Much attention has been given to "outcome assessment". In case of the Civil Engineering (CE) program, the major objective is the evaluation of the "product" (i.e., CE graduates) with respect to several factors. This exercise should answer such questions as: Have the students been prepared by The CE program for what they are to do to fulfill their career goals? Did their education result in any measurable improvements in their capabilities? and Is the school really doing what it claims? Civil Engineering programs have actually been forced into examining outcomes assessment and adapting procedures that fit that mold. After examination by the US Department of Education, the Council on Post-secondary Accreditation (COPA) mandated that accrediting agencies should utilize this concept in evaluating their programs. Consequently, the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), among others, implemented requirements that accredited programs utilize outcome assessment methods. The regional accrediting organizations for universities and other schools utilize it as well.
Outcomes Assessment Model
In 1999, the Dean of the College of Engineering (CoE) assembled a committee and named a college-wide assessment coordinator to chair the committee. This committee was charged with the task of establishing a comprehensive outcomes assessment program for the CoE. The college presented the preliminary findings of the assessment committee's work to the Engineering Council of Visitors (ECoV) in the Spring of 2001. The proposal presented by the committee was reviewed and subsequently approved by the ECoV. Each program in the CoE adopted the proposed overall outcomes assessment approach and tailored it to their Program's mission.
The significant constituencies of the CE program are:
• The Students
• The Faculty
• The Industry
• The Alumni
The Program's offerings are evaluated, in consultation with the appropriate constituencies and also by the Advisory Board. The results and findings of the assessment program are used to develop remedial measures, where necessary, and to continuously improve the program.