September 24, 2009

Engineering programs earn accreditation

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Five undergraduate engineering programs at Southern Illinois University Carbondale recently underwent accreditation review and received approval from a top accrediting organization, University officials said.

The Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology Inc. approved SIUC College of Engineering Bachelor of Science programs in civil, computer, electrical, mechanical and mining engineering. Four departments in the college offer those programs, including the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering & Energy Processes and the Department of Mining & Mineral Resources Engineering.

The accreditation followed a recent on-site visit to SIUC by higher education peers working for Baltimore-based ABET.

ABET accreditation demonstrates SIUC engineering programs’ commitment to students and quality education, said Ramanarayanan Viswanathan, interim dean, College of Engineering.

“Accreditation is a voluntary, peer-review process that requires programs to undergo comprehensive, periodic evaluations,” Viswanathan said. “The evaluations, conducted by teams of volunteer professionals working in industry, government, academe, and private practice within the ABET disciplines, focus on program curricula, faculty, facilities, institutional support, and other important areas. One of the key elements of ABET accreditation is the requirement that programs continuously improve the quality of education provided.”

He added: “I am very pleased with the outcome. It is a testimony to the quality of our engineering programs, faculty and students. All the chairs of the individual departments put in great efforts in preparing the self-study documents and in the preparation of the site visit. The associate dean, college faculty and staff provided valuable additional services.”

SIUC’s College of Engineering offers Bachelor of Science degrees in civil engineering; computer engineering; electrical engineering; engineering technology; industrial technology; mechanical engineering and mining engineering. This ABET accreditation covers all those degrees except engineering technology and industrial technology, which are covered by other accreditation organizations and processes. Engineering technology is accredited by The Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET, and industrial technology is accredited by The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering.

ABET promotes and advances education in applied science, computing, engineering and technology education. Members consult and assist with development and advancement of education worldwide, communicate with peers and public and helps educational institutions anticipate and prepare for the future needs of their students.

U.S. colleges and universities use a peer review process to ensure program quality and institutions undergo reviews voluntarily. ABET accreditation means a program meets quality standards established by the profession for which it prepares students.