Richard Westwood is a Professor and the Chair of the Department of Environmental Studies and Science at the University of Winnipeg. In this capacity, he is responsible for overseeing the programs that the Department delivers, but perhaps more importantly, how those programs benefit students both during their studies and when they enter the workforce after graduation.
And he strongly believes that being Accredited through ECO Canada gives the University of Winnipeg’s students an edge.
“One of the first questions parents ask is, ‘what kind of job are they going to get?’ Our partnership with and accreditation through ECO Canada allows us to supply the students with information on our programs that we can steer them to.”
Professor Westwood adds, “we can direct potential and current students to ECO Canada, knowing that our curriculum aligns with the labour market research and trends that they’ve identified.”
Established in 2009, ECO Canada has accredited 33 post-secondary environmental programs across Canada through its Canadian Environmental Accreditation Commission. These programs demonstrate high standards of environmental competency outcomes for students.
“Our Accreditation gives students the confidence to know that the education and experiences they receive at the University of Winnipeg will be applicable to the greater working world.”
ECO accomplishes this by leveraging its extensive and ongoing body of labour market research to figure out how changing dynamics in environmental employment, government policy, and sector trends affect the demand for and delivery of post-secondary programs, the benefits of which transcend the student body.
“Accreditation helps our program stay on the agenda at the University.”
Professor Westwood describes the current allocation of scarce university resources in Canada as, “a Darwinian battle for survival” among departments, and points out that their partnership with ECO Canada through accreditation gives the Department of Environmental Studies and Science an edge.
“As with any university, there’s always a competition for resources. What Accreditation does from an institutional point of view is that it not only provides legitimacy for our program, but we can demonstrate what we need to do in order to maintain Accreditation.”
Professor Westwood credits ECO Canada for the robustness and relevancy of the program reviews that the Canadian Environmental Accreditation Commission has developed. It not only assists the University of Winnipeg develop its strategic plan, but allows it to target the highest-growing areas of environmental education to ensure that the University focuses on programs of study that provide the greatest benefits to students and the environmental sector as a whole.