ASEE Prism Magazine
No Conflict of Interest

Last month Prism reported on an investigation the Department of Education asked the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology to conduct regarding an allegation of conflict of interest at the University of Missouri at Columbia ("Conflict-of-Interest Flap Hits Accrediting Agency," February, p. 10). I am pleased to follow up with information that I feel brings closure to this concern.
ABET presented the findings of its investigation to the Department of Education on December 13, 2000; the Department promptly responded in a January 5, 2001 letter to ABET from Karen W. Kershenstein, Director of Accreditation and State Liaison, writing:

"We appreciate the extent to which your agency went to conduct an ‘open and comprehensive review' of the entire situation for the benefit of all parties involved. After careful examination of the materials you submitted, we agree that no violation of ABET's conflict-of-interest policy can be found."

Dr. Kershenstein closes by stating: "Again, thank you for responding in depth to the complaint submitted by Dr. Springsteel and for consistently providing timely resolutions to the infrequent complaints we receive concerning ABET policies."

It is important that the engineering education community know that this issue has been brought to closure in an expeditious and open manner. ABET takes very seriously its responsibility to the engineering community and acts expeditiously to resolve, openly and comprehensively, any and all issues that challenge the integrity of ABET.

George Peterson
ABET Executive Director

Too Much Depth

I recognize the U.S. Navy has undergone substantial and significant changes since I served. At the same time, however, I seriously doubt a statement made twice in "Taking Education to New Depths" in the January issue, namely that the USS Montpelier goes several thousand feet below the surface. I have no problem with several hundred feet, but [the correct number] is well under one thousand feet.

Charles O. Smith
Captain, USN, Retired


The editor responds: Capt. Smith is right. Although the Navy's deepest-diving sub can reach depths of 3,000 feet, the USS Montpelier doesn't fall into that category. The unclassified depth limit for Fast Attack Submarines (the USS Montpelier is one) and Strategic Missile Submarines is 800 feet, but they routinely operate shallower than that depth. We regret the error.


In the December issue of Prism, we identified Linda Lucas as dean of engineering at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. She is the interim dean.

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