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Developing An Engineering Technology Curriculum: A Case Study At Western Carolina University

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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

Distance and Web-Based Learning in ET: Part II

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.380.1 - 15.380.12



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Paper Authors


George Ford Western Carolina University

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Dr. George Ford is an Assistant Professor in the Construction Management program at Western Carolina University.

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Robert Anderson Western Carolina University

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Dr. Robert Anderson is an Assistant Professor in the Engineering Technology program at Western Carolina University.

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

Developing an Engineering Technology Curriculum: A Case Study at Western Carolina University


Institutions providing engineering technology programs have been adjusting to changing needs of their students and industry, and that those institutions which are not responding to market needs on a timely basis are discontinuing their programs. Recent growth in student enrollment in engineering programs may explain a part of the shift by some institutions away from engineering technology programs which are sometimes considered a lower subset of engineering. Engineering technology two year associate degree programs as well as four year bachelor degree programs are common in the United States, and are generally more hands-on, less theoretical programs than engineering programs which are almost always four year bachelors programs. Engineering technology courses generally require less math in their curriculum than engineering courses to obtain accreditation. While the job prospects for technologists are very good, engineering graduates are sometimes considered more valuable by some employers.

At Western Carolina University in North Carolina, program administrators have developed a distance format, engineering technology program for working professionals which provides a flexible curriculum that promotes transfer of two-year community college credits into a four-year program to foster bachelor degree completion in the shortest amount of time. The program administrators desire to accredit the program through the Accreditation Board of Engineering Technology (ABET). This paper provides a discussion of the considerations which must be taken to apply for ABET accreditation for a nontraditional, general engineering technology program.


According to the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, in Baltimore, Maryland, there has been a 16 percent decrease in the number of accredited engineering technology programs since 1995. During 2005 there were 371 associate degree and 369 bachelor degree accredited engineering technology programs at 220 postsecondary educational institutions. The number of institutions offering engineering technology has also dropped nearly every year since 1997 when there were 250 institutions with accredited engineering technology programs. Technical educational programs in environmental, computer, materials and manufacturing fields have seen growth in the number of accredited programs during the 1995-2005 period.1

Recently, there has been an upward trend in the number of college students in four year educational programs in the United States. There were about 14 million students at four year

Ford, G., & Anderson, R. (2010, June), Developing An Engineering Technology Curriculum: A Case Study At Western Carolina University Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15727

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