The Department of Engineering and Physics is seeking accreditation for its Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) program through the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc., Engineering Accreditation Commission.
ABET accredits programs, not institutions or departments. Other ACU programs such as the social work, nutrition and chemistry programs all have their respective accreditation.
According to the ABET website, “Accreditation provides assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards of the profession for which that program prepares graduates.”
Dr. Jeff Arrington, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said this accreditation will highlight three commitments.
“We are committed to continuous effort to improve our program, to pursue excellence in engineering education,” Arrington said. “We are committed to provide an engineering education that prepares graduates for success in an engineering or related career.”
To gain this status from ABET, the department must write a self-study that describes how it is satisfying all eight of the criteria, which are;
“¢ How it relates to the students
“¢ Program educational objectives
“¢ Student outcomes
“¢ Continuous improvement
“¢ Facilities and institutional support
The maximum amount of time a department may keep its accreditation is six years. Then the department must renew it through a process similar to what the engineering and physics department is currently going through to gain it. The next step is to have a group of trained program evaluators come to campus and carefully examine the program.
“Our ABET visit will take place in the fall of 2016, and a final announcement will be made by ABET in the spring of 2017,” Arrington said.
Arrington said the initial process in this strenuous journey takes more than 18 months. The department’s primary self-study was 459 pages long with their final study expected to be longer. The faculty is all on board for the process and is contributing a lot of time to gain the accreditation.
Arrington said the benefits of an accredited program are worth the process.
“Some companies will only hire interns enrolled in accredited programs,” Arrington said. “In reality, our accreditation will mean that an ACU engineering degree will open doors for a rewarding and meaningful career.”