A major step for the Electrical Engineering Department

The new ABET accreditation helps Electrical Engineering become more competitive

The Electrical Engineering program at CNU last month received its accreditation from ABET, an organization that evaluates university STEM programs for standards of quality and outcomes. 

The organization is highly respected in the engineering field. The ABET evaluation started in January 2018 and ended last month, when the program officially received the accreditation. 

Dr. Anton Riedl, who is Chair of the Department of Physics, Computer Science and Engineering, indicated that ABET accreditation has always been a major goal of the Electrical Engineering program since its founding at CNU in 2014. He is also an evaluator for ABET and has helped to assess computer engineering programs in Mexico, the Middle East and the west coast. 

“Right from the beginning, we knew we had to get ABET accreditation. It’s an essential. There are some jobs that will never even consider students who are from non-ABET accredited programs, one of them is Newport News Shipbuilding, because when you are close to the government, they have that [requirement]. Another one is the Patent Office. Dominion Energy says in the application, ‘Are you ABET accredited?’ and if you say no, you don’t even get into it. So, it was a no-brainer to do it.”

Riedl stated that he and those in the Electrical Engineering program were confident the program would achieve ABET accreditation. 

“Everything was purposefully driven that way. So, we were very confident, but then you never really know. From the beginning onward, we knew what we had to do, and we kind of implemented it, but then you never know until you get the letter from ABET that says ‘Congratulations!’”

Dr. Backens is an assistant professor in the Electrical Engineering program. 

He specified that the ABET accreditation process is total, and it includes an evaluation of “facilities, equipment, faculty, staff, curriculum, oversight, assessment and continuous improvement plans.” 

He said that the Electrical Engineering program at CNU had a unique experience of the ABET accreditation process because the program applied for accreditation after having graduated only one student at the time. 

“Typically a new engineering program waits until they have had several cohorts of graduates to begin accreditation; however, the EE program relied on the excellent support of NBS [Natural and Behavioral Sciences], the PCSE [Physics, Computer Science and Engineering] department and the existing Computer Engineer faculty to apply after our very first graduate in May 2018. 

Our successful accreditation on our first application is a testimony to the excellence of CNU and the hard work of many people.” 

Accreditations like this one help not only the department to become more competitive but also allows CNU to become more competitive as a university. It is a major accomplishment for the school and the department.As the university continues to grow it continues to become more competitive and win awards, honors and accreditations. There is a bright future ahead for CNU and its students.

~Duncan Hoag, Staff Writer~

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