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Frostburg State University’s bachelor’s degree program in engineering has been accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, which is the recognized accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology.
The accreditation applies to FSU’s concentrations in materials engineering and electrical engineering at the Frostburg campus and to the electrical engineering concentration at Arundel Mills Higher Education Center in Anne Arundel County. The collaborative mechanical engineering program, a program of FSU and University of Maryland, College Park, already has ABET accreditation.
“This is an important step for the University and for its goal of workforce development for our region and the entire state,” said FSU President Jonathan Gibralter. “ABET accreditation demonstrates our commitment to providing our students with a quality education.”
Accreditation is a voluntary, peer-review process that requires programs to undergo comprehensive, periodic evaluations. The evaluations, conducted by teams of volunteer professionals working in industry, government, academic settings and private practice, focus on program curricula, faculty, facilities, institutional support and other important areas.
When FSU first started building engineering programs in the late 1990s with the collaboration of the University of Maryland, it was, in large part, to build a workforce of engineers in Western Maryland and attract economic development. Frostburg has had stand-alone engineering programs since 2008.
“There is a great need for engineers to serve both established companies and small businesses wanting to grow and innovate. It is not uncommon for small businesses to locate near universities with engineering programs for the sake of collaboration and for access to its graduates,” Gibralter said.
“We built this program specifically to provide the kind of engineering education that industry wants today,” said Dr. Joseph Hoffman, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “The program is flexible; it has breadth and it has depth. Students learn by working in teams and learn how to communicate well.”
One of the key elements of ABET accreditation is the requirement that programs continuously improve the quality of education provided. Programs set specific, measurable goals for their students and graduates, assess their success at reaching those goals and improve their programs based on the results of their assessment.
Engineering is already the fourth-largest program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and University officials expect accreditation to spur further growth.
Accreditation helps students and their parents choose quality college programs, enables employers and graduate schools to recruit graduates they know are well-prepared and assists registration, licensure and certification boards in screening applicants.
ABET is a not-for-profit organization, owned and operated by its more than 30 professional and technical member societies, which has set the higher-educational standards in its fields for more than 80 years. For information about ABET, visit www.abet.org.
For information about FSU’s engineering programs, visit www.frostburg.edu/dept/engn.