ABET, renowned for its commitment to academic excellence and program accreditation, brought its expertise to Colombia through a series of dynamic program assessment workshops held Feb. 19 to 22, 2024. With the picturesque backdrop of Cartagena de Indias, the workshop series attracted a diverse group of participants, including academic professionals from 24 institutions, eager to enhance their understanding of program assessment methodologies and practices.

The “Navigating Program Assessment with ABET: 3 Days of Workshops” series, curated by the director, professional programs, Robyn Hall, offered an enriching experience for attendees, featuring informative sessions tailored to their diverse needs. The workshops aimed to equip participants with practical tools and insights essential for effective program assessment across various educational disciplines.

The event commenced with an insightful ABET Informational Session on Feb. 19, offering newcomers a comprehensive overview of ABET’s mission, accreditation process and the significance of program assessment in education. This session provided a solid foundation for participants to delve deeper into the subsequent workshops.

Led by esteemed facilitators the workshops delved into fundamental aspects of program assessment, continuous improvement, and assessment of student learning. Through engaging presentations, interactive discussions and hands-on exercises, attendees gained invaluable insights into defining learning outcomes, choosing assessment methods, and developing efficient processes for data collection and evaluation.

“The continuous improvement assessment forum, guided by Dr. [Gloria] Rogers and Catalina Plúa Morales, provided participants with a collaborative platform to evaluate their program assessment plans against best practices,” One attendee said. “This team-based workshop encouraged active participation and facilitated peer-to-peer learning, empowering attendees to refine their assessment strategies and drive continuous improvement within their institutions.”

Reflecting on the workshops, participants expressed gratitude for the opportunity to engage with ABET experts and peers from diverse backgrounds. “I’m feeling more confident about the things I have learned,” A participant shared. “At the beginning, there was too much information, but now I feel more confident in applying what I’ve learned to improve our program assessment processes.”

Workshop facilitator Dr. Kevin Huggins, reminiscing about his connection to Colombia, shared, “My very first time outside of the U.S. was in Colombia. Coming back to Cartagena with a couple more words of Spanish is always exciting. It’s such a special part of my development.”

Participants were inspired by the collaborative atmosphere and the opportunity to learn from peers facing similar challenges. “The workshops have provided us with tools to face our own teams and improve our planning,” Morales remarked. “It’s a great moment for universities in Colombia to learn about assessment and count on ABET and peers from different countries to support them in pursuing their goals for continuous improvement and accreditation.”

Lorena Garcia, an ABET special advisor, emphasized the significance of ABET’s mission in enhancing education quality. “ABET helps universities understand how they can continue to improve their processes, which is really helpful for students and professors,” she noted.

As the workshops concluded, participants departed with newfound knowledge, skills and confidence to lead program assessment initiatives within their institutions. The success of the workshop series in Colombia underscored ABET’s commitment to fostering excellence in education worldwide, empowering academic professionals to navigate the complex landscape of program assessment with confidence and proficiency.