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Streamlining Continuous Improvement: Efficiently Creating Value While Satisfying ABET Criterion 4

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Focus on ETAC Accreditation

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Thomas M. Hall Jr. Northwestern State University of Louisiana

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Tom Hall is Professor Emeritus, Northwestern State University, having served for ten years as Professor and Head of the Department of Engineering Technology. He has 20 years experience as a program evaluator, team chair and editor for ABET. He is currently the Chair of the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission, a recipient of the James H. McGraw Award, and a Fellow of ASEE.

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Scott Danielson Arizona State University

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Dr. Scott Danielson is a faculty member in the engineering programs within the Polytechnic School of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU). Before returning to the faculty, Dr. Danielson was an Associate Dean for almost four years in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and the College of Technology and Innovation. Before assuming the Associate Dean’s role, he had been an engineering technology department chair at ASU for over 13 years. He has been involved with ABET as a volunteer or by writing self-studies for over 20 years. More recently, he served on the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC) of ABET, its Executive Committee and is currently chair-elect of the ETAC. He has also served as an ABET program evaluator for both the ETAC and the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) for US-based and international programs.

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April Chit Cheung Purdue University, West Lafayette

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April Cheung currently serves as an ETAC Vice Chair of Operations. She chaired the ETAC Training Committee from 2016 - 2019. Her 12 years of experience in ABET includes program evaluator, team chair, and statement editor. She served on the IEEE Committee on Engineering Technology Accreditation Activities (CETAA) from 2010 – 2012 and 2016 – present chairing the CETAA Communications committee.
She was a Research and Development Manager at BraunAbility, where she managed and developed new products and technologies for wheelchair accessible vehicles. She was also an Electronics Engineering Manager for IMMI, where she managed and developed electronic active and passive safety products used in class 8 trucks, fire trucks, and ambulances. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Practice at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

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This paper asserts that programs should shift emphasis from just assessment data collection and embrace a culture that uses assessment and evaluation to guide continuous improvement. Programs often spend time and effort collecting data to satisfy the requirements of ABET’s harmonized Criterion 4, Continuous Improvement [1], but do not realize the benefits of doing this work. Unfortunately, many programs either collect more data than necessary or collect data that provide little insight on weak points of their students’ learning as related to student outcomes. Other programs, for a variety of reasons, miss opportunities to improve student learning after assessing and evaluating the attainment of student outcomes. Thus, faculty and their programs often see the work of assessment for continuous improvement as useless labor done only to satisfy ABET criteria. This paper outlines an assessment and evaluation process minimizing extra work for faculty yet yielding actionable data for continuous improvement decisions and actions. A simple process for maximizing the value of assessment and evaluation of student outcomes as input for positive changes in student learning is described.

Hall, T. M., & Danielson, S., & Cheung, A. C. (2020, June), Streamlining Continuous Improvement: Efficiently Creating Value While Satisfying ABET Criterion 4 Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35211

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