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Abet And The Accreditation Of Applied Sciences Programs

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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

Multidisciplinary Programs: Look Ahead

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.132.1 - 9.132.6

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Paper Authors

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Steven Johnson

author page

John Weese

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

ABET and the Accreditation of Applied Sciences Programs By John A. Weese, Texas A&M University & Steven D. Johnson, Purdue University

Introduction ASEE members are quite familiar with ABET accreditation of engineering and engineering technology programs. A vast quantity of information about the accreditation of all ABET programs is available at the ABET website1. This paper discusses the ABET accreditation of programs in applied sciences through the Applied Sciences Accreditation Commission (ASAC). There are mutually beneficial opportunities for ABET and ASEE to work together to promote the profession through this relatively new ABET commission. First, it is useful to review a sketch of ABET’s history.

ABET was founded in 1932 as the Engineers Council for Professional Development (ECPD). The first date for the accreditation of engineering programs is 1936. In just a couple of years, a good number of engineering programs will celebrate 70 years of continuous accreditation. Shortly after WW II, ECPD began accrediting associate degree programs. In the late 1960’s ECPD began accrediting BS programs in engineering technology. In the present ABET organization, engineering programs are accredited under the aegis of the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) and those in engineering technology are accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC). With the recent merger of ABET and the Computer Science Accreditation Board (CSAB), the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) was created, which deals with the accreditation of programs in computer science.

Soon after the reorganization from ECPD to ABET, it was recognized that there was a need for the accreditation of programs that are related to but different from either engineering or engineering technology. This led to the formation of the Related Accreditation Commission (RAC), which began to function during 1984-1985. The RAC name was changed to the Applied Sciences Accreditation Commission (ASAC) at the time of the merger of ABET and CSAB. With almost two decades of operational experience with the RAC and ASAC, it is mutually beneficial for ABET and ASEE to bring an update of the features of this organization to the attention of ASEE members because there are definitely opportunities to work together to bring new program areas involving the applied sciences .

As this paper is being prepared, the four commissions are working on updated definitions of engineering, technology, applied science, and computer science that will be recommended for adoption by the ABET Board. The definitions will guide new programs in determining which commission will be most effective in evaluating the program. Issues that are common to the several commissions, such as definitions, are discussed by the Accreditation Council. The Accreditation Council has been in existence since 2001, and it is comprised of representatives from each commission. The commissions work together through the Accreditation Council to develop policy for recommendation to the ABET Board and improve consistency of accreditation processes.

Johnson, S., & Weese, J. (2004, June), Abet And The Accreditation Of Applied Sciences Programs Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2004 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015