The implementation of the outcomes & assessment process for the BSME program is guided to a significant degree by the requirements of ABET and SACS accreditation agencies, as well as the Departmental Mission Statement and Strategic Goals.
The specific terminology used by SACS and ABET for goals & assessment differs; however, both describe the same fundamental "feedback" type evaluation and improvement process:
In essence, the outcomes and assessment process is basically a procedure for continuous monitoring and improvement of the program and educational results.
ABET uses the terminology "program outcomes" and "program education objectives". In the ABET process, program outcomes describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of their graduation. Program educational objectives are broader statements that describe the career and professional accomplishments that the program is preparing the graduates to achieve. (See Section I of the ABET document "Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs" at http://www.abet.org for more details).
SACS utilizes the terminology "learning outcomes" and "student outcomes" in its assessment procedures. Learning outcomes are those outcomes tied directly to student education/learning in a particular program. Student outcomes are those measures related to the overall improvement of a program within the Department. (Section 3.4.1 of the SACS Commission on Colleges document "Principles of Accreditation" at http://www.sacscoc.org ).
Throughout the remainder of this document, the SACS "Program and Learning Outcomes" terminology will be primarily utilized, with references to the corresponding ABET "Educational Objectives and Program Outcomes" terminology as appropriate.