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Trials Of A Beginning Abet Evaluator: An Unauthorized Tell All Biography

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Trends in Civil Engineering Accreditation

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1208.1 - 8.1208.5



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Paper Authors

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Allen Estes

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

Session 2515

Trials of a Beginning ABET Evaluator: An Unauthorized Tell-All Biography

Allen C. Estes United States Military Academy


The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) has now evaluated a large number of schools under the Engineering Criteria (EC) 20001 where the focus is on the establishment of outcomes and objectives, the two-loop assessment process, and the resulting system of continuous improvement. This paper highlights the experience of a relatively new ABET evaluator. The author has made the transition in two years from someone with no knowledge of the accreditation process to an educator who has: • attended evaluator training • served as an observer • prepared a self-study for his own Civil Engineering program • prepared for and survived an ABET evaluation of his own program, and • served as an ABET evaluator for a sister Civil Engineering program.

Whenever the rules for something as important as accreditation change dramatically as they have with the implementation of the EC2000, considerable angst from the participants is inevitable. The system is still evolving and the sharing of information is the best way to eliminate misperceptions and share the secrets to success. This paper provides a summary of this experience, lessons learned along the way, advice to those who are preparing for their own accreditation visits, and the perspective of the accreditation process from someone who is new to the system, yet has very recent experience on both sides of the accreditation process.

Evaluator Training

Prior to certification as an ABET evaluator, there are two steps that must occur – at least within the civil engineering discipline: • A candidate must attend evaluator training. It is usually conducted in conjunction with a well-attended professional conference as a matter of ease and efficiency. • A candidate serves as an observer during an ABET visit and learns from a certified evaluator. ABET attempts to find an equal number of evaluators from academia and from professional practice.

The evaluator training lasts between a half-day and a day and is laden with terminology. It seems overwhelming at first. There are abbreviations associated with the possible ratings (e.g., IV, IR, NGR) and a flow chart of options depending on whether an initial visit or a follow-up visit is being conducted. The requirements for continual assessment, the

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Estes, A. (2003, June), Trials Of A Beginning Abet Evaluator: An Unauthorized Tell All Biography Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11600

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015