June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.996.1 - 13.996.16
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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