The educational portfolio of MRS has grown substantially in the last two decades, catalyzed in part by the very successful Materials MicroWorld traveling exhibit established in 1999.

A significant component of this growth, both in research and education, has come from engineering departments and programs as the materials issues in major engineering developments become more and more important. Because of the technological need to excite engineering students from all disciplines into materials-based careers, MRS is increasing its activities relative to engineering accreditation through ABET.

This program features Charles Hickman from ABET Headquarters, with Bill Hammetter, Sandia National Laboratories (retired), and Ron Gibala, University of Michigan (Van Vlack Professor Emeritus). Bill and Ron have extensive experience as program evaluators and team chairs for ABET accreditation visits.


Charles W. Hickman, ABET
Charles W. Hickman is Chief Constituent Relations Officer for ABET, the leading worldwide accrediting agency for university programs in applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology.  Hickman is responsible for managing relations with ABET’s 35-member professional and technical societies; more than 2000 volunteers who serve in a wide range of ABET governing and operating positions; corporations and other employers who represent a primary constituent of technical education at the university and collegiate level; and federal policymakers.    

Hickman brings varied and lengthy experience in the academic community and in professional education to ABET.  For more than 20 years he served in a variety of senior staff positions for The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the accrediting agency and service organization for university-based business schools around the world.  Hickman also served as Vice President for Academic Affairs for Quisic, a Los Angeles-based e-learning firm, and as Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Council of Higher Education, an advocacy and service organization that works to leverage the intellectual and institutional assets of universities and colleges to support regional economic development in and around Cleveland and Akron. Immediately prior to joining ABET, he was Director of University Programs at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technical innovation.

Bill Hammetter, Sandia National Laboratories (retired)
Bill Hammetter is the former Manager of the Advanced Materials Laboratory at Sandia National Laboratories. He is currently the Chair of the Accreditation Subcommittee for MRS. He has served as an ABET program evaluator for 13 years and a commissioner on ABET’s Engineering Accreditation Commission for 6 years.

Ron Gibala, University of Michigan
Ron Gibala is the L.H. and F.E. Van Vlack Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan. His research includes many topics on mechanical behavior of materials, defects in solids, environmental effects on materials and materials characterization. His activity with engineering accreditation involves serving as a program evaluator and team chair (commissioner) for the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. He has evaluated or consulted for engineering programs in more than 30 colleges and universities nationally and internationally.