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The Experience Of A First Abet Evaluation

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1004.1 - 6.1004.10



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David Probst

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Session 1380

The Experience of a First ABET Evaluation David K. Probst Southeast Missouri State University


Southeast Missouri State University has had an Engineering Physics Program since the early 1980’s, but only recently became positioned to request evaluation for accreditation by ABET. Two sets of circumstances, one intentional and one fortuitous, enabled this; namely, the addition of a third bona fide engineer to the faculty and the implementation of Criteria 2000 by ABET. In this paper, we describe our program, the preparation for the visit by ABET in September 2000, and the preliminary results of the visit.

I. Introduction

The Engineering Physics Program at Southeast Missouri State University began in the early 1980’s in order to serve the needs of a constituency of students who were in the Pre-engineering Program, but who would prefer to finish an engineering degree without leaving the southeast Missouri area. The Physics Department offered Bachelor’s degrees in Physics and Physics Education and operated the Pre-engineering Program in which students spent two years at Southeast Missouri State University then transferred to an engineering school, usually the University of Missouri at either Rolla or Columbia, to complete their engineering degree. With the addition of the Engineering Physics Program, the Physics Department could offer students the opportunity to complete an engineering degree locally.

The faculty members at that time were all physicists, but one member had some systems engineering experience in industry and another was very interested in digital electronics and computers. Based on that faculty expertise and interest, the program was developed with an electrical engineering flavor. Accreditation by ABET was always a goal for the new program, but the accreditation criteria 1 for non-traditional programs in effect at the time required that at least four faculty members be educated as engineers or have significant engineering experience. Further, the criteria for technical content were rather specific, and the new program minimally satisfied them. So, over the next decade or so, as faculty members who were physicists retired, they were replaced by faculty members who were engineers. In 1994, the third engineer was added to the faculty. The previously mentioned faculty member with systems engineering experience and one of the physicists who had an engineering physics undergraduate degree together constituted the fourth engineer, or so we hoped.

The Engineering Physics Program did not have as much technical content as a typical engineering program primarily because Southeast Missouri State University has a larger general education requirement than most engineering schools. We viewed this as somewhat of a drawback for our program. We surveyed non-traditional programs around the country and found that the technical content of our Engineering Physics Program was at the very low end of the

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Probst, D. (2001, June), The Experience Of A First Abet Evaluation Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9254

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