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Abet Is Coming! Getting Faculty Involved

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Documenting Success

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.116.1 - 10.116.9



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Paper Authors

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Carl Bern

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Brian Steward

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Amy Kaleita-Forbes

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Steven Mickelson

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Thomas Brumm

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

Session 2508

ABET is Coming! Getting Faculty Involved

Thomas J. Brumm Steven K. Mickelson Brian L. Steward Amy L. Kaleita Carl J. Bern

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Iowa State University Ames, Iowa USA


Faculty participation in outcomes assessment is critical to a successful ABET review, yet many faculty view assessment as merely an additional time-consuming task piled on top of the many things they already have to do. Enthusiasm for outcomes assessment can be in short supply. The Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) Department at Iowa State has its ABET review in 2006. We have been working for the past two years to engage our faculty in outcomes assessment, with a fair degree of success. This paper discusses the activities we’ve used to help fellow faculty members become active participants in learning and outcomes assessment, and how we’ve addressed impediments to their involvement. We’ll discuss the ABE Learning Circle, faculty workshops, curriculum development, and one-on-one assistance provided to faculty to integrate outcomes assessment into the courses they teach. While faculty participation in the process can always be improved, we believe we are well on our way to successful preparation for our 2006 ABET review.


Every ABET-accredited engineering program across the country hears the same call every six years: ABET is coming! How programs react to that call varies considerably, from panic to procrastination to (occasionally) a deliberate and considered approach. The task of preparing the ABET self-study report often falls to one or two faculty members, who throw themselves into the task for six months before the reporting deadline, often to the exclusion of their other scholarly duties.

The new outcomes-based ABET accreditation criteria1 emphasizes that the assessment process should be one of continuous improvement, not a massive outpouring of effort every six years by a few faculty members. Continuous improvement must involve all faculty engaged in teaching and learning within a program, or it is doomed to failure. But, how do you engage faculty when there are so many other demands on their time, many of which relate to promotion and tenure?

The Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) Department at Iowa State University has implemented an assessment process that focuses on involving faculty at three different levels: individual courses, the curriculum committee and the faculty as a whole2. A map of our outcomes assessment process is given in Figure 1. Our process primarily involves the

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Bern, C., & Steward, B., & Kaleita-Forbes, A., & Mickelson, S., & Brumm, T. (2005, June), Abet Is Coming! Getting Faculty Involved Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15498

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