American University of Sharjah (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 3094-3101
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
ABET is a non-profit organization that accredits United States postsecondary degree programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology. Accreditation provides a structured mechanism to assess, evaluate, and improve the quality of these programs. Accreditation plays an important role in assisting prospective students to choose from various programs and also helps employers make informed recruitment decisions. ABET evaluates specific engineering programs based on the program’s outcomes. A program’s outcomes describe what typical graduating students know when graduating and achieving the outcomes would enhance their performance in their apprentice stage of their career path.
ABET defines eleven criteria (a through k) for evaluating outcomes of the postsecondary programs; each program applying for ABET accreditation is required to show how it meets these eleven criteria. These criteria define required competencies of engineering graduates to function effectively in their workplace upon graduation.
Engineering graduates’ competencies develop over time. The Employee Competency Maturity Model (ECMM) presented in this paper defines five levels through which competencies of recent graduates develop as they progress through their careers. These five levels are Entry, Consistency, Structured, Managed, and Optimum. A key component of the ECMM model is that it defines an individuals’ competency with respect to three dimensions; Job-focus, Person-focused, and Role-focus.

The first objective of this paper is to evaluate how well the outcomes of the ABET criteria define the competencies of engineering graduates in the three competency dimensions (Job, Person, and Role) and provide suggestions for improvements in the way these outcomes are stated. This is important since these outcomes provide the guidelines for engineering programs in the way they structure their curriculum as well as the methods they use in the teaching of courses within the curriculum.

The second objective of this paper is to map the competencies resulting from the ABET outcomes to the five levels of the ECMM. This provides a clear picture of the competency level for which the ABET criteria prepares the graduates upon their graduation and after few years in the workplace. In doing so, an attempt is made to provide suggestions for different ways to state the ABET criteria’s outcomes that may elevate the maturity level of engineering graduates and enhance their performance in their career.

competency, abet, accreditation, engineering.