Module 4: Criteria, Policies, and Procedures
There is no difference between U.S. and non-U.S. accreditation criteria, policies, or procedures. But there are some key items to consider when preparing for a review outside of the U.S. The visit team, particularly the Team Chair, should be prepared to provide the institution and programs with further information about and an explanation of the ABET criteria, policies, and procedures before and during the visit.
The same accreditation criteria are used for both U.S. and non-U.S. reviews. And the final accreditation actions taken by the commissions are the same for both U.S. and non-U.S. reviews. Team members can expect non-U.S. programs to meet or purport to meet the criteria in unique and innovative ways, however. Regardless of such uniqueness, though, ABET accreditation of any program throughout the world signifies adherence to the same quality standards. The key to that signification is the consistent application of the criteria by you and your team.
B. Policies and Procedures
The ABET Policies and Procedures Manual must be followed by programs and institutions both within and outside of the U.S. ABET strives to apply those policies and procedures consistently. They were developed within the laws, rules, regulations, culture, and educational environment of the United States. It is, however, only through understanding the laws, rules, regulations, culture, and educational environment of the country you are visiting that those policies and procedures can be applied appropriately.
By thoroughly preparing for the review by learning about the laws, rules, regulations, culture, and educational environment of the country to be visited, you will be more comfortable resolving issues for the benefit of the program and its graduates – without compromising the consistency of accreditation of other programs.
C. Program Names
Working with program names outside the U.S. can be confusing, especially when translation is involved. ABET communicates with the public in English, so ABET’s published lists of accredited programs must accurately reflect – in English – the work completed by those programs’ graduates.
While ABET policy requires that all institutions provide their program names in English on the Request for Evaluation (RFE), the institutions’ translations are not always reliable, and it is up to the assigned PEVs to confirm by reviewing the pre-visit materials that the program names accurately reflect the content and scope of similarly named programs in the U.S. Catching this issue promptly will help ABET avoid mismatching a program with its evaluator.
Special Note: Institutions’ lack of understanding of ABET Policies and Procedures have previously resulted in the misuse of the information contained in draft and final statements. We cannot control how these statements are used, so take caution in preparing them.