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Preparing For Abet Accreditation In A Non Western, Non English Speaking Environment

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Case Studies & Engineering Education Around the Globe

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

13.996.1 - 13.996.16



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Paper Authors

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Adnan Zahed


Abdullah Bafail

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ABDALLAH BAFAIL (BS, Systems Engineering, University Of Petroleum and Minerals, 1979, MS, Industrial and Systems Engineering, USC 1982, Ph.D., Industrial and Systems Engineering, ASU 1989) is a professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering, KAU. He served for a number of years as a scientific consultant for Ministry of Municipal and Minister of Telecommunications as well as the Savola Company, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In addition he served as the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering from 2004 to March 2007. In March 2007 he was appointed Vice Rector for Graduate Studies and Scientific Research of KAU. He has over forty publications to his credit in different areas of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Education. His research interest includes operations research, forecasting, strategic planning, and production management.

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Reda Abdulaal


Ali Al-Bahi

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Dr. Ali M. Al-Bahi is professor of aerodynamics and flight mechanics in the Aeronautical Engineering Department of King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He has a 20 years teaching experience in Aeronautical Engineering and was graduated from Cairo Univ., Egypt and ENSAE, France. Prior to joining the department he built a practical engineering experience by working for the aircraft industry in Egypt. He published numerous papers in CFD, applied aerodynamics, and flight mechanic. Since 2002 he became interested in assessment and accreditation and was responsible for coordinating the efforts of the department for ABET (SE) accreditation. He is actually the acting director of the college Academic Accreditation Unit. Dr. Al-Bahi is a Registered Professional Engineer in Egypt and senior member of AIAA.

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

Preparing for ABET Accreditation in a Non-Western, Non-English Speaking Environment

Adnan H. Zahed, Abdullah O. Bafail, Reda M. Abdulaal, and Ali M. Al-Bahi King Abdulaziz University Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


The case study in the present work deals with a Non-Western, Non-English speaking institution seeking accreditation for its 12 Engineering programs. The programs received substantial equivalency accreditation under the conventional ABET criteria for 6 years in 2003. The upcoming visit is expected during the academic year 2008/2009 based on EC2000.

The authors started the institution-wide preparation activities in 2005 when an Academic Accreditation Unit (AAU) was formed. The unit held its first meeting in May 2005 and defined its mission as: "To Qualify the Education System in the College of Engineering to Meet ABET EC 2000 Standards."

The first task carried out by AAU was to define several college and departmental committees to address different aspects of ABET preparations. Nevertheless, the main work stream of the unit started one month later by a Technical Note that proposed a "Rationale for an ABET EC2000 Road Map.” The Note outlined a Tentative Departmental Work Plan and led to a complete 2- year time schedule for both college-level and program-level preparations.

The follow-up of the plan immediately indicated several cultural-related problems. Linguistic barriers led to fruitless discussions among faculty members in interpreting EC2000 criteria. The “bean counting” culture of the classical ABET criteria dominated faculty understanding. Preparing for an ABET visit remained in their minds as the academic equivalence of El Niño— something to be weathered every six years until things go back to normal. Meanwhile, a certain number of professors continued to assume a limited responsibility in the students’ learning experience considering that the role of a university professor is to lecture and not to teach.

The students were also very far from the quality assurance measures set forth in EC2000. Learning remained teacher-centered and subject-based activity with one target: passing quizzes and end of semester exams.

AAU concluded that a suitable approach to address these difficulties is to restart ABET EC2000 process by course level activities in order to involve each staff member and each student in the process as early as possible. Once the staff members found themselves involved through course level activities, they became willing to participate in the required program level tasks. The process succeeded in anticipating the expected resistance by starting from what the instructors are actually doing to create a continuous improvement cycle and initiate the paradigm shift.

In the present work, the process is outlined and the results of its implementation in addressing linguistic and cultural barriers are evaluated.

Zahed, A., & Bafail, A., & Abdulaal, R., & Al-Bahi, A. (2008, June), Preparing For Abet Accreditation In A Non Western, Non English Speaking Environment Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3421

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