ABET is a federation of 35 professional and technical societies. Societies with curricular responsibilities recruit, select, mentor, and assist in training qualified Program Evaluators who, along with Team Chairs, comprise the teams assigned to accreditation visits. ABET member societies also nominate individuals to the four ABET commissions (the Applied Science Accreditation Commission, the Computing Accreditation Commission, the Engineering Accreditation Commission, and the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission).
Institutions requesting an ABET review have a number of responsibilities to complete before ABET’s Visit Team arrives on site. Each program completes a Self-Study Report, which serves as the central document the team relies on for the review. In the Self-Study Report, each program details how the ABET Criteria are being met.
The institution hosts the site visit. On campus, institutions arrange for interviews and reviews of display materials, facilities, equipment, and other observations that cannot be included in the Self-Study Report.
After the visit, the institution has seven days to report errors of fact in the visiting team’s preliminary findings. After it receives the Draft Statement, the institution has 30 days to report actions it has taken since the visit to address the team’s findings and improve the program. These 30 days are called the “Due Process Response Period.”
The accreditation commissions are responsible for administering the ABET accreditation process, based on the Accreditation Policies and Procedures Manual and on the accreditation criteria, both of which are approved by the ABET Board of Delegates. The accreditation commissions recommend criteria, assign the Team Chairs of the visiting teams, and make final accreditation decisions (by vote of the entire membership).
The visit team evaluates one or more programs at an institution against the ABET Criteria and Accreditation Policies and Procedures. The visit team is composed of a Team Chair and at least one Program Evaluator for each program being evaluated.
The Team Chair is a member of the commission (or, occasionally, a former member), appointed by the Commission Executive Committee to lead the visit team. The Team Chair is the primary contact with the institution. The Team Chair is responsible for contact with the primary contact, usually the dean, of the programs being visited. The Team Chair is involved in approving the composition of the visit team. As the leader of the visit team, the Team Chair assembles the Draft Statement and the Final Statement, and presents the findings to the ABET commission at the Commission Meeting in July.
The responsibilities of the Team Chair will vary depending on the size of the visit team. Large teams may have a Co-Team Chair. In addition, Team Chairs may use different leadership approaches and organizational strategies to ensure a successful visit. Some Team Chairs, for example, may conduct conference calls with their team prior to the visit. Some may request an additional team meeting while on the visit.
Program Evaluators (PEVs) are selected by their member societies to represent ABET on site visits, where they work with a team of colleagues from other member societies. As an ABET team member, the Program Evaluator’s role is to provide knowledge on professional practice, professional preparation, and continuous improvement. The Program Evaluator also provides sound judgment about how the program meets ABET’s Accreditation Criteria.
Important Note: One of the Program Evaluator’s most important responsibilities is to behave in an ethical and professional manner and to uphold ABET’s Code of Conduct. It is particularly important to avoid any real or perceived conflicts of interest with the institutions being evaluated. Program Evaluators must disclose any real or perceived conflicts and recuse themselves from discussions or decisions related to any associated issues. If you have any questions about this, contact your team chair or ABET at email@example.com or 410-347-7700. To avoid being assigned as a PEV for a visit to an institution for which you have a conflict of interest, it is important that you keep your list of conflicts current in your ABET profile. You should update your profile whenever a new conflict of interest develops, but not later than mid-spring of each year.