Fairfield University School of Engineering programs receive accreditation

Fairfield University School of Engineering programs receive accreditation

All four undergraduate programs of the School of Engineering have received accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), a first-time milestone reached through an intensive self-study and a three-day Board visit to campus in November 2005. The most prestigious national accreditation available for engineering programs, it makes a strong impression with students and employers, said Evangelos Hadjimichael, Ph.D., dean of the School of Engineering. "The Board does not accredit schools of engineering," he said. "It accredits programs, so every individual program is reviewed separately. It's a very involved process."

Though the electrical and mechanical engineering programs have been ABET accredited since 1996, this is the first accreditation for computer engineering and software engineering. The accreditation for electrical, mechanical, and computer engineering extends to 2012, while the software engineering program has been accredited for four years, and it is expected that by July 2007 the accreditation for this program will also be extended to 2012.

This achievement represents a year-and-a-half-long self-study begun in 2004 to assess the School's goals and their achievement on the basis of a valid and rigorous assessment process. The School has had a data collection and assessment system in place since 1997, making some of the evaluation run more smoothly.

"Data collection is continuous. It never stops," said Dr. Hadjimichael. "And there are requirements to meet (for accreditation), but we set and assess our goals for the programs, so we know whether we have met them or not."

Last November, ABET representatives spent two days on campus, reviewing the programs and concluding the visit with an exit interview with University President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., Academic Vice President Orin Grossman, and many others. The team's findings were eventually reviewed at five different levels at ABET, over a period of several months, and were then submitted to the Engineering Accreditation Commission for the final decision.

There is understandable pride among the School of Engineering faculty and administration for their accomplishment, for it reflects their commitment to the vision for the School and the quality of their work with their students.

Posted On: 11-20-2006 10:11 AM

Volume: 39 Number: 79