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Implementing Abet Engineering Criteria 2000 For New Programs At A Small Hbcu

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Pedagogy and Assessment I

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.696.1 - 14.696.7



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Paper Authors

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Ehsan Sheybani

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Singli Garcia-Otero

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Keith Williamson

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

Implementing ABET Engineering Criteria 2000 for New Programs at a Small HBCU Abstract

The School of Engineering, Science, and Technology at the Virginia State University (VSU) had three of its programs undergo a joint review by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) and the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). These are fairly new programs at a small size HBCU with a student population of 5000. Evaluating all three programs simultaneously allowed synergy, but it also necessitated coordination at the institutional level. Additionally, it required the support and cooperation of non-reviewed programs. The Department of Engineering and Technology had two programs reviewed by the EAC and the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science had one program reviewed by the CAC, respectively. There were many similarities and differences between the two, requiring internal controls, timelines, and processes to ensure correct completion of the requirements. Course and outcome coordinators and other faculty needed guidance in preparing for the visit, managing additional administrative loads during the record year, and in understanding how assessment improves their programs. This paper presents some of the unique challenges of accreditation for new programs at a small HBCU setting and solutions for implementing the required criteria. Although all of the areas mentioned above are discussed in the context of the VSU, they should prove useful to any institution preparing for an ABET visit.


The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) has changed the way computer science, engineering, and technology programs are accredited from a “checklist” approach to an “outcomes-based” approach. While this approach gives more freedom to the program to establish its own set of objectives, it has also created considerable anxiety among people who are responsible for preparing their programs for accreditation. One of the criteria for accreditation set by the ABET requires all undergraduate engineering programs in the United States to demonstrate that their programs produce 11 (a-k) specific learning outcomes (ABET Criterion 3). These outcomes are specific abilities, knowledge areas, skills, and attitudes that all students should possess upon completion of the undergraduate engineering program. ABET reviewers look through self-evaluations and assessments for these outcomes. Engineering and Technology programs conduct annual reviews to determine which outcomes are met by the courses in their respective curricula. If a specific outcome is not met, faculty is required to develop and implement plans for improvement. These plans may include development of new courses or modifications to existing courses. Programs must also document changes and eventually show that the changes resulted in improvements.

Lessons Learned

According to the 2006–2007 Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs, engineering programs must demonstrate that their students attain: a) an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering

Sheybani, E., & Garcia-Otero, S., & Williamson, K. (2009, June), Implementing Abet Engineering Criteria 2000 For New Programs At A Small Hbcu Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5402

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