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Surviving The Accreditation Double Whammy: Abet And Sacs Accreditation In The Same Year

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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

Assessment and Continuous Improvement in Engineering Technology: Part II

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1106.1 - 14.1106.10



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Paper Authors

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Austin Asgill Southern Polytechnic State University

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Omar Zia Southern Polytechnic State University

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

Surviving the Accreditation Double Whammy – ABET and SACS Accreditation in the same year

Austin B. Asgill, Omar Zia Southern Polytechnic State University

Abstract The era of continuous improvement is upon us and many academic institutions of higher learning, and their academic programs, have come to realize some of the challenges involved in satisfying the mandates imposed by different accrediting agencies. For those institutions in the southern United States, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is the main accrediting agency. For Engineering and Engineering Technology programs within such institutions, ABET inc., is the main accrediting agency for their programs. While it is very rare that an institution will have both accreditation agencies visiting in the same year, it does occasionally occur. The Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology (ECET) department at Southern Polytechnic State University has recently had to deal with this occurrence. Since a total of six Engineering Technology programs on campus were up for accreditation, the institution felt that it was necessary, and important, to co-ordinate the preparations for the visit, and at the same time to prepare for the SACS visit which followed. In preparing for these visits, several challenges were encountered that contributed to making the task more arduous than usual. Apart from the fact that not all of the programs were within the same college, were under the administration of different Deans, and were in various different stages of preparedness, the language of accreditation that is used by ABET inc., was sometimes found to be in conflict with that used by SACS. This paper discusses some of the issues encountered in preparing for the two visits and the efforts made to reconcile the ABET and SACS accreditation requirements.

I. Introduction Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) is a Science, Engineering and Technology focused university located in Marietta, Georgia. It is an urban institution with a population of approximately 4,500 students who are predominantly commuters. The university serves a sizeable population of non-traditional students. As such, many programs offer courses at night as well as during the daytime. Being located in southeastern United States, the university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

The ECET department at SPSU offers three Baccalaureate degree programs in Engineering Technology; the B.S in Electrical Engineering Technology (BSEET), the B.S. in Computer Engineering Technology (BSCpET) and the B.S. in Telecommunications Engineering Technology (BSTCET). All three programs are ABET accredited. During the last accreditation cycle, ABET allowed the option of going by the old criteria or opting for the new accreditation

Asgill, A., & Zia, O. (2009, June), Surviving The Accreditation Double Whammy: Abet And Sacs Accreditation In The Same Year Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5650

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