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IEEE’s Approach and Experience in Global Accreditation 2009 Global Colloquium on Engineering Education. Adam Fontecchio Enrique Alvarez Chandrabhan Sharma Douglas Gorham Budapest, Hungary 15 October 2009. A Few Words about IEEE.

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IEEE’s Approach and Experience in Global Accreditation 2009 Global Colloquium on Engineering Education

Adam Fontecchio

Enrique Alvarez

Chandrabhan Sharma

Douglas Gorham

Budapest, Hungary

15 October 2009

a few words about ieee
A Few Words about IEEE
  • IEEE is the largest multinational professional engineering association in the world
    • More than 375,000 members in over 150 countries
    • More than 45% of our members are outside the US
    • A non-profit organization incorporated in New York
  • Originally concentrating on power engineering and communications, IEEE at present spans technical interests across the spectrum of technology
    • From nanotechnology to oceanic engineering
  • In many respects IEEE has become “the steward of Engineering”
what is ieee
What is IEEE?
  • A professional organization supporting the good of the profession and the public worldwide
    • Governed by its members
    • “The Profession” has evolved in an inter-disciplinary way to include all fields of engineering, computing and technology
  • A major platform for vetting, disseminating, and guarding technical intellectual property (IP)
  • A mechanism to bring people of common technical interests together
    • both geographically and disciplinarily
  • A guardian of the future of Engineering, computing and technology
  • An implementer of technology-related public imperatives
what does ieee do
What does IEEE do?
  • Publishes literature in engineering, technology and computing
    • Over 140 periodicals and 800 conferences
  • Organizes conferences
  • Develops standards
  • Gets engineers and technologists from different locales together
  • Organizes professional activities among engineering students
  • Educates the public about Engineering
why is ieee interested in accreditation 1
Why is IEEE interested in Accreditation? (1)
  • Accreditation has significant impact on the content of the curriculum in IEEE’s fields of interest
    • And hence on the future of the profession
  • IEEE’s involvement introduces the voice of the profession and its practitioners into the decision making process of educational institutions
why is ieee interested in accreditation 2
Why is IEEE interested in Accreditation? (2)
    • IEEE considers accreditation a key vehicle to ensure active involvement of the Institute in maintaining the quality and relevance of engineering education
  • Accreditation is a strategic objective and IEEE supports accrediting bodies worldwide
    • The IEEE BoD allocates funds and human resources to accreditation on an annual basis
      • About 500 volunteers
      • $1.5M/year in direct expenditures
cgaa mission and scope
CGAA: Mission and Scope
  • To identify and meet the accreditation needs of the profession, by assisting in the establishment, operation, development and implementation of accrediting bodies and accreditation procedures in engineering, computing and technology (ECT) worldwide.
  • To coordinate transnational accreditation activities on behalf of the IEEE, including
    • assistance to existing accrediting bodies
    • development of new accrediting bodies
    • education about ECT accreditation
ieee accreditation activities

IEEE Accreditation Activities

Engineering, Computing and Technology (ECT) programs

selected ieee accreditation projects
Selected IEEE Accreditation Projects
  • IEEE’s position paper on accreditation
    • Selected components will be discussed shortly
  • IEEE’s position paper on the First Professional Degree in Engineering
  • Working with ABET (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology)
  • Assistance to emerging accrediting bodies and accreditation projects worldwide:
    • China, the Caribbean, and Peru
    • A comprehensive on-line resource on accrediting bodies and mutual recognition agreements

IEEE Position Paper on Academic Accreditation in Engineering, Computing and Technology

Adopted by the IEEE Board of Directors, November 2007

  • The purpose of IEEE’s policy paper is to express IEEE’s view and intent on Accreditation
    • And guide our volunteers and colleagues
uses and misuses of accreditation
Uses and Misuses of Accreditation

“At its worst, accreditation can serve as a vehicle to entrench old traditions, perpetuate rigid prescriptions that inhibit innovation and progress, and act as a sinkhole for program resources that are devoted to over-elaborative preparations for accreditation visits rather than to improvement of education.”

alternatives to accreditation and effects of globalization
Alternatives to Accreditationand Effects of Globalization
  • Discuss all means for quality assessment
  • Consider the effects of engineering labor migration on Accreditation
  • Remember - our profession is evolving…fast
  • Educational institutions as well as professional associations and accrediting agencies may be too slow to catch up
  • When we are slow to change, the marketplace often finds solutions without us
scope of the position
Scope of the Position
  • IEEE believes that all engineering and computer science programs leading to degree can and should be accredited
    • E.g., most programs leading to degrees such as Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Engineering, Master of Science, and Master of Engineering
  • “Accreditation should not hinge on, but rather be an input to the determination of whether or not program graduates are ready to practice, and at what level they can practice”
professional associations and ieee
Professional Associations and IEEE
  • …ought to play a major role in accreditation, and bring to the process the viewpoint of the profession and the…volunteers
  • IEEE seeks a leadership position in all accrediting bodies worldwide which accredit programs within IEEE’s technical fields of interest
  • IEEE seeks to cooperate… in creating, maintaining, supporting and expanding accrediting bodies for programs in engineering and computer science
core values
Core Values
  • Human rights
  • Respect for diversity
  • Fair treatment for all constituencies
  • “Diversity of aims and cultures cannot however be used to justify violation of human rights of members or prospective members of the learning community”
economical operation
Economical Operation
  • Requirements imposed on programs should be made with the conviction that these are necessary to the accreditation process.
    • should be manageable and avoid placing an undue burden on an institution or program.
  • Requirements should be revisited from time to time to ensure that they provide meaningful input to the accrediting body and the programs.
  • The accreditation process should examine the primary issues and is not meant to be a complete, detailed, “360-view” inspection.
transition to continuous processes
Transition to continuous processes
  • Declares a desire to…
    • Move from “discrete-time” to “continuous-time” accreditation process
      • Shorter visits at random time points
    • Have more constituencies participate
    • Have transparency
international accreditation
International Accreditation
  • Favors the formation of national and regional accrediting bodies
  • Foresees the future formation of multi-national accrediting bodies
  • Strongly disfavors permanent arrangements that have the accreditation of programs in one country performed and approved by an accrediting body from another country or region
  • IEEE supports…mutual recognition agreements between accrediting agencies
  • IEEE is a founding society of ABET
    • Through former American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE)
  • IEEE is responsible for more than 775 programs
  • IEEE participates in ABET activities as “IEEE” and through Computing Sciences Accreditation Board (CSAB)
    • The CS is 40% of CSAB
    • Very close cooperation between the two groups
    • 3+3 Board members
  • Approximately 350-400 IEEE volunteers are involved annually
international accreditation by abet
International Accreditation by ABET
  • As a member of ABET, IEEE assists the ABET international accreditation program
  • However, IEEE believes that international accreditation by ABET should be used primarily as a temporary measure in the absence of local accreditation bodies
  • IEEE strongly favors the formation of local accrediting bodies that will replace in time the accreditation functions of ABET
inventory of activities
Inventory of Activities
  • Regional workshops on “Trends in Accreditation”
    • In the past: Bangkok, Bratislava, Helsinki, Lima
    • We are seeking a venue for 2010
  • Assistance to existing accrediting bodies
  • Formation of new accrediting bodies
    • “follow the volunteers”
    • Address all aspects of ECT
  • Launching
where do we operate now
Where do we operate now?
  • China: “Working Group on Education in China”
    • First meeting: November 2006
  • Peru: ICACIT
  • 12 English speaking countries in the Caribbean: CACET
international accreditation china
International Accreditation: China
  • In 2006 we established an accreditation working group in China, in partnership with the Chinese Association for Science and Technology (CAST)
    • First Face-to-face meeting in November 2006
  • 2007 Activities
    • A major workshop on engineering accreditation in cooperation with CAST
      • A translation of ABET accreditation materials into Chinese was completed by EAB
      • Meetings with decision makers from various ministries
2008 activities
2008 Activities
  • An accreditation workshop with CAST and the PRC Ministry of Education
    • Beijing, 22 March 2008
  • 240 attendees
    • All fields of engineering
  • Conducted by two IEEE volunteers: Michael Lightner and Moshe Kam
key observations from the 2008 workshop
Key observations from the 2008 workshop
  • Attendees wanted to know how the ABET system works
  • …but also what elements are difficult, expensive, time consuming
    • Concern about the volume of work associated with ABET-style accreditation visits
    • Desire to examine models that are not purely outcome based
post workshop requests
Post-workshop requests
  • CAST requested that IEEE assist Chinese program evaluators to observe ABET visits in 2008
    • We coordinated the effort with ABET
    • Visits took place during Fall 2008
2009 status
2009 Status
  • China is getting ready to apply to become a provisional member of the "Washington Accord“
  • Target is fall 2009
  • Pending issues:
    • Several internal organizational issues
    • Role of "Center for Engineering Education" formed in Tsinghua University.
    • Issues related to Taiwan
next step international engineering education conference on 21 22 october 2009
Next Step: "International Engineering Education Conference" on 21-22 October 2009
  • Chinese Mechanical Engineering Society
  • Society of Automotive Engineers of China
  • Chinese Society for Electrical Engineering
  • China Electro-technical Society
  • China Instruments and Control Society
  • Chinese Institute of Electronics
  • China Computer Federation
  • China Highway & Transportation Society
  • Chinese Society for Corrosion and Protection
international engineering education conference on 21 22 october 2009
"International Engineering Education Conference" on 21-22 October 2009
  • Invited speakers are at a high level
    • including ministers and presidents
    • Representatives from 12 Washington Accord members and 5 provisory members
  • A round table seminar and a “Beijing Statement”
  • IEEE was invited to give a keynote address and to give a session presentation
a new portal on accreditation 1
A New Portal on Accreditation (1)
  • Explanation of accreditation, the accreditation process, basic terminology
  • A list with links to all recognized accrediting bodies in the world
    • Including the programs they accredit
    • A university search capability
      • tied with

a new portal on accreditation 2
A New Portal on Accreditation (2)
  • Mutual recognition agreements
    • Who has signed them
    • Full text
    • Common interpretation
    • What does this agreement mean to you?
  • Selected bibliography

creating an accreditation body in peru without any previous experience the icacit story

Creating an Accreditation Body in Peru Without Any Previous Experience: The ICACIT Story

Enrique E. Alvarez

ICACIT Vice-Chair

IEEE R9 Director

value chain
Value Chain












Profesional Organization




Alignment of Goals

why is accreditation needed
Why is accreditation needed?

We realized that engaged professionals have contributed to the development of the country.

But we did not have enough engaged professionals to continue this progress.

Several educational institutions have appeared in the last decade without knowing their real capacity to educate.

ICACIT was created in 2001

previous efforts
Previous efforts

The National Assembly of Rectors wanted to develop a recommendation, to include criteria, for an accreditation body.

No conclusion was reachedbecause of the lack of agreement between the parties, resulting in no agreement among the Rectors.

This clearly demonstrated that those who will be evaluated cannot create their own evaluation criteria and cannot evaluate themselves.

previous efforts1
Previous efforts

When ICACIT was created no rules existed regarding accreditation of programs except for medical careers.

establishing icacit
Establishing ICACIT

In a meeting of the IEEE Foundationourfounder, Eng. José “Pepe” Valdez, learnedaboutaccreditation and itspurpose and value.

Understandingtheimportance of accreditation, he requestedthesupport of IEEE tohelpusto:

Create a Peruvianaccreditationbody.

Contact ABET.

ICACIT organizerscamefromthebusinessside.

establishing icacit1
Establishing ICACIT

To create ICACIT we needed to solve some initial issues:

Understand accreditation

Determine the level of interest of engineering and technical programs (including applied sciences and computing sciences)

Create an organizational structure and find the people to operate the organization

Create a financial model suitable for private and public universities

Establish our own procedures

Train our own evaluators

ieee support
IEEE support

IEEE sentseveralvolunteerstodevelop and conductworkshopstoexplainthepurpose of accreditation and the ABET criteria

IEEE supportedthetravel of 19 universityeducatorstoparticipate in accreditationprocesses in the USA (with ABET criteria) and Mexico (with CACEI criteria)

IEEE helped in establishingtheconnectionwith ABET tofacilitatethesigning of an MOU withthecommitment of ABET togiveauthorizationto use theircriteria.

Finally, IEEE supported ICACIT in developingourownguidelines.

Alltheabove at IEEE’s expense.

explaining what accreditation means
Explaining what accreditation means

We worked with the program deans emphasizing that the main purpose of accreditation is to have a continuous improvement process.

We stressed that one key step is to learn how to conduct the self study.

Usually the programs know the outcomes and objectives but, how to achieve them?

The self study will determine were they are, and after that they will know how to achieve the outcomes and objectives.

the marketing issues of accreditation
The marketing issues of accreditation

Programs use accreditation as a marketing tool saying “Accredited Program”

But more relevant was the recognition of their graduates to have studied in an accreditated program, improving the chances to find work as a metric to be shown to the stakeholders.

As said before, to have a process to improve continually is recognized as a competitive tool.

creating the structure
Creating the structure

To create the organizational structure we needed to involve the stakeholders, and key persons in the programs to be evaluated.

creating the structure initial1
Creating the structure (initial)

It is relevant to mention that the General Assembly is represented by several institutions including: CONFIEP and professional institutions as Colegio de Ingenieros, IEEE Peru Section, APESOFT, API

The reason to include some education institutions as part of the chart is to sensitize key people with accreditation issues.

creating a financial model
Creating a financial model

The initial vision of universities was that it was too expensive to be involved in accreditation processes.

For that reason, universities initially paid a symbolic annual fee to participate in the activities of ICACIT, such as the monthly meeting and workshops.

Now, universities pay for the training courses and the evaluation.

developing our own procedures
Developing our own procedures

We utilized several sources:

Information from ABET (that was agreed in the MOU)

Information supplied by IEEE EAB (that included the translation of very important documents)

We hired professionals from academia and industry to develop the final version of the ICACIT procedures

preparing our own evaluators
Preparing our own evaluators

This was one of our most critical issues to solve.

To begin evaluating we needed to have experienced evaluators but without previous evaluation visits we did not have any experienced evaluators

We begin doing the evaluations with observation teams sent by ABET, as part of our MOU.

With several evaluations done we began to gain the experience required.

current regulations
Current regulations

The Law N° 28740 (May 2006) regulates the process of accreditation (of programs), evaluation and certification (of persons) creating several institutions for the National System for Evaluation, Accreditation and Certification for Educational Quality, SINEACE

It includes the creation of three boards:

CONEAU for university programs

CONEACES for non university programs

IPEBA for schools (high and elementary)

According to this law, SINEACE authorizes the operation of accrediting bodies.

This institution is the issuing of accreditation certificates.

history of icacit
History of ICACIT

ICACIT was created in 2001 with a pilot project including 5 educational institutions

The idea is to obtain experience in this process that can be replicated with other institutions.

Now we have 13 educational institutions included in the program.

Up to now we have accreditated 3 programs; 1 with TECSUP and 2 with UPC

Coming in October and November, 2009 we are scheduled to evaluate 15 programs:

5 in PUCP, Lima.

1 in UPC, Lima.

3 in USMP, Lima.

3 in TECSUP, Lima.

2 in TECSUP, Arequipa.

1 in CIBERTEC, Lima.

lessons learned
Lessons learned

We should have identified the program evaluators sooner.

We should have developed links with similar accrediting bodies in Latin America.

We should have defined our procedures and made them known to educational institutions, sooner.

Establishing closer relationships with authorities related to accreditation issues, early in the development of ICACIT, would have been beneficial.


We are working on the consolidation of ICACIT to be recognized as the accrediting body for technical and engineering programs in Peru, by the education authorities and by the education institutions

We are working to complete the needed requirements to be included in the Washington Accord


Formation of the Caribbean Accreditation Council for Engineering and Technology(CACET)Chandrabhan SharmaInterim Chair

accreditation in the english speaking caribbean
Accreditation in the English Speaking Caribbean
  • The various islands have a similar British History
  • The educational background is the same
  • Historically (since 1962) the UWI (the only regional University) Faculty of Engineering was the main source of Engineering Graduates

Because many of the Graduates went to UK, there was a need for equivalency with British standards.

  • The British accreditating bodies were used as the source for accreditation ie. IEE (IET), IStructE, IMechE, IChemE.
  • This has changed, now most engineering graduates go to USA
  • Many new universities have developed. Need for a different process.

Attempts to form a Regional Accrediting Agency

About ten years ago there was a move by the Caribbean Engineering fraternity to establish an engineering accreditation agency.

Project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)


Executed by the Jamaica Institution of Engineers (JIE) and the Professional Engineers Registration Board (PERB)

Council of Caribbean Engineering Organizations (CCEO) was involved


On the wider regional level the Pan American Academy of Engineering organized a forum on "Accreditation in the Regional Context" in Montevideo, Uruguay, on October 8-10, 2003

The Organization of American States (OAS) sponsored a similar workshop in Lima, Peru in 2005


Both meetings were attended by representatives from the CARICOM region and the wider Caribbean.

What is CARICOM?

Out of the meeting in Peru a project was formulated but it has not yet got many countries on board, in part because of funding issues.


In 2007, on the launch of the IEEEtt section, I spoke with Pedro Ray (representing the PR Section) on the issue of Accreditation

  • He then referred me to Moshe Kam of the EAB
  • This started the development of Accreditation Body in the Caribbean

The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) offered to fully assist in this regard, through a project of the IEEE Section in Trinidad and Tobago and the Faculty of Engineering of The University of the West Indies.


At biennial meeting of the Washington Accord (in June, 2007) it was agreed that countries and regions would be encouraged to establish their own accreditation systems

Overseas programmes accredited by Washington Accord members would be mutually recognized.


The professional engineering associations in the region have all agreed to the establishment of a regional accreditation body.

Important that every CARICOM Country’s local accreditation agency and universities be on board as the former have the legal responsibility for accreditation and the latter are the institutions that need accreditation.


The IEEE held a workshop on “Engineering Accreditation” on September 21-22, 2007 at the Crowne Plaza, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, Trinidad in collaboration with The Faculty of Engineering of The University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT).

The workshop was organized primarily to bring together the accreditation councils, professional bodies and universities of the AnglophoneCaribbean region as well as the CARICOM office responsible for accreditation.


The workshop was funded by the IEEE Educational Activities Boardand facilitated by Professor Moshe Kam, Vice President for Educational Activities of the IEEE and Dr. Mario Gonzales, Professor Emeritus and a very experienced ABET evaluator

The workshop was very well attended by all the relevant stakeholders - the engineering schools, professional bodies, accreditation agencies and the CARICOM Secretariat.


There was unanimity that a regional accreditation body for engineering and technology should be established.

  • It was further agreed that a regional workshop in the first quarter of 2008 should be held in order to develop:
    • strategy,
    • timeline, and
    • other requirements for the establishment of such a body.

This follow-up workshop was held on7-8 April 2008 in Puerto Rico again IEEE funded and Managed

At this meeting 27 leaders of governmental accrediting agencies, licensing bodies, universities and professional associations of seven (7) English speaking Caribbean countries participated.


The output of our deliberations was a joint declaration for the formation of an indigenous Caribbean Accreditation Council for Engineering and Technology (CACET)

A Performa Budget/Financing estimate and a decision as to the Headquartering of CACET



Representatives of academia (one representative of each university that offers baccalaureate engineering degrees programmes) :

UWI(University of the West Indies

UTEC(University of Technology)

UTT(University of Trinidad and Tobago)

Representative of Caribbean Area Network for Quality Assurance in Tertiary Education (CANQATE)



IEEE representatives


Representatives of Professional

Associations in nation states:


Trinidad & Tobago

OECS (Organisation of Eastern

Caribbean States)



A follow up meeting was held in Guyana on the 20 – 21 October.

This was also funded and managed by the IEEE

Again there was a region wide attendance by all stake-holders

Guyana being the headquarters of CARICOM: full attendance by relevant staff


Harmonizing of Engineering Acts throughout region. Five states currently have Acts regulating the engineering profession. CACET submitted comments to CARICOM for changes

Select and form Boards and Committees of CACET as required by the Washington Accord

Select evaluators and commence training sessions.


Sensitize engineering schools and local accreditation boards within region on CACET / Washington Accord

Develop all administrative documents required by CACET

Draw up a list of criteria for selecting evaluators


Identify individuals to staff committees

    • Permanent Board - Finance, By-Laws/Regulations
    • At least one accreditation council
    • Pool of program evaluators - select evaluators and commence training

Next Meeting of CACET.

26 -28 November 2009.

IEEE continues to provide consulting, technical assistance and financial support for these efforts.

objectives of this meeting
Objectives of This Meeting

Board of Directors Meeting to finalise:

a) The Charter and Operation Manual (COM)b) Financial Manual andc) The Accreditation Procedure Manual.

Conduct Programme Evaluator Training

  • The Agreement all the Professional Bodies, CCEO, Educational Institutions, CARICOM and Industry in the English Speaking Caribbean to the establishment of CACET.
  • The Agreement of the various local state accreditation agencies, to support and approve CACET as the recognized regional Accrediting Agency for Engineering and Technology Programs

The formation of CACET, with agreement of all stakeholders, within a timeframe of two years!

  • Solidification of a good working relationship of the Engineering and Accrediting Professionals across the Caribbean
  • A sensitizing of the Region to the need for accrediting programs so as to make the engineering professionals internationally marketable.
  • Without the support of the IEEE, financially, in the development of documentation and logistics planning, CACET would have suffered an embryonic death
  • Like any new born, continued support is required throughout infancy and CACET looks forward to IEEE for its continued benevolence.