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ASAE presents position on accreditation of biologically-based engineering curricula. (Inside ASAE).

A new position statement that reaffirms ASAE's historical role as a leader in biologically based engineering practice and education has been recently adopted by ASAE.

ASAE member Mary Leigh Wolfe, an associate professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, helped draft the statement. "With this position paper," says Wolfe, "ASAE is formally stating its intention to use its experience and resources to continue to lead the accreditation process for biologically-based engineering programs. More specifically, ASAE will lead a cooperative effort with other engineering societies and the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology to ensure that appropriate accreditation criteria and processes are in place for biologically based engineering programs."

The position paper reads as follows:

The American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) has been a biologically-based engineering society since its formation in 1907. Because of the critical role that biological sciences play in the practice of engineering related to food, agricultural, and biological systems, ASAE members have been at the forefront in developing biological engineering education, research, and design processes.

The practice of biological engineering is defined as the application of the engineering method to the design of machines, processes, components, materials, and associated systems whose effectiveness cannot be optimized without accounting for the anatomy, physiology, or function of living materials, organisms, or communities. The education to prepare for, and the professional practice of, engineering with and for biological systems is unique from other disciplines of engineering, just as the biological sciences on which it is based have both unique and common features when compared to chemistry, physics, and other sciences.

ASAE became a participating member of ABET (Engineers' Council for Professional Development (ECPD) at the time) in December 1966. ASAE is the lead society for accreditation of agricultural and similarly named engineering programs and a cooperating society for accreditation of bioengineering programs and environmental engineering programs. Currently, under the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) criteria of "agricultural and similarly named programs", there are forty-eight (48) accredited programs. Thirty-six of the 48 programs have the term "bio-" in their name. Seven are entitled biological engineering; seven are compound names including biological; eleven are biological systems or biosystems; four are compound names including biosystems; five include biological resources or bioresources; one is named bioengineering; and one is bioenvironmental engineering. ASAE, with ABET approval, has kept the program criteria for "agricultural and similarly named programs" current to reflect the educ ational preparation needed for professional practice in biologically-based engineering. Clearly, ASAE is providing leadership in accreditation of biologically-based engineering programs.

With its long-standing accreditation experience relative to biologically-based engineering practice and education, ASAE offers its services and resources to ABET to be the facilitating and coordinating society for curriculum development and accreditation of biologically-based engineering programs. ASAE is pleased to be working closely with IEEE and BMES on accreditation of biomedical engineering programs and with ATEE on accreditation of environmental engineering programs. As biologically-based engineering curricula continue to evolve, ASAE is best positioned among engineering societies to provide leadership and facilitation for biological engineering program criteria. In this role, ASAE seeks collaborative partnerships with other ABET member societies to ensure appropriate accreditation of the diverse spectrum of biological engineering programs. ASAE will organize collaborative workshops with participation by peer engineering and related societies with interest in biologically-based engineering programs to f acilitate partnerships. ASAE commits to make available its extensive ABET experience and resources to train examiners for accrediting biological engineering degree programs.

Approved by ASAE Board of Trustees, October 30, 2002
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Title Annotation:American Society of Agricultural Engineers
Publication:Resource: Engineering & Technology for a Sustainable World
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2003
Previous Article:New completed standards. (Cooperative Standards Program).
Next Article:2003 Blue Ribbon Educational Aids awards. (Inside ASAE).

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