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Seven Steps To Successful Continuous Improvement Of A Program

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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

Best Practices in Aerospace Education

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Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1076.1 - 13.1076.11



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Paper Authors

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Swami Karunamoorthy Saint Louis University

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

Seven Steps to Successful Continuous Improvement of a Program


The accrediting commissions of Applied Science, Computing, Engineering, and Technology (ASCET) are moving towards a set of harmonized criteria with identical numbering and category names. This process leads to a framework for ABET in organizing the categories of criteria across the commissions of ASCET. Individual commissions define their criteria (or create their image) within that frame. Similarly, the educational institutions in the nation also need a framework to prepare for ABET accreditation. An emphasis is given in this paper to provide a guidance for “how to” in creating a typical frame around the picture (self-study materials) while each program can decide on “what to put” in creating the picture. Also, a framework for displaying the course materials and documentation for continuous improvement of a program are discussed in this paper. These steps would serve as a viable guideline to the preparation for ABET accreditation as well as successful continuous improvement of a program.


The program findings are in general classified as Deficiency, Weakness, Concern and Observation. A “Deficiency” would in general lead to Show-Cause (SC) for previously accredited programs and Not to Accredit (NA) for new programs or initial accreditation. A “Weakness” would in general lead to Interim Report (IR) for reportable corrective actions and Interim Visit (IV) for non-reportable corrective actions. A “Concern” in general does not affect the accreditation and the duration of accreditation would be for a full term although the corrective actions are expected at the time of Next General Review (NGR). While all these findings are required to be related to a specific criteria of ABET, the finding “Observation” is in general not related to any criteria but offered for the good of a program. It does not require any corrective action.

The accreditation statistics for 2006 indicates that 90% of Applied Science programs, 48% of Technology programs, 44% of Computing programs, and 35% of Engineering programs have received IR or IV. The weaknesses that lead to these accreditation actions are in general found in the areas of assessment of objectives, outcomes, and continuous improvement process. The seven steps presented in this paper have a great potential to minimize these weaknesses and enhance the chances for successful accreditation. Although these steps are not new, this paper brings them together with a new perception to the interpretation and application of the existing accreditation criteria.

Seven Steps

Some institutions have a department of Institutional Research and Development or a vice president or associate dean designated to provide leadership in the area of assessment and continuous improvement process. However, in many institutions it is the responsibility of the department chair or the program coordinator and program faculty members.

Karunamoorthy, S. (2008, June), Seven Steps To Successful Continuous Improvement Of A Program Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3353

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