Lipscomb University’s engineering mechanics and computer engineering majors have received national accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, officials announced today.
ABET awarded the accreditation retroactively to October 2001 to include students who have already received degrees in the two fields, said Dr. Fred Gilliam, associate dean of the Raymond B. Jones School of Engineering at Lipscomb.
Lipscomb has graduated ten students with engineering mechanics or computer engineering degrees since May 2002. Eighty students are enrolled in the two majors, with plans to expand to 300 students, Gilliam said. A program must produce graduates before ABET will consider accreditation.
ABET is the only engineering accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. government. Accreditation is often vital in professional development. In Tennessee and several other states, students planning to pursue professional engineering licensure must graduate from an accredited program, and many employers will only hire graduates from ABET-accredited programs, Gilliam said.
“There is a certain amount of credibility and quality communicated by a student who can say he or she graduated from an ABET-accredited program,” Gilliam said.
ABET considers a variety of factors before accrediting a program, including the quality and preparation of the faculty, laboratory facilities, curriculum, integration of the engineering program into the university at large, attitude and quality of students, and continuous improvement programs, Gilliam said.
“ABET has strengthened its commitment to general education and has required institutions to demonstrate that the general education program is effective in building the ‘soft skills’ necessary for engineering success in a global and societal context,” he said.
ABET expects programs to prepare graduates to work with engineers from other parts of the world in situations where technical solutions must be blended with sociological solutions. Programs are also expected to emphasize lifelong learning skills, environmental awareness and a strong ethical foundation, he said
ABET has “eleven outcomes they expect of each engineering graduate. We add to those outcomes by connecting engineering skills with the spiritual growth that is central to the Lipscomb experience,” Gilliam said.
Lipscomb had a head start on developing its engineering majors because of a long-standing pre-engineering program, which provided an immediate source of students for the new majors.
“Building on that program, we developed a curriculum for a full four-year program and brought in a top-notch faculty that is among the best I’ve taught with at four universities,” Gilliam said.
For full information about engineering studies at Lipscomb, contact Gilliam at 615.279.5887, 800.333.4358, ext. 5887 or firstname.lastname@example.org.