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Synergies of Converging ABET, ATMAE, and Institutional Accreditation Processes

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

TAC/ABET-related Outcome-based Assessment Methods and Models

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1225.1 - 25.1225.25



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Paper Authors


Michael J. Dyrenfurth Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Michael J. Dyrenfurth is a Professor of Industrial Technology in the College of Technology at Purdue University. He is a member of the ASEE and he has served on the Board of the ETD and as program chair for the CIEC in New Orleans (2008). Previously he completed a four year term as Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies in Purdue University’s College of Technology. He is co-PI of two international EU-FIPSE funded grants. His scholarship agenda focuses on technological innovation, technological literacy, workforce development, and international dimensions of these fields. Increasingly, he has turned his attention to the assessment of technological capability and understanding. He received his Ph.D. from Bowling Green State University and his Masters and Bachelor’s degrees at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Immediately before coming to Purdue, he served as graduate coordinator for the Industrial Education and Technology Department at Iowa State University. Previously, for twenty years, he was on the faculty of the University of Missouri’s Department of Practical Arts and Vocational Technical Education in various professorial, coordinator and leadership roles. Internationally he has worked in Germany, South Africa, Poland, the USSR, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Czech and Slovak Republics, Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Taiwan His early experience involved teaching in Alberta and at universities in North Dakota and New Jersey.

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Kathryne Newton Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Kathy Newton is a professor in the Technology Leadership and Innovation Department at Purdue University. Her teaching and scholarly interests are in the areas of industrial distribution, quality control, innovation, and graduate education. She recently completed a three-year appointment as Department Head. Prior to her appointment at Purdue University in 1993, she spent seven years teaching for Texas A&M University’s Department of Engineering Technology. Newton has a Ph.D. in industrial education, a master’s degree in business administration, and a B.S. in industrial distribution, each from Texas A&M University.

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Kathy NewtonMichael DyrenfurthSteve ElliottMatthew StephensRagu Athinayaranan Synergies of converging ABET, ATMAE and Institutional Accreditation ProcessesAbstract: The challenges of achieving and maintaining accreditation for undergraduate programs inengineering technology disciplines such as those offered by the Accreditation Board for Engineering andTechnology (ABET) and the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE)are well known, and are often made more complex when complicated by divergent requirements foraccreditation standards for the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The challenges are to some degreemultiplied when a department is accredited by all three – particularly when those occur within a shorttime window of two years. Purdue University’s Department of Technology Leadership and Innovation (formerly namedIndustrial Technology Department) in the College of Technology faced this challenge and met itsuccessfully during the 2008 – 2010 time frame. During the accreditation assessment and documentionphases, some opportunities for synergism were found to have resulted in increased efficiencies inpursing the differing accreditation requirements. The purpose of the presentation is to share how theuse of shared learning outcomes and technology created some advantages for the accreditation process.Also discussed will be the disadvantages of managing multiple accreditation processes. The accreditation assessment and documentation phases were established so that assessmentmechanisms would “fit” for all accreditation standards. While not all outcome requirements wereexactly the same, it was possible build all of the accreditation requirements into a single set ofstandards, endin up with a richer, more comprehensive set of learning outcomes as a result. It isbelieved that this benefited faculty and students by creating a more consistent message for what wasimportant to our department, as well as a better for faculty learning, discover and engagementactivities. Additionally, communicating to both employers and alumnae (and seeking their feedbackabout our programs) was simplified by having a single set of learning outcomes to evaluate. The effortto meet multiple requirements with one approach (using a syllabi format for contents) was also found toengender useful conversations among faculty that was helpful to moving accreditation in a positivedirection. The use of technology was a critical element that ultimately provided efficienciencies for all 3accreditations. Constant contact was employed for conducting surveys from and communicating withconstituencies. Having a single location for all the survey instruments, e-listings, and survey resultscontinues to pay dividends years after beginng to use it. The use of central information archiving wasalso useful. Shared drives were essential for collection of individual course learning outcomes andsyllabi in standardized formats. Likewise, cloud computing mechanisms were used for loadingdocuments in draft form and allowing multiple editors to edit and track changes over time. We alsoused a website that enabled data input for institutional records that simplified reporting for allaccreditation requirements. While these efficiencies were important to us, and well worth the effort to utilize, the downsidewas that not all faculty were as equipped for technology use, which made training important.Investment in training, time and money was essential in achieving our accreditations. It must also be acknowledged that it was more expensive to go through multiple accreditationprocesses because each has its own assessment fee. However, it was believed to be a competitiveadvantage to having multiple accreditations. Employers and parents are better assured of a thorougheducation, and we believe there is a strong marketing message.

Dyrenfurth, M. J., & Newton, K. (2012, June), Synergies of Converging ABET, ATMAE, and Institutional Accreditation Processes Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21982

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