Aug. 30, 2011
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University’s department of computer science has scored a trifecta by earning accreditations for its information technology, information science and computer science programs from ABET Inc. SRU joins Drexel, the University of North Florida and the University of South Alabama as one of only four institutions nationally to have earned ABET accreditation in all three programs.
ABET Inc. is the recognized accrediting agency for college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering and technology. It is among the most respected accreditation organizations in the U.S. and has provided leadership and quality assurance in higher education for nearly 80 years.
“This is a significant academic accreditation for us nationally,” said Robert Smith, SRU president. “Our computer science faculty and staff are proud of ABET accreditation because it is a rigorous test of our effectiveness and documents the outstanding education we provide to our students in these areas. This accreditation puts SRU in a small group of very prestigious universities. I am extremely proud of the efforts of our faculty and staff in achieving this honor.”
SRU earned its first ABET accreditations for the computer science and information systems programs in 2005.
“For Slippery Rock to be one of only four universities nationwide to have achieved this level of demonstrated quality is another indicator of the academic excellence of PASSHE universities in science, engineering and technology fields,” said John Cavanaugh, chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
ABET accredits more than 3,100 programs at more than 600 colleges and universities worldwide.
“We are truly pleased and excited to have received these three ABET program accreditations,” said Beverly Gocal, assistant professor and department chair. “Our faculty truly put their best foot forward in creating the self-study report and in talking directly with ABET’s visitation team here on campus. We use our assessment practices to continually review the outcomes from our academic programs and to evaluate how we are delivering our courses to our students to ensure we are employing the latest technologies – and the latest information. The result of the assessment effort and the self-study report is that ABET determined that our programs meet their standards.”
“We know that accreditation is important because it helps students and their parents choose quality college programs, and it helps students seeking jobs when they can show they studied in a well-prepared and accredited program. The accreditation process also gives us a way to assess, evaluate and improve our program by comparing our practices to the practices of other successful programs. It is this feedback that allows us to model the best possible academic program,” she said.
Deborah Whitfield, professor of computer science and assistant chair who drove the assessment process and headed the creation of the self-study report, said, “It was a major undertaking, requiring more than a semester to gather and review the materials, then a semester to write the report. Of course, the report was reviewed by the ABET committee before their campus visit and their review was comprehensive. We are certainly excited to have gained their approval.”
ABET, headquartered in Maryland, offers a non-governmental, peer-review process that assures the quality of the postsecondary education students receive in U.S. higher education institutions.
Those undergoing accreditation review volunteer for the program to determine if certain criteria are being met at their institution. ABET accreditation is assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards established by the profession for which it prepares its students for those attending postsecondary degree-granting programs housed within regionally accredited institutions.
The computer science department has nearly 250 students enrolled in the accredited programs.
SRU recently earned 10-year re-accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The evaluation team report praised the University and noted it had met all 14 standards of excellence. SRU earned commendations in nine of the standards.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.