June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.203.1 - 15.203.13
Assessing Program Educational Objectives Using a Web-Based Alumni Survey System
ABET’s Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs for 2009-2010 defines Program Educational Objectives (PEOs) as “broad statements that describe the career and professional accomplishments that the program is preparing the graduates to achieve.” The criteria further states that “each program for which an institution seeks accreditation or reaccreditation must have in place an assessment and evaluation process that periodically documents and demonstrates the degree to which these objectives are attained.”1 For EAC-ABET visits in 2007- 2008, 36.7% of the engineering programs visited received a PEO related weakness at the conclusion of the visit.2
In 2001, the Civil Engineering Program at the University of Evansville began surveying alumni electronically using a web-based system. Surveys were conducted bi-annually from 2001-2009, and response rates ranged from 67% to 78%. Survey questions were developed to assess the program’s educational objectives (PEO) as required by EAC-ABET. The alumni survey provided the program with valuable direct assessment data such as the percentage of graduates working in specific civil engineering specialty areas, the percentage of graduates that are members of ASCE, the percentage that are registered professional engineers, and the number that have attended continuing education courses in the past 24 months, obtained a graduate degree, traveled outside the country, and are working for organizations that consider sustainable development in the design of public and private projects.
The bi-annual alumni survey is administered by the faculty and staff in the program and conducted over a 60 day period during February and March of odd numbered years. The electronic survey is targeted to alumni within 1 to 10 years of graduation and a link to the web- based survey is sent via electronic mail. At the conclusion of the survey period, the data is assembled anonymously, tabulated, statistically analyzed, and shared with the Civil Engineering Advisory Council (CEAC), a body that includes all four of the program’s constituencies. The CEAC evaluates the data and provides input to the civil engineering faculty. The alumni survey results have been used to assess the program’s PEOs and to drive curricular change, influence budget expenditures, and guide the content of senior design projects.
One of the major challenges facing EAC-ABET accredited engineering programs is the assessment of program educational objectives (PEOs). PEOs are defined as “broad statements that describe the career and professional accomplishments that the program is preparing the graduates to achieve.”1 Institutional representatives attending the July 2009 Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC-ABET) meeting were presented with statistics from the 2007- 2008 visits showing that Criterion 2 shortcomings were cited more than any other criterion.2 At the end of the 2007 EAC-ABET campus visits, 192 of 469 programs were cited as having Criterion 2 weaknesses. After the due process period, the number was reduced to 92, but
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