At the conclusion of the forum, Joe Sussman, ABET’s chief accreditation and information officer, reiterated that work on Criteria 3 and 5 is still in progress, recognized the importance of the forum for generating comments on the proposed changes, and encouraged interested stakeholders to continue to offer their opinions and suggestions about the proposed criteria to ABET. He strongly suspected that there would be further revisions and another cycle of feedback before the final approval of the revisions, but acknowledged that the Area Delegation might decide that enough work had been done, the changes to the criteria were acceptable, and approve them.
Patricia Daniels (University of Washington) offered her own take on the likely next steps. “I cannot tell you what the Criteria Committee will vote or what the Engineering Accreditation Commission will vote,” she said, “but I have seen some needs for some change, one of which is I am more than willing in Criterion 5(c) to remove the words ‘humanities and social sciences.’ I have learned now that was the wrong terminology.” She said she would recommend to the members of the Criteria Committee that they revise the criteria and send them back out for more comments but, again, could not guarantee how the EAC or Area Delegation would proceed.
If the Criteria Committee approved the criteria as written, Sussman said, the ABET board would vote on the proposed changes in October 2016, at which point they would be either approved or sent out for another round of review and comment. If the revised criteria were approved in October, they would not be effective until the 2017–2018 accreditation cycle at the earliest. But because of the breadth and complexity of the proposed changes, the Engineering Area Delegation might recommend to the EAC that there be a phase‐in period for the changes.
Finally, Atsushi Akera (Rensselaer Polytechnic) described other opportunities for providing feedback on the proposed criteria. The American Society for Engineering Education was planning to hold a virtual conference in late February or early March of 2016 to provide feedback on the proposed changes. And in late June 2016, a Town Hall session at the ASEE annual meeting in New Orleans will be dedicated to the proposed changes in the ABET criteria.
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