June 15, 1997
June 15, 1997
June 18, 1997
2.114.1 - 2.114.9
Continuous Improvement in an MET Program
Christine L. Corum, Mark A. Pagano Purdue University
Abstract In 1995, the Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation board for Engineering and Technology (TAC of ABET) approved a new criteria which places direct responsibility on each engineering technology program to plan and implement continuous improvement and furthermore, they must demonstrate achievements. The criteria (V.A.3.) and (V.A.4.) appeared in draft form in the 1996-97 criteria release; and since there have been no serious objections to date, this criteria will most likely appear in binding form in the 1997-98 release. The Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) Department at Purdue University anticipated this requirement and first began to prepare for it during the spring of 1994. Several of the resulting initiatives have been accomplished and others are in various stages of progress. Since, the requirement is for “continuous improvement,” most of the initiatives will never be finalized but will be on- going in nature.
In the following paper, the authors present the background and environment which seem to contribute to the criteria change. Then, perceived justifications for the new criteria will be presented. Thirdly, the various initiatives that have been launched in the MET Department at Purdue will be outlined and briefly described. Some of the positive outcomes which have already been realized as a result of the continuous improvement efforts are described and conclusions are drawn in the final section.
Background There was considerable propagation in the length of the TAC of ABET criteria in the early years while they were in the formative stage. The criteria expanded in scope from a few pages to the format of approximately 25 pages as they appear today. However, during the past decade the criteria have matured and changes have been less frequent. In a 1992 panel discussion on TAC of ABET Criteria and Accreditation, Dr. Fred Emshousen carefully tracked the evolution of the criteria from inception to the then present time. He concluded “The number of changes per year has decreased indicating a stabilization of expectations and furthermore a sign that TAC operations have matured and stabilized regarding process and operations as well.” 
Conversely, in the past few years since 1992, renewed interest in change has been initiated in academic accreditation and assessment. There has been a strong movement in professional organizations and accreditation bodies towards “outcome-based” accreditation standards. Regional academic accreditation organizations have made a rapid transition to this type of standard. Typical regional accreditations now focus on student learning and achievement (outcome-based standards) rather than on faculty, courses and facilities (input standards). This in turn has caused substantial movement in specialized accreditation agencies to also
Pagano, M. A., & Corum, C. L. (1997, June), Continuous Improvement In An Met Program Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6467
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