application of knowledge and skills to new situations in professional practice and/or for further learning; to demonstrate high level personal autonomy and accountability; to demonstrate the planning and execution of a substantial research-based project, capstone experience or piece of scholarship. 3-4 years. 1-2 years. 1-2 years: 1 year following a 4 year level 7 or 8 qualification; 2 years following a 3 year level 7 or 8 qualification. Duration may also be up to 4 years, following a level 7 or 8 qualification, to prepare graduates for entry to a regulated profession. These qualification descriptors are given for information only. OHS educators should ensure they refer to the current version of the AQF for the purposes of program design or application for accreditation.

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