How is the COE different from, or similar to, the accreditation body for engineering education?

Q: How is the COE different from, or similar to, the accreditation body for engineering education?

A: Engineering accreditation uses a different operational model. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is a federation of 34 engineering societies that serves the interests of its member societies. The member societies set policy, develop strategy, and conduct accreditation activities worldwide on behalf of their professions.  ABET accredits approximately 3,400 programs at nearly 700 colleges and universities in 28 countries. Each year, over 2,200 volunteers from 34 member societies contribute to the accreditation of programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology education, serving as program evaluators, committee and council members, commissioners, and members of the ABET Board of Directors.  Directors are selected and appointed by their member societies, with each society appointing at least one but not more than three directors. The ABET board establishes the vision and direction for the organization. It approves changes to the ABET Constitution, Bylaws, Rules of Procedure and accreditation criteria. It adopts policies and approves programs and initiatives to support its Vision, Mission and Strategic Plan. The board reviews and approves accreditation criteria and decides appeals of accreditation decisions. It also elects its officers, and approves the annual budget and fees, the assessment formula, and financial policies.

ABET operates four accreditation commissions that lead and conduct its accreditation activities. Each commission reviews programs related to different sectors of the technical disciplines:

  • Applied Science Accreditation Commission
  • Computing Accreditation Commission
  • Engineering Accreditation Commission
  • Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission

Each commission is responsible for reviewing educational programs and making the final accreditation decision for each program. Their members make final decisions about all program accreditation actions, except for appeals, which fall to the Board of Directors. Each accreditation commission is responsible for the continuous review and enhancement of its particular criteria, policies, and procedures.  All changes to the accreditation criteria and policies require the Board’s approval.  ABET is not recognized by the USDE.  It maintains recognition by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) only.