[2011 GEDC Conference Special] Accreditation in Engineering Education
Peking University, Oct. 22, 2011: This afternoon Session E of 2011Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC) Conference was held at Peking University. The session was entitled “Accreditation in Engineering Education” and moderated by Professor Hasan Mandal, Director of Research and Graduate Policies at Sabanci University.
The session included five speeches given by engineering school leaders from the U.S., Turkey, India and China and a free discussion on related issues. Three main topics were discussed in the speeches.
The first topicwas “the main challenges of accreditation process in my country”. Speakers talked about the inconsistence of undergraduate and graduate engineering education, the lack of sustainability in accreditation process and the dire need for engineers’ creative thinking and global competitiveness.
The second topic was “are you satisfied with the current accreditation process in your country?” Speakers from the U.S. talked about the current operation of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the interrelatedness of graduate attributes and professional competence and the need to sustain discipline-independence, to find collaborative approaches to a global process of evaluation and to rethink the current criteria. Speaker from India regarded the Indian accreditation process as a driving force that could raise the quality of engineering education and as a change agent that ranked and reshapes higher education. The speaker from Turkey talked about the history and development of MDK, the current Turkish accreditation process. She also expressed her dissatisfaction with the current curriculum design, faculty selection and the lack of stakeholder-awareness. The speaker from China cited the Sino-French Engineer School of Beihang University as an example and analyzed the problems of curriculum compatibility, faculty selection and conflicting standards for evaluation.
The third topic was “how GEDC can help to improve the accreditation process”. Speakers put emphasis on GEDC’s functions as an agent for collecting practices in different countries and a platform for sharing the best practices.
In the discussion section, attendees reached consensus that accreditation should be a driving force for excellence or a tool to encourage students in engineering education and rejected the inclination to regard accreditation as the ultimate goal. They also discussed the difficulties in building up a new curriculum and the recent efforts of curriculum reform with the aim of promoting innovation. One of the audiences raised a question about whether it was reasonable to permit students to choose their courses freely and give a specialized education penal the right to judge whether the students were qualified as engineers. Professor David Holger from Iowa State University said that such a curriculum reform might make creative individuals but could not necessarily make an engineer.
Reported by: Chen Jiayu
Edited by: Li Xiaomeng