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Getting ABET Accreditation Right the First Time

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Conference

2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

ABET Accreditation, Assessment, and Program Improvement in ECE

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count

9

Page Numbers

25.668.1 - 25.668.9

DOI

10.18260/1-2--21425

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/21425

Download Count

60

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Paper Authors

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Larry L Wear University of Washington, Tacoma

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As professor and Associate Director of the Institute of Technology at the University of Washington, Tacoma, Larry Wear teaches in such areas as software process improvement, software engineering, C/C++ programming, assembly language programming, logic and digital design, and introductory engineering courses. Many of these classes are laboratory intensive and some have been taught via distance learning. Wear received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle, and both his M.S. in applied mathematics and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Santa Clara University. He has more than 25 years of experience in teaching, in addition to 10 years of industry experience, and is an ABET Program Evaluator for electrical and computer engineering.

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Orlando R. Baiocchi University of Washington, Tacoma

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Orlando Baiocchi has more than 40 years of experience in teaching, research, and administration, both in Brazil and in the United States. He has been an ABET Evaluator representing the IEEE. He recently stepped down as Director of the Institute of Technology at the University of Washington, Tacoma, to return to teaching and research. He is currently involved in cooperative projects with several universities in Brazil. His areas of expertise are electromagnetics and pulse propagation, now with special interest in applications to remote sensing and the environment.

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Matthew Alden University of Washington, Tacoma

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Matthew Alden is a lecturer in the Institute of Technology at the University of Washington, Tacoma. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Texas, Austin, in 2007. Since joining the Institute of Technology in 2008, he has taught computer science courses at all levels of undergraduate education. His research interests include estimation of distribution algorithms and artificial life systems.

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Robert Gutmann University of Washington, Tacoma

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Robert Gutmann has B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from Iowa State University in 1970, 1972, and 1976, respectively. He worked as an Engineer and a Manager for the Boeing Company, Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN), and Sony (SCEA). He has teaching experience at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Pacific Lutheran University, and the University of Washington.

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Jie Sheng University of Washington, Tacoma

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Jie Sheng received her Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 2002 from the University of Alberta, Canada. Since then, she has been an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; a lecturer at the University of New South Wales, Australia; and an Assistant Professor at DigiPen Institute of Technology, Redmond, USA. Sheng is currently an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Technology, University of Washington, Tacoma. Her research interests include signals and systems, embedded systems, robotics, and engineering education.

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Abstract

Getting ABET Accreditation Right the First TimeThis paper describes the authors’ experiences in securing ABET accreditation for a newComputer Engineering and Systems (CES) program. Since it is not common for a small programto get fully accredited on the first attempt, we believe that our experience is valuable to any newengineering program, especially those that are created in an environment that has no other ABETaccredited programs. Though some programs at the university have received joint accreditationin conjunction with similar programs at the main campus, the CES program was the firstprogram to receive national accreditation on its own. How we dealt with the challenges wefaced, and the lessons we learned in the process are discussed in detail.Programs seeking first-time accreditation should take advantage of preparation workshops givenby ABET and professional societies and by knowing precisely what criteria are applicable to theaccreditation being sought. It is never too early to start preparing for accreditation.Understanding ABET student outcomes and mapping them to individual courses andassignments is a critical step, as well as defining rubrics to evaluate achievement of thoseoutcomes. Specific program criteria need to be satisfied and well documented. In particular,capstone design courses need to address non-technical issues, a common problem with new andold programs. Equally important is having clearly defined and documented objectives that weredeveloped in conjunction with the program constituencies.Having an assessment plan in place and being able to show documentation that demonstrates thatit has been followed is the next step. That includes having a documented advising system inplace for the current students and a tracking mechanism for graduates. Student records andtranscripts sent to ABET need to be checked prior to any accreditation visit and clearexplanations documented for atypical situations.Preparation for the visit should include educating the faculty, staff and administrators on the rolethey will play. It is particularly important to help faculty from service units, who are not familiarwith the ABET accreditation process. Students need to understand the importance of their role inthe process. Facilities need to be checked prior to the visit with any safety concerns oraccessibility issues properly addressed.An advisory board should be established well before starting an accreditation process. Theirparticipation in all stages of the accreditation process, including in the evaluation visit, is highlyrecommended. Under the current budget shortages across the universities, it is equally importantshowing that there are solid plans for maintaining the laboratories current and for providing thejunior faculty with adequate develop opportunities.Our final observation is that it is much easier to succeed when all involved in accreditation worktogether as a team. The effort involved in preparing for an ABET visit is far too much for one ortwo individuals to tackle. Active participation of the entire team is required to achieve the goal ofaccreditation.

Wear, L. L., & Baiocchi, O. R., & Alden, M., & Gutmann, R., & Sheng, J. (2012, June), Getting ABET Accreditation Right the First Time Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21425

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2012 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015