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ABET Accreditation of International Technology Programs - A Team Chair’s Perspective

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2016 ASEE International Forum


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 25, 2016

Start Date

June 25, 2016

End Date

June 25, 2016

Conference Session

Concurrent Paper Tracks Session I Accredidation

Tagged Topic

International Forum

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Amitabha Bandyopadhyay State University of New York, Farmingdale

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Dr Bandyopadhyay is a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor of Architecture and Construction Management Department at SUNY-Farmingdale State College. He is also the Director of Green Building Institute at the college. He was (2012-13) the Chair of Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET. He is a Fellow of American Society of Civil Engineers.

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ABET has started accrediting international technology programs through Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC – Technology Accreditation Commission TAC before 2012) about eight years ago. The author had the privilege to chair evaluation teams to four international institutions seeking accreditation for their technology programs. One in Latin America, two institutions in two different countries in Middle East, and one in South East Asia. All of the institutions, except one, had multiple programs. One institution had only baccalaureate level programs, one institution had only associate level program, and rest of two institutions had both baccalaureate and associate level programs. Medium of instructions in all the programs, except one in Latin America, were in English. In author’s opinion all the institutions had some common approaches to accreditation and common strengths in the programs. Similarly, they had some common areas or issues that needed improvements. These are in spite of wide differences in educational and cultural backgrounds of the students and faculty. Even between the two institutions in the Middle East local cultural differences were prominent. First, technical core courses, math and sciences were stressed irrespective of countries and degree level. All of the programs exceeded minimum accreditation requirements and stronger than most of the US domestic programs the author had reviewed (the author had the opportunity to review about twenty five institutions over the last eighteen years). However, most of the programs offered little flexibility of courses in these areas. All of them had very strong laboratory components. Most of the programs had excellent laboratory and physical plant facility. Overall faculty members were highly qualified and significant portion of the faculty members were trained in western countries. A number of faculty members were hired for technology programs because of their achievement in industry. Most of the programs provided adequate instructions and facility for public speaking and presentation skills. Al most all the programs that offered English only instruction had one year of intensive English language training prior to entry in to the formal technology programs. One exception was where primary and secondary education was given in English. Most of the programs were lacking serious instructions in social sciences and humanities at the college level. Some of the time technical faculty members were used for such instruction. Awareness of world current events, except for narrow regional knowledge, and appreciation for diversity were often lacking among the graduating seniors. It appeared the programs often scarified critical and free thinking to train graduates in deep technical knowledge.

Most of the programs had prepared excellent self-studies. The self- studies were in great details, well organized, and followed ABET suggested outlines. Often they included charts, tables, graphs, and flow charts. Most of the assessment and evaluation plans were acceptable; however some used course grades for evidence of achievements of student outcomes. Like many US domestic programs, real purpose of assessments were not clear to many of the programs. Most of the programs had collected more than needed data. However, many faculty members were not involved in planning and execution of assessment process and were unaware of significance of assessment. Thus they thought much of the assessments exercise onerous and unnecessary. Because of these, continuous improvement process was often incomplete and neglected. All of the programs had excellent industry support. Industrial advisory committee members were actively involved with the faculty members and students. All of the programs had excellent placement records. Employer representatives were very happy with the programs and the graduates were valued by the employers. Many of the programs were already recognized or approved or accredited by various European professional organizations. Many programs had collaborations with one or more Western or United Nations’ organizations. Most common response received for reason to seek ABET accreditation were achieving global standards and prestige.

Bandyopadhyay, A. (2016, June), ABET Accreditation of International Technology Programs - A Team Chair’s Perspective Paper presented at 2016 ASEE International Forum, New Orleans, Louisiana.

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