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Using An Industry Survey To Obtain Faculty Support For Abet 2000 Criteria

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



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Page Numbers

3.604.1 - 3.604.7

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Peter A. Koen

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Session 2642

Using an industry survey to obtain faculty support for ABET 2000 criteria

Peter A. Koen ASEE/Stevens Institute of Technology


Change is often very difficult. Survey’s which examine market and competitive realities are often rejected when they are not developed by the people who need to implement the change. This paper describes a four step process for developing and implementing an industry based survey using a powerful coalition of faculty. Initial findings of the survey indicate that the most important ABET criteria are the “softer skills” which are: the ability to identify, design and conduct experiments as well as analyze results; formulate and solve engineering problems; to engage in life-long learning; function on a multi-disciplinary team and communicate effectively. This survey indicates that engineering schools will need to improve on the “softer skills” while maintaining their strength in teaching the “harder” technical skills. As engineering schools embrace the assessment requirements of ABET 2000 they need to develop a survey process where the results will be embraced by the faculty and implemented into curriculum change. The key issue is not the survey, but the process utilized.

I. Introduction

Engineering schools are becoming more responsive to the needs of the undergraduates future employers. Employers are no longer accepting a passive role in the education process and are exerting their influence by decreasing the number of schools at which they recruit and financially support. This change is further being accelerated by the inclusion of outcomes and assessment measurements as a consequence of the expected adoption of the ABET Engineering Criteria 20001. Which outcomes and assessments indicated in the ABET should be emphasized? Will the faculty, who are the owners of the curriculum, agree with the prioritization and make appropriate changes so that the curriculum is aligned with the outcome expectations?

A pilot study2 was conducted in 1996 to assess the expectations and preparedness of Stevens Institute of Technology top 20 employers. Preliminary results verified many of the attributes indicated in the ABET Engineering Criteria. Our expectation was to expand this survey to include additional employers. However the results were rejected by many faculty at the Institute for multiple reasons. Some of the reasons given were: that the survey was not asking the right questions; that the questions were not worded correctly; and that it had not sampled the correct people. These criticisms, for the most part, were valid and could have been ameliorated by modifying the survey. However, the major issue, which was not properly addressed in designing

Koen, P. A. (1998, June), Using An Industry Survey To Obtain Faculty Support For Abet 2000 Criteria Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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