In my visits under the old EAC criteria, I found the specific numerical quantitative criteria very useful. I believe that it was useful for the school to analyze each program relative to the numerical criteria and during the first meeting with the team, discussion of the school's numerical response provided a productive starting point. However, it was very important to consider the qualitative as well as the quantitative spects of the program,

During a visit to a major University, the dean of engineering reported that the credits for design in their aerospace program were only two thirds of the minimum EAC design requirement. My evaluator for that program was the lead professor in one of our most prestigious aerospace programs. During our second evening discussion he pointed out that with fine facilities, good planning and very capable faculty he recommended full accreditation for the program and it was granted, so that provided at least one exception to the charge that EAC volunteers were simply "bean counters".

The following is submitted to show the change to qualitative:
"Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs Effective for Evaluations during the 2006-2007 Accreditation Cycle (From http://www.abet.org)
These criteria are intended to assure quality and to foster the systematic pursuit of improvement in the quality of engineering education that satisfies the needs of constituencies in a dynamic and competitive environment. It is the responsibility of the institution seeking accreditation of an engineering program to demonstrate clearly that the program meets the following criteria.
I. GENERAL CRITERIA FOR BASIC LEVEL PROGRAMS

Criterion 1. Students
The quality and perfonnance of the students and graduates are important considerations in the evaluation of an engineering program. The institution must evaluate student performance, advise students regarding curricular and career matters, and monitor student's progress to foster their success in achieving program outcomes, thereby enabling them as graduates to attain program objectives.
The institution must have and enforce policies for the acceptance of transfer students and for the validation of courses taken for credit elsewhere. The institution must also have and enforce procedures to assure that all students meet all program requirements.

Criterion 2. Program Educational Objectives Although institutions may use different terminology, for purposes educational objectives are broad statements that describe the accomplishments that the program is preparing graduates to achieve.
Each engineering program for which an institution seeks accreditation or reaccreditation must have in place:
(a) detailed published educational objectives that are consistent with the mission of the institution and these criteria.
(b) a process based on the needs of the program's various constituencies in which the objectives are detennined and periodically evaluated
(c) an educational program, including a curriculum that prepares students to attain program outcomes and that fosters accomplishments of graduates that are consistent with these objectives
(d) a process of ongoing evaluation of the extent to which these objectives are attained, the result of which shall be used to develop and improve the program outcomes so that graduates are better prepared to attain the objectives.

Criterion 3. Program Outcomes and Assessment Although institutions may use different terminology, for purposes of Criterion 3, program outcomes are statements that describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation. These relate to the skills, knowledge, and behaviors that student acquire in their matriculation through the program.
Each program must formulate program outcomes that foster attainment of the program objectives articulated in satisfaction of Criterion 2 of these criteria. There must be processes to produce these outcomes and an assessment process, with documented results, that demonstrates that these program outcomes are being measured and indicates the degree to which the outcomes are achieved. There must be evidence that the results of this assessment process are applied to the further development of the program.
Engineering programs must demonstrate that their students attain:
(a) an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering (b) an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
(c) an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
(d) an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams
(e) an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
(f) an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
(g) an ability to communicate effectively
(h) the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
(i) a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
(j) a knowledge of contemporary issues
(k) an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modem engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.

In addition, an engineering program must demonstrate that its students attain any additional outcomes articulated by the program to foster achievement of its education objectives.

Criterion 4. Professional Component
The professional component requirements specify subject areas appropriate to engineering but do not prescribe specific courses. The faculty must ensure that the program curriculum devotes adequate attention and time to each component, consistent with the outcomes and objectives of the program and institution. The professional component must include:
(a) one year of a combination of college level mathematics and basic sciences (some with experimental experience) appropriate to the discipline
(b) one and one-half years of engineering topics, consisting of engineering sciences and engineering design appropriate to the student's field of study. The engineering sciences have their roots in mathematics and basic sciences but carry knowledge further toward creative application. These studies provide a bridge between mathematics and basic sciences on the one hand and engineering practice on the other. Engineering design is the process of devising a system, component, or process to meet desired needs. It is a decisionmaking process (often iterative), in which the basic sciences, mathematics, and the engineering sciences are applied to convert resources optimally to meet these stated needs.
(c) a general education component that complements the technical content of the curriculum and is consistent with the program and institution objectives.
Students must be prepared for engineering practice through the curriculum culminating in a major design experience based on the knowledge and skills acquired in earlier course work and incorporating appropriate engineering standards and multiple realistic constraints.

Criterion 5. Faculty
The faculty is the heart of any educational program. The faculty must be of sufficient number; and must have the competencies to cover all of the curricular areas of the program. There must be sufficient faculty to accommodate adequate levels of student-faculty interaction, student advising and counseling, university service activities, professional development, and interactions with industrial and professional practitioners, as well as employers of students. The program faculty must have appropriate qualifications and must have and demonstrate sufficient authority to ensure the proper guidance of the program and to develop and implement processes for the evaluation, assessment, and continuing improvement of the program, its educational objectives and outcomes. The overall competence of the faculty may be judged by such factors as education, diversity of backgrounds, engineering experience, teaching experience, ability to communicate, enthusiasm for developing more effective programs, level of scholarship, participation in professional societies, and licensure as Professional Engineers.

Criterion 6. Facilities
Classrooms, laboratories, and associated equipment must be adequate to accomplish the program objectives and provide an atmosphere conducive to learning. Appropriate facilities must be available to foster faculty-student interaction and to create a climate that encourages professional development and professional activities. Programs must provide opportunities for students to learn the use of modem engineering tools. Computing and information infrastructures must be in place to support the scholarly activities of the students and faculty and the educational objectives of the program and institution.

Criterion 7. Institutional Support and Financial Resources Institutional support, financial resources, and constructive leadership must be adequate to assure the quality and continuity of the engineering program. Resources must be sufficient to attract, retain, and provide for the continued professional development of a well-qualified faculty. Resources also must be sufficient to acquire, maintain, and operate facilities and equipment appropriate for the engineering program. In addition, support personnel and institutional services must be adequate to meet program needs.

Criterion 8. Program Criteria
Each program must satisfy applicable Program Criteria (if any). Program Criteria provide the specificity needed for interpretation of the basic level criteria as applicable to a given discipline. Requirements stipulated in the Program Criteria are limited to the areas of curricular topics and faculty qualifications. If a program, by virtue of its title, becomes subject to two or more sets of Program Criteria, then that program must satisfy each set of Program Criteria; however, overlapping requirements need to be satisfied only once."


Our effort to make the criteria more understandable to the evaluators and the accreditees involved more quantitative requirements with recommended minimum numbers and we got rid of many imprecise "weasel" words in the criteria. All the imprecise words we eliminated are used in the new Criteria.

The difference between our old Critertia and the new is best seen by considering the new Criterion 4. Professional Component:
At first glance, Item (a) does appears to be quantitative but what is the definition of a year? Is a year 12 months, 9 months or an academic year? We faced this problem and as noted in the preceding decided that a year was 32 semester hours. But now our hard won conclusion has been discarded and who now defines what a year is?? In the interest of better understanding we got rid of ill-defined phrases like "appropriate to". "consistent with". or words like "adequate" but we now find all of these have returned and surely they must create problems in deciding and defending accreditation actions,

TO DEMONSTRATE THE LACK OF QUANTITATIVE CONTENT IN THE NEW PROFESSIONAL COMPONENT, COMPARE IT TO OUR 1989 PROFESSIONAL COMPONENT:
"In the statements that follow, one-half year of study can, at the option of the Institution, be considered to be equivalent to 16 semester credit hours (24 quarter hours).
a. For those institutions which elect to prepare graduates for entry Into the profession at the basic level, ABET expects the curricular content of the program to Include the equivalent of at least three years of study in the areas of mathematics, basic sciences, engineering sciences, engineering design, and the humanities and social sciences. The coursework must include at least:
(1) one year of an appropriate combination of mathematics and basic sciences,
(2) one year of engineering sciences,
(3) one-half year of engineering design, and
(4) one-half year of humanities and social sciences.
b. The overall curriculum must provide an Integrated educational experience directed toward the development of the ability to apply pertinent knowledge to the Identification and solution of practical problems In the designated area of engineering specialization. The curriculum must be designed to provide, and student transcripts must reflect, a sequential development leading to advanced work."


(c) is a very weakened version of the social-humanistic requirement we established:
COMPARE THE NEW VERSION TO OUR 1989
CRITERIA:
"(4) HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
(a) Studies in the humanities and social sciences serve not only to meet the objectives of a broad education, but also to meet the objectives of the engineering profession. Therefore, studies in the humanities and the social sciences must be planned to reflect a rationale or fulfill an objective appropriate to the engineering profession and the Institutions educational objectives. In the Interests of making engineers fully aware of their social responsibilities and better able to consider related factors In the decision
making process, institutions must require coursework In the humanities and social sciences as an integral part of the engineerIng program. This philosophy cannot be overemphasized. To satisfy this requirement, the courses selected must provide both breadth and depth and not be limited to a selection of unrelated Introductory courses.
(b) Such coursework must meet the generally accepted definitions that humanities are the branches of knowledge concerned with man and his culture, while social sciences are the studies of Individual relationships In and to society. Examples of traditional subjects In these areas are philosophy, religion, history, literature, fine arts, sociology, psychology, political science, anthropology,economics, and foreign languages other than a student's native language(s). Non. traditional subjects are exemplified by courses such as technology and human affairs, history of technology, and professional ethics and social responsibility. Courses that instill cultural values are acceptable, while routine exercises of personal craft are not. Consequently, courses that involve performance must be accompanied by theory or history of the subject.
(c) Subjects such as accounting, Industrial management, finance, personnel administration, engineering economy, and military training may be appropriately Included either as required or elective courses In engineering curricula to satisfy desired program objectives of the Institution. However, such courses usually do not fulfill the objectives desired of the humanities and social science content.
3. Other courses, which are not predominantly mathematics, basic science, engineering science, engineering design, humanities or social sciences, may be considered by the Institution as essential to some engineering programs. Portions of such courses may Include subject matter that can be properly classified in one of the essential curricular areas, but this must be demonstrated in each case."
In the preceding two examples, which are the most informative and enforceable? Why would any group of real engineers agree to the change from old to new??
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