New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
The purposes of this paper are: (1) To examine the engineering Graduate Attribute and Professional Competency Profiles, formulated and published by the International Engineering Alliance (IEA); (2) To compare these profiles with the current ABET Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs and proposed changes to these criteria; and (3) To assess the implications of this comparison for the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) “Raise the Bar” initiative.
The International Engineering Alliance (IEA) is a representative organization, composed of the signatories to a series of international agreements regarding engineering accreditation and professional licensure. For the purposes of this paper, the most important of these agreements is the Washington Accord—an international mutual recognition agreement among bodies responsible for engineering accreditation. The purposes of the Washington Accord are to improve engineering education and competence globally and to promote the international mobility of engineers. Established in 1989, the Accord accomplishes these purposes by recognizing the substantial equivalency of the engineering programs accredited by its signatory organizations. ABET is a signatory to the Washington Accord and thus is obligated to ensure that its accreditation criteria and processes are substantially equivalent to those of the other signatories.
In June 2001, recognizing the importance of using uniform standards as the basis for judging substantial equivalency, the IEA began a long-term process of defining mutually agreeable Graduate Attribute Profiles and Professional Competency Profiles for engineers, engineering technologists, and engineering technicians. These profiles are sets of assessable outcomes that reflect a graduate's potential to acquire the competence necessary to practice at a given level. The IEA adopted the first version of these outcomes in June 2005 and the most recent update in June 2013.
IEA Graduate Attribute Profiles and Professional Competency Profiles for engineers comprise a rigorous, thoughtfully derived, and comprehensively organized set of international benchmarks for engineering knowledge and skills. As such, in addition to their role as the basis for membership in, and compliance with, the Washington Accord, the IEA Profiles also represent an important source of input to ASCE’s ongoing effort to define its professional body of knowledge, in conjunction with the “Raise the Bar” initiative.
In this paper, the authors conduct a detailed comparison of the IEA Profiles for engineering against: (1) The current ABET Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs (with separate consideration of the General Criteria for Baccalaureate Level Programs and the recently approved Program Criteria for Civil and Similarly Named Engineering Programs) (2) The ABET Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs, with currently proposed changes to Criteria 3 and 5.
Based on these comparisons, we identify several significant shortfalls in the current and proposed ABET Criteria; we note that the Civil Engineering Program Criteria address some—but not all—of these shortfalls; and we demonstrate that the proposed changes to Criteria 3 and 5 appear to be further increasing the inconsistency between the IEA Profiles and the ABET Criteria. We conclude by summarizing the implications of these findings for the ASCE “Raise the Bar” initiative; and we provide corresponding recommendations for consideration by ASCE’s accreditation community.
Coordinating Note: This abstract is submitted at the specific invitation and request of Tom Lenox, the coordinator of the ASCE Liaison Committee’s program for the CE Division of ASEE in 2016. It should be considered for inclusion in the session “Educational & Professional Issues of Strategic Importance to the Civil Engineering Profession – and ASCE” that Tom Lenox is organizing and moderating.
Ressler, S. J., & Lenox, T. A. (2016, June), Raising the Bar for Civil Engineering: Implications of the International Engineering Alliance Graduate Attribute Profiles Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26035
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