SRU's computing degree program earns prestigious ABET accreditation


Computer Science students with robotic device

August 17, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University's Bachelor of Science in Computing degree program is officially accredited, an important step after several previously accredited degree programs within SRU's Department of Computer Science were recently rolled into the newly named computing degree program as concentrations.

SRU received confirmation from the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, an organization, previously known as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, that accredits computer science, applied science and engineering technology programs. The accreditation is retroactive to October 2015, when the computing program was launched. The program now includes three concentrations: computer science, information technology and cybersecurity.

"We've been accredited for 12 years but this new accreditation allows us to dynamically change our program so that it can be up to date without having to wait until the next accreditation cycle," said Deborah Whitfield, professor of computer science and chair of the Department of Computer Science. "It's more streamlined. If we wanted to add a concentration, it will automatically be part of the accreditation because we've got the core pieces accredited."

The department has completed significant curriculum modifications to the computing program, adding computer science requirements such as systems security and database courses that replace science courses. The alterations will provide students more flexibility with electives based on the concentrations they choose. The change will also make the program more adaptable during its new accreditation cycle.

"It's going to permit us to be more flexible," Whitfield said. "In computer science, I can't tell you what the new language, new tools or new gadget is going to be in the future. This allows us to quickly incorporate changes into our curriculum."

The confirmation from ABET completed an 18-month process that was led by Hongbo Zhou, associate professor of computer science. The accreditation is based on curriculum, assessment and institutional support. A peer group representing ABET conducted a three-day, on-site visit, analyzed data, evaluated equipment and talked to students and administrators to determine if the program is meeting the needs of the students.

"When we get our programs accredited it demonstrates the institutional commitment to the students for the level of competitiveness and preparedness that is expected," said Jerry Chmielewski, dean of the College of Health, Environment and Science. "Accreditation shows that we are providing resources that are above and beyond general expectations, and it is external proof that the program is meeting a set of professional standards."

The computing degree prepares SRU students for careers as software and application developers, database administers and systems analysts, to name a few. There are approximately 250 SRU students majoring in computing, including more than 80 new students enrolled for the fall 2017 semester. The more than 60 first-year students who enrolled in the computing program this fall is an increase of more than 15 from the previous year.

For more information about SRU's Bachelor of Science in Computing, visit here.

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