Defining Key Terms in New ABET Student Outcomes

Nathan John Washuta, Alyson Grace Eggleston, James Righter, Robert J. Rabb

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


In engineering design, it is necessary that proposed solutions to a problem fulfill not just technical requirements of the design problem, but also account for the real world context of the solutions. These broader contexts can be wide ranging and complex, simultaneously impacting the world in a variety of ways. When teaching an engineering capstone course, it is vital to provide students with the education necessary to address these issues. Indeed, the ABET Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs addresses this need in Criterion 2. Student Outcome 2 lists specific factors that students must consider when applying engineering design, including public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors. Furthermore, Student Outcome 4 addresses the ethical and professional responsibilities that students must consider in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts. While these considerations collectively represent a wide range of potential real-world issues, differentiating between these categories can provide a difficult task, as many of these terms overlap in meaning. Student teams often struggle to understand the difference between each of these contexts and it can be difficult to assess whether each context has been fully considered. No specific guidance is provided, for example, when determining if a student has addressed cultural factors separately from social factors. The present paper seeks to more clearly define each of these terms in order to better assess student performance on the factors listed in this criterion. Examples of student work from a senior capstone course in mechanical engineering are presented, with student interpretation of each listed factor in the context of their own projects included.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Aug 23 2022
Event129th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Excellence Through Diversity, ASEE 2022 - Minneapolis, United States
Duration: Jun 26 2022Jun 29 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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