State’s Computer Information Systems (CIS) program has become one of
the first of only a small number of CIS programs in the country to have
earned accreditation from ABET, the Accreditation Board for Engineering
and Technology. CIS joins the College’s computer science and three
engineering technology programs (civil, electrical and mechanical) as
“It was a team effort,” said Department Chair Abel Moreno. “All 16
of the department’s full-time faculty participated in varying degrees.”
ABET is composed of four accreditation commissions: applied science,
computer, engineering and technology. It began accrediting information
systems programs in 2002-03. As of October 2006, only 20 of an
estimated 1,000 or more programs in the United States had earned
accreditation. The University of Nebraska at Omaha is the only other
institution in the western U.S. with ABET accreditation.
Two years of work
The process took two years and included
producing an almost one inch-thick, 8½ by 11 self-study report, 15
binders crammed with information about CIS courses and a site visit.
One of the difficult aspects to the project was that ABET does not
allow accredited programs to share their self studies. “There are
guidelines, but no examples,” said Professor Chuck Mawhinney, who
served as editor of the self study.
Mawhinney also shared the copies of the course binders, representing
a huge amount of work as the requirement is that a report must be done
on every course that has been taught two semesters. Each report must
include everything from the syllabus, to all homework assignments, to
all quizzes and tests, with three examples of student work in each
The department began the accreditation process in fall of 2004 and
the self study and all other materials were submitted to ABET in
June2006. The site visit followed in the fall. School of Business Dean
John Cochran received the approval letter from ABET Aug. 20.
“Dr. Moreno and the faculty of the CIS Department are to be
commended for their exceptional efforts in the accreditation process
and for receiving external validation of the quality of the program,”
“In the end, it’s about the students,” said Professor Joe Morrell.
“But the biggest benefit was the self study, to look at ourselves. It’s
the chance to review and document your department.”
Moreno added that as a result of the self study, the department made
a program change and streamlined the curriculum so that there’s a nice
flow through the program. “We also became more aware of oral
presentations and the method for evaluating them.”
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