Improving quality – that's been at the heart of ABET's mission for more than 79 years. Each year, over 85,000 students graduate from ABET-accredited programs in the applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology fields.
ABET has had an enormous impact on their future, and we're proud of our legacy of ensuring quality educational experiences for those preparing to enter the technical professions.
This year, in an effort to continuously improve as an organization and to continue that legacy of quality, we've focused our efforts to more fully engage with our core constituents: member societies, volunteers, academe, industry and government, and the general public. ABET's 2011 Annual Report describes our achievements.
Engaging Our Member Societies & Volunteers
Since our founding in 1932, we've grown from an initial membership of seven professional and technical societies to 31 members. Our newest member, Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN), is focused on assisting women engineering students achieve success, and is helping ABET achieve even greater diversity within its membership and volunteer pool.
As a federation of diverse societies, ABET is committed to building and maintaining a strong partnership with each of its members. Although collectively we share a common purpose, each society is unique in its membership and mission. The challenge for us is to recognize the varied needs of each member society and determine how we can best meet them, while vigorously building a strong coalition amongst them to perform accreditation activities.
To strengthen relationships with our member societies, we must strive to be aware of their unique perspectives on a wide range of critical issues – both short-term and far-reaching, strategic issues. This year, we created and staffed at ABET Headquarters a senior-level position dedicated to better support and engage our societies. We can be more responsive to their individual needs while growing our partnership with each of them.
To ensure a future that all societies will embrace, we embarked on a long-overdue evaluation of our strategic mission and vision. The Strategic Planning Task Force, formed this past spring, began a thorough review of our existing mission statement to make certain we're properly focused and positioned to support the future evolution of technical education on a global scale. We've also tasked all Board members to serve on a variety of strategic committees, to further enhance member engagement.
Professional development of our volunteer force is critical to ABET's core mission – providing the best accreditation review possible. To help improve consistency in the evaluation process, a volunteer-led training committee spent three years developing new training courses for current program evaluators and team chairs.
These courses were introduced online, and more than 1,400 volunteers completed them to prepare for 2011 program reviews. This training will bring a greater level of quality and stability to our accreditation process and will help develop our volunteer force into an even more efficient and effective team. We've also increased regular communications to all of our volunteers to ensure they're up-to-date on a number of important ABET activities.
We've made significant advances in working more closely with our academic partners. We reached a notable milestone this year: ABET's Academic Advisory Council celebrated its first anniversary. This permanent council of academic leaders advises the Board on a wide range of issues from the academic perspective and is instrumental in bridging the communications gap between ABET and academe.
In addition, ABET hosted the first-ever "ABET Day" at ASEE's Annual Conference in Vancouver, BC. This day-long event directly engaged faculty members with sessions such as:
- "What's New in ABET Accreditation"
- "Dispelling Myths: Common Misconceptions about ABET and Accreditation"
- "Educational Innovation and ABET-Accredited Programs: Can They Co-Exist?"
We've also continued to reach out to deans, department heads, and faculty in an increasing number of venues.
Engaging Industry & Government
Our industry and government partnerships are critical in helping to shape tomorrow's professionals. Without their direct support as volunteers, our mission would lack a shared purpose. We've increased our outreach activities to industry and government on a number of levels.
We've supported our industry-centric member societies by:
- Participating in their conference expositions with on-site display booths
- Drafting articles for society magazines
- Incorporating industry and government representatives into our discussion panels
- Addressing leaders directly at industry gatherings.
Additionally, ABET's Industry Advisory Council has worked hard to keep us focused on the “big issues” facing technical education in the rapidly changing landscape of economic and industrial globalization.
Engaging the Public
ABET's mission is to serve the public through the promotion and advancement of quality education. We don't take this responsibility lightly and go to great lengths to inform and educate this most crucial of all constituents.
This fall, we introduced our new website, www.abet.org, with an updated design and fresh content, including information for students and their families. We've also created a user-friendly web experience with a wealth of resources:
This will educate students about ABET accreditation while also helping them choose an accredited program – ensuring they will have a high-quality educational experience.
We have continued our role as a global leader by: