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A Look at ABET Accreditation – Understanding the Basics

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2017 ASEE Mid Atlantic Section Spring Conference


Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

Publication Date

April 7, 2017

Start Date

April 7, 2017

End Date

April 8, 2017

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Paper Authors


Rafic Bachnak Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg, The Capital College

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Rafic A. Bachnak is Professor of Electrical Engineering and Director of the School of Science, Engineering, and Technology at Penn State Harrisburg. Previously, Dr. Bachnak was on the faculty of Texas A&M International University, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Northwestern State University, and Franklin University. Dr. Bachnak received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Ohio University. His experience includes several fellowships with NASA and the US Navy Laboratories and employment with Koch Industries. Dr. Bachnak is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Texas, a senior member of IEEE, and a member of ASEE. He has also served as an ABET Program Evaluator on several accreditation visits.

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AB Shafaye Penn State Harrisburg

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AB Shafaye has been a faculty member at Penn State Harrisburg since August 1986. He is currently the chair of Electrical Engineering and Electrical Engineering Technology Programs. In addition, he coordinates the ABET activities for Penn State Harrisburg's three engineering and three engineering technology programs. He is also the internship coordinator for the college's School of Science, Engineering, and Technology.

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Abstract Professional accreditation has become a defacto standard that implies quality of curricula and graduates. ABET has become an international accreditation body that accredits more than 550 programs in more than 28 countries outside the United States. While the focus in recent years has been on having a continuous improvement process that closes the loop and provides improvement that ensures a high quality education, there are many issues that programs must document and address in the self-study report to ensure a smooth accreditation visit. Such issues range from making sure that policies and guidelines which meet ABET criteria are in place to keeping records that provide needed evidence. Understanding accreditation policies, procedures, and requirements greatly improves a program’s ability to manage processes while getting ready to prepare the self-study report in anticipation for the accreditation visit. Programs may seek help from professional organizations, including ABET, who provide many helpful online resources and hands-on training workshops. Such workshops provide attendees with a good understanding of the basic processes and procedures of the accreditation process. They also describe what to expect during the on-site visit and what the due process entails. The paper will review the basic ABET Criteria that need to be fulfilled to ensure a successful accreditation visit. This is discussed from the perspective of an institution that has been recently visited for its engineering technology programs and is preparing for a similar visit for its engineering programs. This information should be especially helpful to programs that plan to go through accreditation for the first time.

Bachnak, R., & Shafaye, A. (2017, April), A Look at ABET Accreditation – Understanding the Basics Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Mid Atlantic Section Spring Conference, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland.

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