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Student Learning Outcomes: Effectively Satisfying Multiple Accreditation Requirements

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Trends in Engineering Education 2

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1116.1 - 24.1116.20



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Paper Authors


Gerard P. Lennon Lehigh University

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Gerard P. Lennon is a professor of civil and environmental engineering and member of numerous organizations, including ASEE. He earned a B.S. from Drexel University, and an M.S. and a Ph.D. from Cornell University. He authored over 70 papers, including several on accreditation and engineering education, and his groundwater research has been funded by five different federal and state agencies, including an NSF investigation of ocean-bottom geothermal vents in the Alvin Submarine. As a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, he organized an International Groundwater Symposium and was an associate editor of the Hydraulics Journal. He was lead author of the 2001 Civil Engineering Self-Study report submitted to ABET, coordinated the 2007 accreditation/re-accreditation of 10 engineering programs as Associate Dean of Engineering & Applied Science, and, as Deputy Provost for Academic Affairs, had lead responsibility for submission of the 2013 university accreditation report to the Middle States Council on Higher Education, chairing several committees, including Enhancing Graduate Education and Assessment of Student Learning.

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John B. Ochs Lehigh University

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Professor John B. Ochs is the co-founder and director of Lehigh University’s engineering master's degree program in technical entrepreneurship ( He joined the Lehigh faculty in 1979 as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, was promoted to associate professor in 1983, and to full professor in 1990. He founded and directed the computer-aided design labs in the mechanical engineering and mechanics department from 1980 to 2001. From 1996 to the present, he has directed the university’s Integrated Product Development (IPD) capstone program ( The IPD and TE program bring together students from all three undergraduate colleges to work in multidisciplinary teams on industry-sponsored product development projects and student–led start-ups. In 2006, Prof. Ochs received the Olympus Innovation Award for his work in technical entrepreneurship through the IPD program. In 2012, the National Academy of Engineering recognized Lehigh’s IPD program as one of the top programs for infusing real-world experiences in engineering education. Prof. Ochs is a member of ASEE and past chairman of its Entrepreneurship and Engineering Innovation Division.

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Derick G. Brown P.E. Lehigh University

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Student Learning Outcomes: Effectively Satisfying Multiple Accreditation RequirementsAbstractIn June 2013, re-accreditation self-study reports for nine undergraduate engineering programswere submitted to ABET, Inc., and the university’s Periodic Review Report (PRR) wassubmitted to the regional accrediting body, the Middle States Council on Higher Education(MSCHE). Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) is a primary requirement of bothagencies, each with a significantly different scope, focus, reporting requirements and criteria orstandards. Effectively satisfying both demands can be challenging for many reasons, includingleadership and coordination at many levels, avoidance of duplicative effort, faculty buy in, andavailability of resources. Below we discuss how we addressed or are addressing these challenges.In response to MSCHE’s evaluation of our 2008 university self study, a 2009 progress reportdescribed “progress made toward the assessment of student learning outcomes in the College of Arts& Sciences... educational goals adopted at both the program and college levels and… qualitative &quantitative, direct and indirect means…measuring progress toward those goals.” The 2013 PRRprovided “a comprehensive description of the evolution of student learning outcomes assessmentpractices across the university since the last visit [2008], with special attention to the evolution ofsuch practices within the College of Arts and Sciences.” With strong assessment of SLOs inundergraduate programs in the Engineering College, graduate and graduate programs in the BusinessCollege by AACSB, and programs in the graduate-only College of Education, the only area thatlacked an overall SLO assessment plan was the Engineering College’s graduate programs. Withthree different college graduate SLO assessment systems and no overarching assessment system, thechallenge was for university administrators to define a comprehensive SLO assessment program atthe university level while coordinating with the Engineering College as they designed their ownsystem that supports the university system and complement the systems in the other three colleges.The university-level challenge was first addressed by creating a process whereby the standingfaculty Graduate & Research Committee (GRC) and an appointed Enhancing GraduateEducation (EGE) committee worked together to create a sustainable process for periodicprogram review with the individual program leaders. In this review, the program leaders providetheir interpretation of the five new university-level graduate student learning competencies:Knowledge, Application of Knowledge, Context, Communication, and Leadership, theirmethodology for incorporating the learning competencies into their academic program and theirmeans of assessment and continual improvement. MSCHE’s overall evaluation of our PRR was“superlative” including “university assessment practices of graduate Student LearningOutcomes [were] particularly thoughtful...the plans and the examples of implementation…thesupport structure for Student Learning Assessment at the college level, point to a strongarticulation between the University vision and the programmatic outcomes assessment.”The current implementation of the framework in graduate programs in the Engineering Collegeis evolving, with early advocates of SLO assessment, such as the Technical EntrepreneurshipDirector, providing leadership and sharing best practices of effective assessment programs toachieve the goal of them being useful and sustainable. A status of assessment chart is used tosummarize the degree to which progress is being made overall and in each of the colleges.

Lennon, G. P., & Ochs, J. B., & Brown, D. G. (2014, June), Student Learning Outcomes: Effectively Satisfying Multiple Accreditation Requirements Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23049

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