Accreditation and Assessment

ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission logo.

The Chemical Engineering BS program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET under the commission's General Criteria and Program Criteria for Chemical, Biochemical, Biomolecular, and Similarly Named Engineering Programs.

ABET accreditation provides assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards of the profession for which that program prepares graduates.

To ensure that our students are well prepared for success in their future careers, the department follows a formal procedure of continuous assessment and improvement of our curriculum. Our process is structured around two sets of goals, termed Program Educational Objectives and Student Outcomes.

Program Educational Objectives

Program Educational Objectives are broad statements that describe the abilities and accomplishments that our graduates are expected to have within a few years of obtaining the BS degree from our program. They paint a picture of what a successful and effective chemical engineer should look like after finishing our program and spending a few years on the job.

The Program Educational Objectives are reviewed and updated approximately every five years. They are formulated and revised in this manner through consultation with our constituencies, which comprise (1) alumni, (2) employers of our graduates, and (3) graduate and professional schools where our students pursue further study.

Student Outcomes

Student Outcomes are concrete goals of our undergraduate program in support of the Program Education Objectives. In other words, by meeting the goals embodied in the Student Outcomes, and subsequently engaging in engineering practice or advanced (graduate) study for several years, graduates of our BS program should achieve the Program Education Objectives. Student Outcomes are specific statements of the knowledge and abilities that students are expected to have by the time of graduation.

The process of assessment and continuous improvement of our program revolves around the Student Outcomes. Each semester, instructors of key courses are tasked with collecting student performance data and evaluating it against the Student Outcomes. Their evaluation is conducted in reference to rubrics that attempt to remove subjective elements from the process. The rubrics are a set of formal written statements that objectively define various levels of achievement or ability for specific performance indicators associated with each Student Outcome.

Every two years, faculty meet to examine the comprehensive assessment data, and consider what it says about our how well our students are achieving the targeted Student Outcomes. This analysis informs decisions on steps to take to improve the program. Significant changes, such as the addition or removal of a required course, are taken in consultation with the program constituencies. Continuous improvement is informed also by other channels of feedback, such as senior exit surveys, Lunch with the Chair events, course evaluations, and suggestions from industrial participants involved in teaching our courses.

Our continuous improvement process is itself reviewed every six years by an external evaluator from ABET, and forms a major component of decisions regarding continued accreditation of our BS program in Chemical Engineering.