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Surviving Abet Under The New Criteria From The Eyes Of New Chair In A New Ce Department

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Implementation of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge and Recent ABET Experiences

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1105.1 - 14.1105.22



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Paper Authors


Ronald Welch University of Texas, Tyler

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Ron Welch is Professor and Head, Department of Civil Engineering at The University of Texas at Tyler. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia. Until 2 Jan 2007, Ron was an Academy Professor at the United States Military Academy (USMA). Ron received a BS degree in Engineering Mechanics from the USMA in 1982 and MS and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1990 and 1999, respectively.

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

Surviving ABET Under the New Criteria – From the Eyes of New Chair in a New CE Department Abstract

So you are a new department chair and ABET is coming in the near future, who are you going to call? What are you going to do? This paper will cover the processes, experiences and lessons learned by a new department chair preparing for an ABET visit for the first time in a brand new department under the new 2008 Civil Engineering (CE) program criteria. The goal of this paper is to not only assist new department chairs and chairs of new departments, but also chairs of well established departments that have had a visit with some type of weakness at the exit statement. Throughout this process it is important to remember that we are ABET. This new chair is also an ABET Program evaluator (PEV) and took that insight to heart. It is ASCE committees that establish the CE program criteria that supplement the general program criteria used by CE ABET PEVs.

The philosophy of successfully managing the collection of data and presenting the processes and supporting data when the program only has one graduating class will be provided. The preparation for the actual visit, the results of the visit, and the actions taken after the visit will be presented. The analysis of the steps taken, processes initiated, and data collected may provide invaluable insight for an established program trying to prepare to meet old and new accreditation requirements as late as the fifth year of a six- year ABET cycle. The ultimate goal is developing a sustainable assessment process that adequately closes the loop. This paper will also address curricular changes initiated by the program to meet the new CE program criteria and the assessment challenges overcome by a new program.


The School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Tyler was established in 1997 with the splitting of a general engineering department into departments of electrical and mechanical engineering. The movement and the addition of the department of computer science from what is now the College of Arts and Sciences in 2002 coincided with the formation of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. With Trane and American Standard air conditioning, Goodyear tire, and oil production plants located in and around Tyler, it was only natural to develop electrical and mechanical engineering programs to support the largest local industries. It was at this same time that UT Tyler began to accept freshmen and shed its previous role as an upper-level University that only accepted students who had completed an associate’s degree at a community college. As the College enrollments grew so did the planning to grow the college by adding a civil engineering program.

The Department of Civil Engineering began hiring faculty and admitting students in 2005. The students who made up the first graduating class in 2008 were actually admitted into the mechanical engineering program in 2004 with the anticipation of hiring the first CE faculty member. There were twelve students declared as Civil Engineering (CE) students

Welch, R. (2009, June), Surviving Abet Under The New Criteria From The Eyes Of New Chair In A New Ce Department Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4955

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