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Industry Visits As An Assessment Tool

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.581.1 - 6.581.4

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Paper Authors

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Frederick Reardon

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Cici Mattiuzzi

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

Session 1566

Industry Visits as an Assessment Tool Cici Mattiuzzi and Frederick H. Reardon California State University, Sacramento


Under the new ABET criteria for judging the effectiveness of engineering and technology programs, the success of program graduates serves as an additional and necessary measure of program quality. This paper describes a structured, industry site visit program employed by each of the departments of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at California State University, Sacramento. The visits typically consist of plant tours and meetings with alumni and their supervisors. The alumni are asked to review their experiences since graduation, make general comments on the relevance of their education in their careers to date, and answer specific questions about their engineering education. These visits allow us to learn from our graduates what they are doing with their education, what was most valuable to them, and specific ways to improve the educational process. Additional, and unexpected, banefits of these outcomes assessment meetings are that the alumni tend to get more involved and active with the university, frequently offering significant financial and other support, and faculty report gaining renewed enthusiasm for their teaching.


ABET has recently revised the accreditation criteria for judging the effectiveness of engineering programs. Under the old criteria, ABET assessed engineering programs based mainly on curriculum, faculty, and facilities. Under the new criteria, an outcomes assessment requirement is part of the ABET review of all engineering programs. The employment success of program graduates is now a crucial measure of program quality for ABET accredited programs.

ABET has not issued specific instructions on exactly how the outcomes of programs should be assessed, perhaps wishing to encourage creativity in the process. The criteria state that “each program must have an assessment process with documented results... The assessment process must demonstrate that the outcomes … are being measured. Evidence that may be used includes, but is not limited to, the following: student portfolios, including design projects; nationally- normed subject content examinations; alumni surveys that document professional accomplishments and career development activities; employer surveys; and placement data of graduates.”1

The College of Engineering and Computer Science at California State University, Sacramento, has initiated a new method for assessing the outcomes of our graduates, in response to the new ABET requirements. This paper describes our industry site visit survey program.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Reardon, F., & Mattiuzzi, C. (2001, June), Industry Visits As An Assessment Tool Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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