ABET holds its staff and volunteers to the highest standards of conduct. The following conflict of interest policy and code of conduct are signed in writing by all participants in the ABET accreditation process. Should you perceive a violation of either the conflict of interest policy or code of conduct on the part of our volunteers or staff, please send a formal letter of complaint to Michael K. J. Milligan, ABET Executive Director, 415 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. 


ABET Conflict of Interest Policy

Service as an ABET board member or alternate, committee member, commission member or alternate, team chair, program evaluator, accreditation consultant, or staff member creates situations that may result in conflicts of interest or questions regarding the objectivity and credibility of the accreditation process. ABET expects these individuals to behave in a professional and ethical manner, to disclose real or perceived conflicts of interest, and to recuse themselves from discussions or decisions related to real or perceived conflicts of interest. The intent of this policy is to: maintain credibility in the accreditation process and confidence in the decisions of the board of directors, committee members, commissioner members, team chairs, program evaluators, consultants, and staff members; assure fairness and impartiality in decision-making; disclose real or perceived conflicts of interest; and act impartially and avoid the appearance of impropriety.


Procedure

1. Individuals representing ABET must not participate in any decision-making capacity if they have or have had a close, active association with a program or institution that is being considered for official action by ABET. Close, active association includes, but is not limited to: current or past employment as faculty, staff, or consultant by the institution or program; current or past discussion or negotiation of employment with the institution or program; attendance as a student at the institution; receipt of an honorary degree from the institution; an institution or program where a close family relative is a student or employee; or an unpaid official relationship with an institution, e.g. membership on the institution's board of trustees or industry advisory board.

2. Members of the ABET Board of Directors and staff members may observe an accreditation visit, but they are not eligible to serve as program evaluators or team chairs. Commission members are not eligible to serve concurrently on the Board of Directors, nor are members of the Board of Directors eligible to serve on an ABET Commission. Commissioner members, when seated as alternates to the Board of Directors, must recuse themselves on all issues relating to the Commission. Board liaisons to the Commissions serve as ex-officio, non-voting members of the Commissions.

3. A record of real or perceived conflicts of interest will be maintained for all those involved in the accreditation process. Each individual will be provided with a copy of this record annually for the purpose of updating this record. Copies of the conflict of interest records will be provided to the individuals responsible for selection of team chairs and program evaluators.

4. All individuals representing ABET must sign a conflict of interest and confidentiality statement indicating that they have read and understand these policies. The policies on conflict of interest and confidentiality will be reviewed at the start of each Commission and Board of Directors meeting.

5. Individuals must absent themselves from any portion of an ABET meeting in which discussions or decisions occur for which they have a real or perceived conflict of interest. Real or perceived conflicts may occur if there is: a close, active association with a program or institution; a financial or personal interest; or any reason that the individual cannot render an unbiased decision.

The names of individuals who have recused themselves during a meeting for conflicts of interest will be recorded.

The ABET Code of Conduct

(Section Seven, ABET Rules of Procedure)
As Approved by the Board of Directors March 2004

 The Code 

ABET requires ethical conduct by each volunteer and staff member engaged in fulfilling the mission of ABET.  The organization requires that every volunteer and staff member exhibit the highest standards of professionalism, honesty, and integrity.  The services provided by ABET require impartiality, fairness, and equity.  All persons involved with ABET activities must perform their duties under the highest standards of ethical behavior.  It is the purpose of this code to detail the ethical standards under which we agree to operate.

The ABET Guidelines for Interpretation of the Code of Conduct 

The ABET guidelines for interpretation of the Code of Conduct represent the objectives toward which its volunteers and staff members should strive.  They are principles that those involved in accreditation activities can reference in specific situations.

1.  ABET volunteers and staff members agree to accept responsibility in making accreditation decisions and credential evaluations consistent with approved Criteria and the safety, health, and welfare of the public and to disclose promptly factors that might endanger the public.

a. All those involved in ABET activities shall recognize that the lives, safety, health, and welfare of the general public are dependent upon a pool of qualified graduate professionals to continue the work of their profession.

b.  Programs shall not receive accreditation that do not meet the Criteria as set forth by the profession through ABET in the areas of applied science, computing, engineering, and technology.

c.  If ABET volunteers or staff members have knowledge of or reason to believe that an accredited program may be non-compliant with the appropriate Criteria, they shall present such information to ABET in writing and shall cooperate with ABET in furnishing such further information or assistance as may be required.

d.  If credentials evaluation staff members have reason to believe that the credentials submitted for evaluation are not authentic or information submitted in support of an evaluation is misleading, they shall cooperate with ABET or any other entities affected by this process to verify the validity of facts and to provide proof of the authenticity of the academic documents in question.

2.  ABET volunteers and staff members agree to perform services only in areas of their competence.

All those involved in ABET activities shall undertake accreditation assignments only when qualified by education and/or experience in the specific technical field involved.

3.  ABET volunteers and staff members agree to act as faithful agents or trustees of ABET, avoiding real or perceived conflicts of interest whenever possible, disclosing them to affected parties when they do exist.

a.  All those involved in ABET activities shall avoid all known or perceived conflicts of interest when representing ABET in any situation.

b.  They shall disclose all known or potential conflicts of interest that could influence or appear to influence their judgment or the quality of their services.

c.  They shall not serve as a consultant in accreditation matters to a program or institution while serving as a commissioner, alternate commissioner, or director.  Program evaluators who have or will serve as consultants must disclose this to ABET per the ABET Conflict of Interest Policy and may not participate in any deliberations regarding ABET matters for that institution.

d.  They shall not undertake any assignments or take part in any discussions that would knowingly create a potential conflict of interest between them and ABET or between them and the institutions seeking programmatic accreditation.

e.  They shall not solicit or accept gratuities, directly or indirectly, from programs under review for accreditation or from individuals/entities when credentials are under evaluation.

f.  They shall not solicit or accept any contribution, directly or indirectly, to influence the accreditation decision of programs or the outcome of credential evaluations.

4.  ABET volunteers and staff members agree to keep confidential all matters relating to accreditation decisions and credential evaluations unless by doing so they endanger the public or are required by law to disclose information.

a.  All those involved in ABET activities shall treat information coming to them in the course of their assignments as confidential and shall not use such information as a means of making personal profit under any circumstances.

b.  They shall not reveal confidential information or findings except as authorized or required by law or court order.

c.  They shall only reveal confidential information or findings in their entirety where required to do so and then only with the prior consent of ABET and the institution/programs involved.

5.  ABET volunteers and staff members agree to issue either public or internal statements only in an objective and truthful manner.

a.   All those involved in ABET activities shall be objective and truthful in reports, statements, or testimony.  They shall include all relevant and pertinent information in such reports, statements, or testimony and shall avoid any act tending to promote their own interest at the expense of the integrity of the process.

b.  They shall issue no statements, criticisms, or arguments on accreditation matters which are inspired or paid for by an interested party, or parties, unless they preface their comments by identifying themselves, by disclosing the identities of the party or parties on whose behalf they are speaking, and by revealing the existence of any financial interest they may have in matters under discussion.

c.  They shall not use statements containing a material misrepresentation of fact or omitting a material fact.

d.  They shall admit their own errors when proven wrong and refrain from distorting or altering the facts to justify their mistakes or decisions.

6.  ABET volunteers and staff members agree to conduct themselves honorably, responsibly, ethically, and lawfully so as to enhance the reputation and usefulness of ABET.

a.  All those involved in accreditation activities and credentials evaluations shall refrain from any conduct that deceives the public.

b.  They shall not falsify or permit misrepresentation of their or their associatesí academic or professional qualifications.

c.  They shall not maliciously or falsely, directly or indirectly, injure the professional reputation, prospects, practice, or employment of another.  If they believe others are guilty of unethical or illegal behavior, they shall present such information to the proper authority for action.

7.  ABET volunteers and staff members agree to treat fairly all persons regardless of such factors as race, religion, gender, disability, age, national origin, marital status, or political affiliation.

All those involved in accreditation activities and credentials evaluations shall act with fairness and justice to all parties.

8.  ABET volunteers and staff members agree to assist colleagues and co-workers in their professional development and to support them in following this code of conduct.

a.  ABET will provide broad dissemination of this code of conduct to its volunteers, staff, representative organizations, and other stakeholders impacted by accreditation and credential evaluations.

b.  ABET will provide training in the use and understanding of the Code of Conduct for all new volunteers and staff members.

c.  All those involved in accreditation matters and credential evaluations shall continue their professional development throughout their service with ABET and shall provide/participate in opportunities for the professional and ethical development of all stakeholders.

9.  ABET will provide a mechanism for the prompt and fair adjudication of alleged violations of the Code of Conduct.  Persons found to be in violation of the Code may be subject to any of a number of sanctions, including ineligibility for service in further activities on behalf of ABET.