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Multidisciplinary Engineering Programs And Asee's Role As The Lead Society For Their Abet Accreditation

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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

Multidisciplinary Design Constituents

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.892.1 - 14.892.14



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Paper Authors


James Farison Baylor University

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Dr. Jim Farison is Professor Emeritus in Baylor University's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and is also the academic coordinator for Baylor's multidisciplinary B.S. in Engineering program. He is a member of ASEE's Accreditation Activities Committee, and past chair of the Multidisciplinary Engineering Division, and served many years as Baylor's ASEE campus representative. He received his B.S.E.E. degree from The University of Toledo, then M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University, before returning to serve on the faculty at UT in the EE and then Bioengineering departments, and including 10 years as dean of engineering. He moved to Baylor in 1998, and served nine years as department chair and one year as associate chair. He served for three years as an ASEE representative on ABET EAC. He is a fellow of ASEE and senior member of IEEE.

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Zhuocheng Yang Baylor University

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Mr. Yang received his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Donghua University, Shanghai, China, in 2006, and began his masters program in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University in fall 2007. He has previously worked in applications of image processing, and is conducting his master’s thesis research in image processing for feature identification in spatially invariant image sequences.

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

Multidisciplinary Engineering Programs and ASEE’S Role as the Lead Society for Their ABET Accreditation

Abstract From an individual ASEE member’s initiative beginning back in fall 2000 and subsequent significant events, the ABET Board of Directors approved in June 2005 the proposal by the ASEE Board of Directors that ASEE be named the lead society for the accreditation review of “multidisciplinary” engineering programs. This new role is administered by the ASEE Accreditation Activities Committee under the authority of the ASEE Board of Directors. The accreditation assignment has been defined by ABET to mean those programs with names of Engineering, Engineering Physics, Engineering Science and General Engineering (plus a few minor variations).

Following a brief overview of the background history, this paper presents a current report of that development and features information about the numbers and trends of the accredited multidisciplinary engineering programs and the variety of institutions that host them. The paper includes extensive information in text and tables, as of the current 2008-09 cycle, about:

1) the ASEE organizational structure that has been developed to administer this new responsibility, 2) the experiences of the first three years of program evaluator visits, 3) the institutions with ABET EAC-accredited multidisciplinary engineering programs, 4) the number and names of the multidisciplinary engineering program(s) at each institution, 5) the ABET EAC accreditation history of these programs, 6) a look ahead at the projected future evaluator workload, and 7) other issues related to this new accreditation role and to recent changes in the process.

Introduction One of the significant distinctions of a substantial number of baccalaureate engineering programs is that they intentionally do not align naturally with a currently so-called “traditional discipline” (such as civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, etc.). Such programs were previously called “non-traditional” engineering programs, or, more recently, “multidisciplinary” engineering programs. In the context of this paper, they include programs called engineering, general engineering, engineering science, engineering physics, and a few other similar (non-disciplinary) program titles. At this writing, there are 67 accredited engineering programs at 66 different institutions that are classified by ABET in this multidisciplinary category.

Extensive information about some of the typical characteristics of multidisciplinary engineering programs is available elsewhere.1,2,3 For example, one study2 suggested a classification of engineering (including general engineering) and engineering science programs that sought to identify and distinguish the institutional purposes for these programs as one of three purposes:

Farison, J., & Yang, Z. (2009, June), Multidisciplinary Engineering Programs And Asee's Role As The Lead Society For Their Abet Accreditation Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4662

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: © 2009 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