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Global Trends in Accreditation

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As world economies increasingly integrate, a corresponding trend in the globalization of engineering education has been emerging. Many countries are either reorganizing or forming new accrediting bodies, and there is a proliferation of accords and mutual recognition agreements around the world. Several trends appear to characterize accrediting bodies within engineering, technology, and computing in the last decade:

  • The increase in the number of local and regional accrediting bodies: there appears to be an urge in many parts of the world to develop independent local non-governmental accrediting bodies that will replace prior accreditation mechanisms that relied either on government approval or visits by foreign accrediting bodies.
  • The popularity of outcome-based models: many existing accrediting bodies have modified their accreditation philosophies toward outcome-based models and new accrediting bodies have adopted this approach almost exclusively.
  • The accreditation of Master of Science/Engineering graduate programs: whereas in the past accrediting bodies have almost exclusively accredited programs leading only toward the Bachelor of Science/Engineering, many now accredit M.Sc. and M.Eng programs.

The increased role of mutual recognition agreements: participation as a signatory in an international accord had become a principal goal of new and existing accrediting bodies, and had served on one hand to increase communication and cooperation between accrediting bodies and on the other to homogenize the criteria and approaches of these bodies (at least to some extent).