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Ec 2000 Round Two – The Arkansas Experience

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Trends in Civil Engineering Accreditation

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.457.1 - 8.457.10



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Paper Authors

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Robert Elliott

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Session 2515

EC 2000 Round Two – The Arkansas Experience

Robert P. Elliott, Ph.D., P.E. University of Arkansas

Abstract The ABET engineering accreditation criteria1, popularly referred to as EC 2000, were first applied experimentally in 1996. The University of Arkansas was one of two schools whose programs were evaluated that year under these criteria. This past year (2002) the University of Arkansas became one of the first programs to be revisited under these criteria. This paper discusses the visit preparation and experience from the perspective of the civil engineering department head. The department head’s experiences are unique not only because this was one of the first return visits under EC 2000 but also because he is responsible for two Master’s degree programs that were reviewed for advanced level accreditation. The Master of Science in Transportation Engineering had been accredited following the 1996 visit. The Master of Science in Environmental Engineering was evaluated for the first time with the 2002 visit.

Introduction In the United States, engineering academic programs receive their accreditation from the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (EAC of ABET, generally referred to as ABET). Until 1996 the accreditation criteria were a generally proscriptive listing of specific course, curriculum, facility, and faculty requirements. Many referred to the accreditation process as being one of “bean counting.” There was a growing dissatisfaction with the process with many believing that it forced all programs to have the same “beans” and did not allow the innovation needed for engineering education to evolve and improve. As a remedy to this situation, a set of outcomes based criteria were proposed. These were used experimentally for the first time in 1996. These criteria were referred to as Criteria 2000, now more commonly called EC 20002.

These outcomes based criteria provide a broad description of the abilities an engineering graduate should have but leave the institution largely free to decide how it will instill these abilities. They require that the program set its own educational objectives and establish a process to determine how well the objectives are being met. The program is also expected to provide a means for improvement. In this respect, EC 2000 requires a continuous improvement process that must by its nature involve the faculty, the students and the employers of the program’s graduates.

The University of Arkansas, College of Engineering was one of two schools that agreed to be evaluated under these criteria for the first time in 1996. That first EC 2000 visit was without question a venture into the unknown. No one knew for sure what we were to do. The final decision on whether or not we would be reviewed under the experimental criteria was not made

1 The criteria can be found on the internet at: 2 It should be noted that the designation EC 2000 is no longer technically correct. The “2000” has been dropped and the correct name is simply ABET Engineering Criteria. Nevertheless, EC 2000 is used in this paper for clarity.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Elliott, R. (2003, June), Ec 2000 Round Two – The Arkansas Experience Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12607

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