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A Handbook To Address Abet Criterion 4 Issues

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

ABET Criterion 4 and Liberal Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.45.1 - 9.45.7

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Paper Authors

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Tim Healy

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3461

A Handbook to Address ABET Criterion Four Issues

Tim Healy Santa Clara University


The School of Engineering at Santa Clara University has developed an Engineering Handbook to address a number of issues that have often not been treated in engineering programs. These include the eight issues specified by ABET under Criterion Four, as well as three additional issues that are of particular interest to Santa Clara University. In ABET’s words1:

“Students must be prepared for engineering practice through the curriculum culminating in a major design experience based on the knowledge and skills acquired in earlier course work and incorporating engineering standards and realistic constraints that include most of the following considerations: economic; environmental; sustainability; manufacturability; ethical; health and safety; social; and political.”

In developing the Engineering Handbook, Santa Clara University has added three other considerations: usability, compassion and lifelong learning.

Criterion Four also calls for:

“a general education component that complements the technical content of the curriculum and is consistent with the program and institution objectives.”

Some of ABET’s eight specific considerations have close ties to the general education component, most notably: ethical, social, political and economic.

In addition to helping meet Criterion Four objectives, the Handbook is designed to serve an important integrative role, by showing students how the ABET considerations relate to the traditional technical components of the curriculum, and at the same time how they relate to the liberal education of the engineer.

The Handbook is designed to be used throughout the four-year curriculum. Faculty assign a reading from one of the chapters and then give an assignment that follows from the reading. By the time the students reaches the senior design project he or she is ready to seriously address the ABET considerations. Moreover, the student has had the Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Healy, T. (2004, June), A Handbook To Address Abet Criterion 4 Issues Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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