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Community Colleges Can Help Universities During Abet Accreditation Efforts

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Retention Strategies in Action Part II

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.294.1 - 15.294.6



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Paper Authors


Dan Dimitriu San Antonio College

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DAN G. DIMITRIU has been practicing engineering since 1970 and taught engineering courses
concurrently for over 20 years. He has been involved with several engineering societies and was elected vice-chair of the Two-Year College Division of ASEE in 2005. He has been the
coordinator of the Engineering Program at San Antonio College since 2001. His research interests are: alternative fuels, fuel cells, plastics, and engineering education.

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Jerry O'Connor San Antonio College

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JERRY ⁏CONNOR has been teaching physics (and a few engineering courses) at San Antonio
College since 1987. He was the Campus Coordinator for the Texas Alliance for Minority
Participation program from 1993 to 2002, and is currently the Department Chairperson for
Physics, Engineering, & Architecture. He has been involved in numerous initiatives to integrate the findings of physics and engineering education research with education practice.

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

Community Colleges Can Help Universities During

ABET Accreditation Efforts


Every Engineering program in the U.S. accredited by ABET undergoes a review process every six years. These reviews require extensive preparation, including data collection and analysis to demonstrate specified outcomes. These periodic reviews are meant to stimulate a thorough assessment and evaluation of programs, and often result in curriculum changes such as new, modified, or discontinued courses. During this review process it seems like Two Year Colleges that have aligned their programs with the University Program are usually left out of the loop, even though they might prepare a substantial number of students for transfer. Previous reports have estimated that 20% of the engineers in United States began their academic studies at a community college and 40% of the recipients of Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Engineering attended a community college. This communication gap thus possesses the potential to significantly and adversely affect the progress of engineering students through the proverbial pipeline. At this time there is no ABET accreditation process for two-year Engineering Science programs, as there is for two-year Engineering Technology programs. Apart from a few state or local initiatives, no other institution, organization, or agency is known to provide either a general framework or specific guidelines for helping Two Year Colleges establish a corresponding review process that would connect with the University Programs and assist with the accreditation process and development of effective transfer programs. The paper attempts to provide some guidelines to help Community Colleges develop a productive ongoing dialog to cultivate active partnerships with four-year universities. These partnerships should be based on a comprehensive and unified approach to the accreditation process. Successful efforts will be rewarded with easier accreditation reviews, stronger ties between the two institutions, and better programs that will attract and retain more students in the engineering disciplines.


Community colleges, which are serving increasing numbers of minorities, women, and non- traditional students, offer an unrealized opportunity to be beneficial partners in science, math, and engineering education. Most community colleges deliver quality and affordable programs that are easily accessible, while providing initial and life-long educational opportunities1,2. It is generally estimated that about 20% of the engineers in United States began their academic studies at a community college and 40% of the recent recipients of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering attended a community college3. These figures represent only a small fraction of the community college population, and studies also indicate that some underrepresented populations are more likely to begin their college studies at a community college. This implies that there is a significant reservoir of students at the community college

Dimitriu, D., & O'Connor, J. (2010, June), Community Colleges Can Help Universities During Abet Accreditation Efforts Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16637

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