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Paths to Accreditation

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

International Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.972.1 - 24.972.20



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Paper Authors


Jane M. Fraser Colorado State University, Pueblo

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Jane M. Fraser is chair of the Department of Engineering at Colorado State University-Pueblo. She was formerly on the faculty at the Ohio State University and Purdue University. She has a
BA in mathematics from Swarthmore College and MS and PhD in industrial engineering and operations research from the University of California-Berkeley.

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Alejandro Teran Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM)

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Alejandro Teran serves as the Director for the Industrial Engineering Program at ITAM (Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México). Alejandro received his B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, México, his M.S. in Operations Research from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and Management from Oklahoma State University.

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Hoa Thi Pham International University - Vietnam National University - Ho Chi Minh City

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Hoa T. Pham is the lecturer in AquaScience Department, School of Biotechnology, International University, Vietnam. She was formerly the Chair of Environmental Department at Hoa Sen University. She has a BA in chemistry from University of Technology- Ho Chi Minh City, ME in Environmental Technology and Management from Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand, and PhD in Environmental Science from Tohoku University - Japan.

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Paths to Accreditation: ABET and the Washington AccordWe start with the premise that accreditation accomplishes two purposes for engineering degreeprograms. First, accreditation improves the quality of programs. Second, accreditation certifiesthe quality of programs. Both purposes support the goals of students by ensuring high qualityeducation and by ensuring the ability of students to use their degree to obtain employment as anengineer, entrance to a graduate program, and eventually the ability to become a licensedengineer.In the US, engineering accreditation is provided by ABET ( By the WashingtonAccord (WA), 15 such bodies bilaterally recognize each other’s engineering accreditation.An engineering program in a country not covered by the WA can choose one of two paths: 1. Develop its own body for engineering accreditation and then seek recognition in the WA, or 2. Seek accreditation for the program through an existing organization (such as ABET).In this paper we examine these two paths in order to determine what factors have influenced andshould influence the decision between these two paths. Such factors include: The country’s historical orientation toward some specific county, through colonization or education. For example, many Mexican faculty have degrees from the US. Other cultural traditions regarding education, engineering, and nationalism. The relative costs and benefits of the two approaches. ABET accreditation is costly, but developing an accrediting body is a long, and perhaps costly, path also. The relative strengths of each approach in providing national and international opportunities for engineering graduates. The relative strengths of each approach in attracting students to study engineering. The importance of establishing an engineering infrastructure in the country. An accrediting body usually works closely with engineering societies, which, in turn, provide other sorts of support for growing the engineering profession and for growing the national economy.

Fraser, J. M., & Teran, A., & Pham, H. T. (2014, June), Paths to Accreditation Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22905

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