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Abet 2000: What Are The Most Important Criteria To The Supervisors Of New Engineering Undergraduates?

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.64.1 - 3.64.8



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Peter A. Koen

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Pankaj Kohli

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

Session 3257

ABET 2000: What are the most important criteria to the supervisors of new engineering undergraduates?

Peter A. Koen, Pankaj Kohli ASEE/ Stevens Institute of Technology and Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey


Engineering curricula in the next millennium will be guided by outcome assessments. ABET Engineering criteria 2000 establishes 11 proficiencies. Which attributes are more important? This study focuses on determining the critical attributes from supervisors of Stevens Institute of Technology engineering graduates in the last 3 years (1994, 1995, and 1996) in order to better determine the industry skill set required of recent alumni. The most important attributes, in order of priority, were problem solving, ability to design and conduct experiments, recognition of the need to engage in life-long learning, understanding of professional and ethical responsibility and an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams. Of less importance were depth and breath of engineering science indicating that the new curriculums will need to emphasize the “softer skills.” Recent graduates attribute prioritization were nearly identical to their supervisors which further reinforces the relative importance of the attributes previously indicated.

I. Introduction

The new ABET criteria uses outcome assessment and indicates that graduates from engineering programs should demonstrate proficiencies in 11 critical areas1. While there is general agreement that these are the critical attributes necessary for engineering graduates there is no consensus as to which of the attributes are more important and should be stressed in an undergraduate program. The most important proficiencies need to be prioritized so that human and financial resources, new and revised curriculum may be structured to focus on the most important areas.

An assessment done at Arizona State University2 found that the top five attributes, in terms of relative importance, by 17 industry representatives were problem solving, communication skills, ethics and professionalism, open mindiness and positive attitude, and math and science proficiency. Industry representatives were from companies that employ new engineering graduates. Their function within their company was not discussed.

A similar assessment done at Auburn University3 found that the top five attributes, in terms of relative importance, by 298 industry representatives were the ability to learn on one’s own, technical knowledge in a major engineering discipline, written communication skills, oral communication skills and experience with software to solve practical problems. Industry representatives were chosen from companies which place position announcements at Auburn or participate in the engineering cooperative education program. Thirty-six percent of the respondents were from human resource functions.

Koen, P. A., & Kohli, P. (1998, June), Abet 2000: What Are The Most Important Criteria To The Supervisors Of New Engineering Undergraduates? Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--6903

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