On February 16, 2016, the National Academy of Engineering held a forum to discuss proposed changes to criteria used by ABET (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) to accredit engineering programs in colleges and universities around the world. The Forum on Proposed Revisions to ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission General Criteria on Student Outcomes and Curriculum (Criteria 3 and 5) convened a variety of stakeholders in the education of engineers, including representatives of universities, industry, and professional organizations. The presenters and attendees discussed the proposed changes and related issues such as a perceived lack of communication surrounding the development of the proposed changes and the degree to which the criteria prepare engineering students for jobs after graduation. The forum agenda is appendix A, the ABET Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs, 2016–2017, excluding program‐specific criteria, are in appendix B, and the proposed revisions are detailed in appendix C.
This summary of the forum presentations and discussions reflects only the opinions of those who spoke at the workshop. This summary has been prepared by the workshop rapporteur as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop; it offers no conclusions or recommendations. The planning committee’s role was limited to planning and convening the workshop. The views contained in the report are those of individual workshop participants and do not necessarily represent the views of all workshop participants, the planning committee, or the National Academy of Engineering.
Chapter 1 provides background and the context for the forum, including concerns expressed at the forum about a perceived lack of communication between ABET and the engineering education community. Chapter 2 reports comments on two broader aspects of the proposed ABET criteria, definitions of terminology and the overall requirements for an engineering degree. Chapter 3 summarizes discussions about the connection between the ABET criteria and how well prepared graduating engineering students are for a career in engineering, touching on industry needs, lifelong learning, and licensing. Chapter 4 looks at nontechnical aspects of an engineering education, such as the requirements for a “broad” or “general” education, multidisciplinary teams, and the importance of diversity. Chapter 5 briefly reviews the next steps in the process that will potentially lead to a revised set of ABET criteria.
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