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A Process For Developing And Implementing An Assessment Plan In Chemical Engineering Departments

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.33.1 - 4.33.7

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Paper Authors

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Thomas C. Owens

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Steven P. K. Sternberg

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Rashid A. Hasan

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John J. Erjavec

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Heidi L. Newell

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James A. Newell

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

Session 3513

A Process for Developing and Implementing an Assessment Plan in Chemical Engineering Departments

James A. Newell1 , Heidi L. Newell1, Thomas C. Owens2, John J. Erjavec2, Rashid A. Hasan2, and Steven P. K. Sternberg2 1 College of Engineering, Rowan University/ 2Department of Chemical Engineering University of North Dakota

I. Introduction

The assessment requirements imposed by the new ABET Engineering Criteria 2000 [1] initially appear daunting. Even the terminology is initially confusing. Compounding the challenge is that engineering faculty typically lack experience in conducting outcomes assessment. Several authors have made analogies between the outcomes process of assessment and chemical process control loops [2,3]. Although these may be useful analogies for defining the purpose, they may not provide many specific ideas on how to approach such a large and ill-defined problem as program assessment. No matter how hard we try, we cannot use Laplace transforms and transfer functions to make our problems go away. Instead, we must recognize that we must face these new challenges head on.

The University of North Dakota was slated to be a pilot program for re-accreditation review under Engineering Criteria 2000 in the fall of 1997. Unfortunately, the massive flooding of the nearby Red River of the North in the spring of 1997 caused the accreditation visit to be postponed for one year. Although the flood was devastating to the city, the University, and the houses of the faculty, it did save us from going up for accreditation prematurely. We were not ready!

We had spent time rewriting mission statements and asking ourselves how do we know whether our students are really learning. Like most programs, we saved everything: tests, final exams, lab reports, homework assignments, journal entries, etc. However, we still had no real plan as to what we should do with them. With the extra time, we began a series of discussions, planning sessions and activities that helped us finally address the pivotal issues. In the fall of 1998, the Chemical Engineering program at the University of North Dakota was fully accredited under Engineering Criteria 2000. The site visit culminated a year-long process of preparing and implementing an assessment plan.

We wanted to write a paper that provided practical suggestions that may not appear in a manual. The remainder of this paper is devoted to providing answers to questions that we struggled with and to providing advice for other departments .

Owens, T. C., & Sternberg, S. P. K., & Hasan, R. A., & Erjavec, J. J., & Newell, H. L., & Newell, J. A. (1999, June), A Process For Developing And Implementing An Assessment Plan In Chemical Engineering Departments Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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