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ABET Accreditation Workshop on Innovations in ICT Education Beijing, China Oct. 22, 2012 Michael Lightner, Prof. and Chair ECEE University of Colorado,

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Presentation on theme: "ABET Accreditation Workshop on Innovations in ICT Education Beijing, China Oct. 22, 2012 Michael Lightner, Prof. and Chair ECEE University of Colorado,"— Presentation transcript:

1 ABET Accreditation Workshop on Innovations in ICT Education Beijing, China Oct. 22, 2012 Michael Lightner, Prof. and Chair ECEE University of Colorado, Boulder 2012 VP EAB IEEE 2006 IEEE President Member of the ABET Board of Directors

2 2 Disclaimer I am not speaking as a representative of ABET, although I can relate my experiences as a Board member as well as a chair of a program that is ABET accredited I can relate IEEE practices in support of ABET accreditation as well as other regional accrediting bodies

3 3 Purpose of Any Accreditation Process  Accreditation of a program, degree, or university is a process carried out by a third party that provides a statement to the general public that the program, degree or university meets the requirements set by the accrediting body  These requirements are best viewed as a lower bound and do not, in general, differentiate a truly excellent program from an average program  Understanding the requirements of an accrediting body enables other organizations, such as universities, companies and government organizations, to compare graduates of one program to another – to mutually recognize each other  Accrediting bodies have developed multinational agreements or accords that provide for mutual recognition, e.g. Washington Accords, Sydney Accords, etc.

4 4 Accreditation Accreditation is NOT mandatory –In the US, most (all?) states require that public universities are accredited –This is not professional accreditation –University accreditation is useful because it opens certain types of federal aid to the students who attend that university –University accreditation is done by regional accrediting agencies  Non-profit, non-governmental  All members (recognized) by CHEA – Council on Higher Education Accreditation

5 5 Accreditation Professional accreditation is NOT mandatory –The primary benefit is that students who graduate from an ABET program are able to start the professional licensure program immediately  Licensure not required and many EEs are never licensed –There are probably other benefits in other professions  Law, business, music, journalism, all have professional accreditation –In most cases professional accreditation requires that the university is already accredited

6 6 Accreditation Professional accreditation is NOT mandatory –Historically CS programs were not accredited –CSAB was formed for this purpose and later became part of ABET –Still many CS programs are not accredited –Some accredited CS programs are dropping accreditation due to the effort it takes and no perceived benefit for the students  Northeastern Univ. just dropped its CS accreditation

7 7 Accreditation Professional accreditation is NOT mandatory –However, most engineering programs are accredited –Used as a quality measure –Used to show some level of equivalence between programs –Useful in mutual recognition

8 8 Objectives of ABET Identify to the public at large, specific programs that meeting minimum criteria for accreditation Provide guidance for the improvement of the existing and development of future educational programs Stimulate the improvements of applied science, computing, engineering and technology programs in the United States 8

9 9 Types of Accreditation Peer recognition –Accreditation began this way – groups of universities visiting each other and offering critiques and recommendations Organizational requirements –Professional and licensing organizations prescribe either specific curriculum content, or require skills –Could be government bodies setting a variety of requirements Outcome based –Outcomes can be judged in a number of ways  Tests that every graduate of the program takes  A review of the performance of the students  A survey of graduate several years after graduation to determine success  A survey of employers of graduates to determine their level of performance

10 10 ABET Program Education Objectives – board statements that describe the career and professional accomplishments that the program is preparing graduates to achieve Program Outcomes – narrower statements that describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation. Related to skills, knowledge, and behaviors that students acquire in their matriculation through the program Assessment – one or more processes that identify, collect, and prepare data to evaluate the achievement of program outcomes and program educational objectives Evaluation – one of more processes for interpreting the data and evidence gathered through assessment. Determine the extent to which outcomes are being achieved and results in decisions and actions to improve the program

11 11 ABET Strictly non-governmental Composed of 31 Member Societies –Non-governmental profession organizations meeting certain criteria including the ability to speak for the profession Member societies in charge of different programs –Set program criteria, identify program evaluators ABET sets the general criteria, conducts reviews, evaluates and determines the results of accreditation visits, evolves processes and procedures

12 12 Sample Program Criteria Two components –General Criteria and Program Criteria –General Criteria  Students must be evaluated  Program Educational Objectives published  Student Outcomes –Ability to apply knowledge of math, science, engineering –Design and conduct experiments, analyze and interpret data –Design system, component or process to meet desired goal within reasonable constraints –Function on multidisciplinary teams –Identify, formulate and solve engineering problems –Understand professional and ethical responsibility –Communicate effectively –Broad education to understand societal impacts –Recognition need for life-long learning –Knowledge of contemporary issues –Use techniques, skills and modern engineering tools

13 13 General Criteria Continuous Improvement Curriculum –1.5 years of engineering topics –Culminating major design experience – often called the capstone design course Faculty –Sufficient number and with range of competencies to cover all the curricular areas of the program –Must have appropriate qualifications Facilities –Classrooms, offices, laboratories and associated equipment must be adequate to support attainment of the student outcomes –Modern tools, equipment, computing resources, and laboratories must be available –Library services and computing and information infrastructure must be adequate

14 14 Program Criteria Electrical, Computer and Similarly Named Engineering Programs –The structure of the curriculum must provide both breadth and depth across the range of engineering topics implied by the title of the program –The curriculum must include probability and statistics, including applications appropriate to the program name; mathematics through differential and integral calculus; sciences; and engineering topics (including computer science) necessary to analyze and design complex electrical and electronic devices, software, and systems containing hardware and software –Electrical programs must include advanced math such as differential equations, linear algebra, complex variables and discrete math –Computer programs must include discrete math

15 15 Program Criteria – Computer Science 1.3 years include –Fundamentals of algorithms, data structures, software design, concepts of programming languages, computer organization and architecture –Exposure to a variety of programming languages and systems –Proficiency in at least one higher-level language –Advanced course work to provide depth 1 year of science and math –.5 yr discrete math, calculus, linear algebra, numerical analysis, probability, statistics, number theory, geometry or symbolic logic –Science, provide understanding of scientific method and include a laboratory component

16 16 Program Criteria – Information Systems One year –Coverage of fundamentals of a modern programming language, data management, networking and data communications, systems analysis and design and the role of Information Systems in organizations –Advanced course work that builds on the fundamentals –.5 yr course work that must include varied topics in an environment in which information systems are applied professionally –Quantitative analysis or methods including statistics

17 17 Program Criteria – Information Technology Fundamentals of –Core information technologies of human computer interaction, information management, programming, networking, web systems and technologies –Information assurance and security –System administration and maintenance –System integration and architecture Advanced course work that builds on the fundamentals

18 18 Why Accreditation? Can be gateway to professional licensure Studying in an accredited school can open the door to financial aid Certain employers will only hire graduates from accredited programs If the accrediting body is a member of a global accord then the degree is recognized in multiple countries Knowledge that the program you are in meets national, regional or international standards

19 19 Accreditation – Easy or Hard? Yes! –It is extra work  Setting various outcomes  Assessing the outcomes  Evaluating the outcomes  Implementing continuous improvement –Can conflict with other goals/realities  Research  Limited resources – time, money, people –However  Processes such as ABET’s mimic how we might want to design, build, maintain and improve an engineered system  It seems only appropriate that an engineering educational system be treated as any other engineered system

20 20 Many Other Aspects of Accreditation I can provide reflections in the Q&A from a program that has just gone through an accreditation visit Thank you!

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