By Dustin Manley
Accreditation signifies that programs have undergone a process of peer-review and were determined to meet or exceed an established benchmark of quality. While the processes are voluntary, ABET and CEAB accreditation are a necessity for engineering and technology programs across Canada and the United States to remain competitive, attract the brightest students, and ensure strong employability rates.
Founded in 1932, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET) is a not-for-profit body which accredits associate, bachelor, and master degree programs in the applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology in the United States. While 81% of its accredited program institutions are located within the United States the ABET provides accreditation services to programs in 30 countries across the world, with the exclusion of Canada.
Programs applying for ABET accreditation are evaluated by one of the body’s four commissions based upon their academic discipline:
- Applied Science Accreditation Commission (ASAC)
- Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC)
- Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC)
- Engineering Technology Accredited Commission (ETAC)
The Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) was established in 1965 as a subcommittee of Engineers Canada to review and provide quality assurance of undergraduate engineering programs within Canada. Engineers Canada is a non-governmental organization supporting Canada’s 12 provincial and territorial engineering bodies which serve to regulate the profession and license its 280,000 members. Programs eligible for CEAB accreditation must be in Canada, delivered at the undergraduate level, and include the word “engineering” in their title. While the CEAB does not accredit international programs, it has established equivalency terms with engineering programs in 18 countries across the world.
While the recognition of peer-review is valuable, the important reasons programs seek ABET and CEAB accreditation is so their alumni are able to legally practice. All Canadian engineers must hold a CEAB-accredited or recognized degree in order to apply for licensure and to practice anywhere in Canada. The vast majority of the United States also requires ABET-accredited degrees from prospective practicing professionals in engineering and technology.
Academic programs applying for accreditation are evaluated by an external team composed of members from the private, public, and academic sectors. The ABET and CEAB share a similar accreditation process:
Both ABET and CEAB accreditation processes require a significant level of coordination and planning within academic programs. The collection and documentation of years’ worth of assessments, course materials, and student transcripts often poses the largest logistical challenge. In order to alleviate the stress during accreditation review, an increasing number of institutions are using digital educational technologies which serve to organize and store digital artefacts and records of student assessments and documents on a regular basis.
While pursuing accreditation is technically a voluntary process, in reality it is mandatory for academic engineering and technology programs across Canada and the United States
ABET and CEAB applications and renewals may be resource and labour intensive tasks; however, engaging in good record keeping through digital technology and maintaining proactive communication with students and faculty make the processes much more manageable.
- Accreditation: Setting the Standard Worldwide
- Accreditation Resources
- Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board: 2016 Accreditation Criteria and Procedures (PDF)
Originally posted on crowdmark.com