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Assessing Overall Competence Of Faculty: Ec Criterion 5

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.210.1 - 6.210.12

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Paper Authors

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Robert Marine

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Carol Colbeck

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Alberto Cabrera

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

Session 3630

Assessing Overall Competence of Faculty: EC Criterion 5 Carol L. Colbeck, Alberto F. Cabrera, Robert J. Marine The Pennsylvania State University


ABET self-study directions require engineering departments to discuss the competence of their faculty. This paper describes the structure, content, and measurement characteristics of a Web- based Engineering Faculty Survey that addresses ABET requirements to assess “the overall competence of faculty.” The survey can also be used as a diagnostic to assess what individual and organizational factors are associated with teaching methods such as team-based design projects or use of traditional lecture and textbook problem sets. The Engineering Faculty Survey, developed for the NSF-funded ECSEL coalition, gathers information about individual demographic characteristics, industry and academic experience, sources and applications (education or basic research) of funding, publication productivity, teaching goals, self- assessment of skills, perceptions of rewards and resources available for teaching, and teaching methods. Analyses reveal contrasting sets of variables associated with the use of team-based design projects and traditional teaching methods.


“The faculty is the heart of any educational program” according to Criterion 5 of ABET’s Engineering Criteria 2000 1. This criterion stipulates that “the overall competence of faculty may be judged by such factors as education, diversity of backgrounds, engineering experience, teaching experience, ability to communicate, enthusiasm for developing more effective programs, level of scholarship, participation in professional societies, and registration as Professional Engineers.” ABET self-study directions require institutions to discuss the competency of faculty and to describe their involvement with students, in professional development, and interactions with industry.

While faculty may be the “heart” of engineering education programs, most ABET-related activities have focused far more on efforts to demonstrate that graduates of their bachelor’s degree programs have achieved the competencies outlined in EC 2000 Criterion 3. Student competencies specified by Criterion 3 include abilities “to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs,” “to function on multi-disciplinary teams,” “to apply knowledge of mathematics, science & engineering,” and “to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.” The implicit linkages between “the overall competence of faculty” and the development of student competencies can and should be make explicit.

There are two important links between engineering programs, faculty, and competent engineering graduates. The first is the link between faculty teaching and student learning.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright À 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Marine, R., & Colbeck, C., & Cabrera, A. (2001, June), Assessing Overall Competence Of Faculty: Ec Criterion 5 Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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