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Asee’s New Role As The Lead Society For Abet Accreditation Review Of Multidisciplinary Engineering Programs: An Update And A Look Ahead

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

ABET Accreditation of Multidisciplinary Programs

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.259.1 - 12.259.14

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Paper Authors


James Farison Baylor University

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Dr. Jim Farison is currently professor and chair of the ECE Department at Baylor University, and is also administratively responsible for Baylor's B.S. in Engineering program. He currently serves as chair of ASEE's Multidisciplinary Engineering Division, and is a member of the ASEE Accreditation Activities Committee. He received his B.S.E.E. from The University of Toledo and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University, before returning to serve on the faculty at UT in the EE and then the Bioengineering departments, and including 10 years as dean of engineering in between, before moving to Baylor in 1998. He is a fellow of ASEE, a senior member of IEEE, a member of the ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission, and holds PE registration in Ohio and Texas.

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Carmen Li Shen Baylor University

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Ms. Carmen C. Li Shen received her B.S. degree in May 2006 from, and is currently a graduate student in, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University. She is a member of the Eta Kappa Nu Electrical and Computer Engineering national honor society and of Golden Key national honor society, and currently serves as the Society of Women Engineers chapter webmaster at Baylor. Carmen was born in Ecuador and came to the United States in 2002.

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

ASEE’S New Role as the Lead Society for ABET Accreditation Review of Multidisciplinary Engineering Programs: An Update and a Look Ahead


As the result of the ABET Board of Directors action in spring 2005, ASEE is now the lead society for the accreditation evaluation of multidisciplinary engineering programs for accreditation visits that began in the fall of 2006. In this context, the terminology “multidisciplinary engineering programs” is defined as the set of engineering programs with one of the following program titles (with a few slight variations): Engineering (including General Engineering), Engineering Physics, and Engineering Science(s). This paper presents information about ASEE’s new role, including the related activities of its Accreditation Activities Committee, the recruiting and training of prospective program evaluators and their participation in the actual accreditation process, some perspective from the first year of actual visits, and other information about the near future. Also included is information about the 67 multidisciplinary engineering programs at 65 institutions that are currently accredited by ABET and now assigned to ASEE for program review.


One of the significant distinctions of a substantial number of engineering programs is that they intentionally do not align naturally with any “traditional discipline” (such as civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, etc.). Such programs have been called “non- traditional” or, more recently, “multidisciplinary” engineering programs. In the context of this paper, they include programs called engineering, general engineering, engineering science, engineering physics, and a few other similar program titles. At this writing, there are 67 accredited engineering programs that are classified in this category by ABET.

Extensive information about some of the typical characteristics of multidisciplinary engineering programs is available elsewhere.1,2,3 For example, one study2 suggested a classification of engineering (including general engineering) and engineering science programs that sought to identify and distinguish the institutional purposes for these programs as one of three purposes: “philosophical,” “flexible,” or “instrumental.” One thing these programs clearly were not was “disciplinary,” as used here.

Multidisciplinary Engineering Programs and Their Accreditation

A unique characteristic of these multidisciplinary engineering programs has been that they do not have the additional “program criteria” for accreditation that the “traditional” programs and most others do. Indeed, the novelty, variety, and interdisciplinary nature of these “multidisciplinary” programs would not easily accommodate the type of additional program criteria that the traditional programs have.

Farison, J., & Li Shen, C. (2007, June), Asee’s New Role As The Lead Society For Abet Accreditation Review Of Multidisciplinary Engineering Programs: An Update And A Look Ahead Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii.

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: © 2007 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