CIA (e)Bulletin/(e)Bulletin de l'ICA
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February 2016

Where We Have Been, Where We Are Going

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By Angelita Graham, FCIA

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step". Lao Tzu

As I come to the end of my leg of the relay and pass the baton to the next Education and Eligibility Council (EEC) chair, I can’t help but reflect on the laps completed and the laps remaining on the CIA education journey. I am proud of what the EEC has accomplished over the last few years and excited about what lies ahead.

During my past two years as EEC chair, we have overseen the completion and introduction of a number of initiatives/projects, including the following:

  • The Graduate Scholarship Program;
  • The formation of the CIA Education Syllabus Committee;
  • The finalization of the CIA’s first education syllabus, which was approved at the November 2015 Board meeting, and that will be posted on the CIA’s website;
  • The continuing professional development (CPD) needs analysis;
  • The University Accreditation Program (UAP) first principle review; and
  • The CIA’s 50th Anniversary Celebration last June in Ottawa.

As with all great organizations, we must continue to evolve in order to remain relevant. As General Eric Shinseki once said "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less". The CIA recognizes this and education is one of the Board’s strategic objectives for 2016. The EEC has been tasked with overseeing/leading a number of exciting projects/initiatives in the coming years. Below is a brief summary of some of the projects in the pipeline that I believe will be transformational for the CIA’s education system.

1) Practice Education Course (PEC)

The PEC has been a very valuable component of our education system since it first launched in 2000, providing an interactive and practical venue for fellowship-level candidates to share knowledge and learn. The CIA plans to build on this platform to provide a more comprehensive offering.

The CIA Education Syllabus Committee is busy working on plans for the new PEC—PEC 2.0. The new PEC will address some of the skills required for us to compete in a rapidly changing environment, today and into the future. The vision is that in addition to track-specific workshops, communication, business acumen, and professionalism content would be incorporated into PEC 2.0. A significant focus would be on using case studies and group workshop methods to enhance the learning experience.

We strongly believe that these changes will enhance the skill sets of our future actuaries. We are not alone in this belief. The International Actuarial Association, in the new education syllabus it is working on, has included communication and decision-making skills as core competencies that actuaries should have.

In addition to the changes to PEC 2.0, consideration is also being given to making the new offering available to existing Fellows of the CIA who are interested in broadening their skill sets.

The EEC is expected to present the transition plan for PEC 2.0 to the Board for approval by the June Board meeting. Once approved, the details and transition plans will be shared with members.

2) Task Force on the Future Vision of CIA Education

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." L.C. Megginson

The CIA is operating in a rapidly changing environment. The expectations and needs of our various stakeholders have been evolving and continue to evolve. We need to be responsive.

The EEC has undertaken a high-level review of the CIA education system. The Task Force on the Future Vision of CIA Education was recently formed by the EEC to take a holistic view of the CIA education system, including the overall design and a cost-benefit analysis of our various delivery methods—whether delivered through our valued education partners or through our own CIA offerings.

This task force is expected to report its findings to the Board by September 2016.

3) Committee on Continuing Education (CCE)

The CCE is embarking on a strategic review of the delivery of CPD to our membership. This review will entail a look not only at the contents of what we deliver to the membership, but also the structure and timing of the current seminars to ensure that they meet our members’ needs—should the meeting format/length be revisited, should we collaborate with relevant non-actuarial firms? The answers to these questions will inform how we move forward in the delivery of CPD. The result of this review is expected later this year.

Finally, I would like to thank all the individuals I have had the good fortune of working closely with over the years, as a member of the EEC and during my time as chair. Thank you for your dedication and hard work over the years. A special thank you to the Head Office staff, who are truly a set of committed and dedicated individuals. This has been a great adventure; I have personally learned so much along the way that has made my experience quite rewarding.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "life is a progress, and not a station". I wish the next EEC chair great success as he runs his lap of the journey.

Angelita Graham, FCIA, is Chair of the Eligibility and Education Council.


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