Posts Tagged ‘accreditation’
Question by Tina #1: Is ABET accreditation important in software engineering?
I am currently attending a online university for software development. I have been searching for an internship in my area to help me gain experience. In my search, I have found that a few companies want interns to have attended a program accredited by the ABET. I have been getting mixed answers regarding whether or not ABET accreditation is mandatory for most jobs in software engineering. I live in the Huntsville, Alabama area and there is a very brisk IT market here. I would like to know if I should transfer to a program that has ABET accreditation or continue where I am. I also learned that this type of accreditation is relatively new and most software engineers did not get an education accredited by the ABET.
Answer by Starchaser
Accreditation of engineering programs is voluntary; the request for accreditation is initiated by the institution seeking accreditation. Accreditation is given to individual programs within an institution rather than to the institution as a whole. Accredited programs must request re-evaluation every six years to retain accreditation; if the accreditation criteria are not satisfied, additional evaluations may be required within the six-year interval. Programs without previous accreditation can apply for accreditation as long as they have produced at least one program graduate.
The first step in securing or retaining ABET accreditation is for an institution to request an evaluation of its program(s) by January 31 of the year in which accreditation is being sought. The eligibility of the institution must be established, which can be satisfied if the institution is accredited by a regional accreditation agency. Each program is then assigned to one of four accreditation commissions within ABET:
Applied Science Accreditation Commission (ASAC)
Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC)
Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC)
Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC)
The program is assigned to a commission based on its title (the program name shown on the transcript). Each commission has different accreditation criteria.
Each program then conducts an internal evaluation and completes a self-study report. The self-study documents how well the program is meeting the established accreditation criteria in multiple areas, such as their students, curriculum, faculty, administration, facilities, and institutional support. The self-study report must be provided to ABET by July 1.
While the program conducts its self-study, the appropriate ABET commission (Applied Science, Computing, Engineering, or Technology Commission) will choose a team chair to head the on-campus evaluation visit. A visit date (generally in the September – December timeframe) is negotiated between the team chair and the institution. Once the date is set, the ABET commission will assign program evaluators (generally one per program being evaluated). The institution is provised the opportunity to reject the team chair or program evaluators if a conflict of interest is perceived. The team chair and evaluators are volunteers from academe, government, industry, and private practice.
Once the program evaluators are accepted by the institution, they are provided with the self-study report for their assigned program. This report forms the basis of their evaluation of the program, and prepares them for the campus visit.
The evaluation team (team chair and program evaluators) will normally arrive on campus on a Saturday or Sunday. During the on-campus visit, the evaluation team will review course materials from each program, as well as student projects and sample assignments. Evaluators will also interview students, faculty, and administrators, and tour the facilities to investigate any questions raised by the self-study. The visit will normally conclude the following Tuesday with an exit interview with the institution’s chief executive officer, dean, and other appropriate institution personnel as appropriate. This interview is intended to summarize the results of the evaluation for each program.
Following the campus visit, the institution has 14 days in which to correct perceived errors of fact communicated during the exit interview. Following this period, the team chair will begin preparation of a draft statement to the institution; this statement undergoes extensive editing and will typically be provided to the institution several months after the visit. On receipt of the draft statement, the institution has 30 days to respond to issues identified in the evaluation. After this response, the team chair prepares a final statement to the institution.
The final statement and recommended accreditation action is reviewed by the large annual meeting of all ABET commission members in July after the campus visit. Based on the findings, the commission members vote on the final accreditation action, and the school is notified of the decision in August.
The information the school receives identifies strengths, concerns, weaknesses, and deficiencies of the program, as well as recommendations for compliance with ABET criteria. Accreditation is granted for a maximum of six years, after which the institution must request another evaluation.
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