Published: 19 Jun 2014
Telecommunication Engineering is finally very close to being recognized as distinct education discipline. Seven months ago on October 25, 2013, ABET Board approved new accreditation criteria for Electrical, Computer, Communications, and Similarly Named Engineering Programs. These new criteria replace the existing Electrical, Computer, and Similarly Named Engineering Programs criteria. The new criteria are currently in the Public Comments Period which ends on June 15, 2014. The ABET Board vote in October 2013 paved the way for fruitful conclusion of a professionalcommunity movement to recognize Telecommunication Engineering as distinct engineering education discipline in US Universities. This movement, which was launched more than 5 years ago, is led by IEEE ComSoc’s Tarek S. El-Bawab.
The movement to recognize communication/telecommunication engineering as formal engineering education discipline had its roots in the 2008-2009 time frame.The first article in this regards was published in January 2010 (IEEE Communications Magazine, Vol. 48, No 1, pp. 20). This article stimulated considerable community interest. A Telecommunication Engineering Education (TEE) US Workgroup/Taskforce was formed withinIEEE ComSoc’s Education Board in 2010-2011.The position paper of the group was published in September 2012 (Vol. 50, No. 9, pp. 14-6, September 2012; and Vol. 51, No. 3, p. 168, March 2013). This paper promoted the case for specialized Telecom Engineering education in the US and strengthened it; energized the TEE movement; and stimulated discussions involving IEEE Education activities and ABET in this regards.
As result of the TEE movement, the IEEE Committee on Engineering Accreditation Activities (CEAA) proposed changes in the Electrical and Computer Engineering accreditation criteria (to include communication-engineering dedicated provisions). In the same year (2012), ABET approved these changes and the CEAA formed an ad hoc committee (virtual team) to make detailed proposal(s) for these changes. ComSoc was represented in this committee by three members of the TEE Workgroup who took a lead in writing up the new criteria proposals (Tarek El-Bawab, Frank Effenberger, and Michael Kincaid). After nearly six months of discussions and deliberations, the CEAA approved a new criteria proposal in February 2013. This proposal was also approved by ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) in July 2013; and by
ABET Board on October 25, 2013. The proposed new criteria are published in ABET website (http://www.abet.org/eac-criteria-2014-2015/) and expected to be bases for ABET’s accreditation visits as of fall 2015. ABET accreditation is not limited to US and North America Universities. ABET actually accredits large, and increasing, number of engineering programs worldwide. These developments in telecommunication engineering education, and in program accreditation, are of strategic value and importance to our profession, to the global Telecom community, and to IEEE ComSoc as a society. One of the bright aspects of this success story, attesting to IEEE ComSoc’s organizational efficiency and effectiveness, is the fact that the TEE movement and activities have lived through three ComSoc administrations without losing passion, focus, and sustainability. Congratulations toIEEE ComSocand to all Telecommunication Professionals and Educators in the USA, and worldwide! For more information about ComSoc’s Telecommunication Engineering Education (TEE) Movement, contact Dr. Tarek El-Bawab: firstname.lastname@example.org