ABET accredits over 3000 programs at around 700 colleges and universities in 24 nations. All of the engineering programs and all of the engineering technology programs at the University of Toledo, as well as the Information Technology program, are ABET-accredited. For programs to maintain their accreditation, an ABET team composed of volunteers from other universities and industry visits the programs every six years, and sometimes more often. This evaluation is an exhaustive and comprehensive process. During the visit the team examines a program’s curriculum, admission processes, graduation checkout processes, assessment processes, and samples of student work. Programs must demonstrate achievement of their stated objectives and outcomes. During the visit, the team interviews people at all levels, from students all the way through the president of the university. All baccalaureate degree programs in the College of Engineering (6 engineering, 5 engineering technology, and information technology majors) will be visited next in fall 2017.
Going through the accreditation process is a lot of work for the university and the programs being evaluated, as well as the visiting team. But accreditation gives students and administrators confidence in the quality of programs at the UT College of Engineering and ensures that the quality is continuously assessed and improved.
For more information on ABET and the accreditation process,
Frequently asked Questions (FAQ)
Q) Why do the faculty collect our homework and exams for ABET?
The ABET evaluation team expects to be able to examine samples of student work as part of their evaluation process.
Q) Why is ABET Accreditation important?
Being accredited authenticates that a program meets a certain minimum standard of quality. Many companies will not hire graduates from programs that are not accredited.
Q) How is the program evaluated?
The visiting ABET team consists of one evaluator per program plus a team leader. During the visit, the program evaluators talk to people in the program, faculty, students, the department chair, the undergraduate director and academic program coordinator. The team leader talks to the college administration - Dean, Associate Dean, and other college officials, and to the University Administration - President, Provost, admissions officer, registrar, career placement people, etc. Also, various members of the team normally visit representatives in the college of Arts and Sciences, in particular, the departments of math, chemistry, and physics. Each discipline's professional society maintains a list of people from whom the program evaluators are chosen. Evaluators are volunteers but to get on the list a person must be selected by their discipline's professional society and they must undergo training. These groups from whom evaluators are chosen are made up of both practicing engineers from industry as well as faculty members from many different universities, most of whom would normally have held some type of administrative appointment at their respective universities. The team that visits the campus will thus be made up of people from industry as well as faculty from other universities. Normally the team would also have a representative from the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers who would be an observer.
One exception to the one evaluator per program rule occurs with our computer science and engineering program. This is because one branch of ABET, the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) accredits computer science programs and another branch, the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) accredits computer engineering programs. Our CSE program is one of only a few in the country that maintains accreditation by both the EAC and the CAC. Because of this dual accreditation, the our team will actually have two team chairs, one from the EAC and one from the CAC. Also, CSE will have two program evaluators, one for computer science from the CAC and one for computer engineering from the EAC.
The desired outcome of an ABET visit is that a program gets accredited for another six years. Note that programs are accredited, not colleges or universities. Thus, it is possible for one program to be accredited for six years while another program at a university might not get the full six years. Generally, in cases where a program has a weakness in some area, accreditation will be maintained but the program will have to address the weakness. In such cases, an interim report might have to be filed with ABET, or in more serious cases, ABET might visit sooner than the six year interval.