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Uncertainty About Uncertainty: What Constitutes “Knowledge of Probability and Statistics Appropriate to the Program Name and Objectives” in our Program Accreditation Criteria

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Innovative Instructional Strategies and Curricula in ECE II

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1559.1 - 22.1559.7



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Paper Authors


Jeffrey A. Jalkio University of Saint Thomas

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Jeff Jalkio received his Ph.D in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and worked for thirteen years in industry in the fields of optical sensor design and process control. In 1984, he co-founded CyberOptics Corporation, where he led engineering efforts as Vice President of Research. In 1997 he returned to academia, joining the engineering faculty of the University of St. Thomas where he teaches courses in digital electronics, computing, electromagnetic fields, controls, and design.

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Uncertainty about Uncertainty: what constitutes “knowledge of probability and statistics appropriate to the program name and objectives” in our program accreditation criteriaAbstractEAC of ABET program accreditation criteria for Electrical, Computer, andsimilarly named engineering programs include the requirement that the programmust demonstrate that graduates have knowledge of probability and statistics,including applications appropriate to the program name and objectives. In thispaper, we examine what knowledge this might be and why this is a non-trivialquestion to answer. Probability and statistics appear in many places in the field ofelectrical engineering and the tools appropriate in one application can be quitemisleading in another. Without a deep understanding of the underlying principles,students can easily become confused by the great variety of statistical techniquesavailable to them and may form the impression that statistics is a bag of tricks withno underlying principles to provide guidance. Since professional statisticians stilldisagree about some of the most fundamental concepts in their field we must askthe question of how we can be sure that we are meeting this requirement foraccreditation. Our goals are to identify patterns of topics in which probability andstatistics are applied in electrical engineering and to note how the applications (andin some cases even the fundamental concepts involved) differ between thesedifferent topics.

Jalkio, J. A. (2011, June), Uncertainty About Uncertainty: What Constitutes “Knowledge of Probability and Statistics Appropriate to the Program Name and Objectives” in our Program Accreditation Criteria Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18527

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