August 31, 2012 : By Drew Menard
|A student of the Liberty University School of Engineering and Computational Sciences examines models created with the university's new 3D printer.|
The Liberty University School of Engineering and Computational Sciences announced this week it has received accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) for its Electrical Engineering and Industrial & Systems Engineering programs.
ABET is the recognized accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology.
“This gives our engineering and technology students some serious additional validity, preparing them for graduate studies and making them more appealing to potential employers,” said Dr. Ron Godwin, Liberty’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
The accreditation extends retroactively for the two programs from Oct. 1, 2010.
“This is especially significant as the university had its first graduates from these programs in May 2011,” said David Donahoo, dean of Liberty’s School of Engineering and Computational Sciences. He said each program seeking accreditation must have at least one graduate to be eligible so Liberty’s programs received accreditation at the earliest point possible.
Receiving this accreditation culminates a process of evaluation by faculty and staff that started more than four years ago, Donahoo said. The final 18 months of that process included the preparation and submittal of a comprehensive self-study for each program under evaluation. This was followed by a campus visit by an ABET Program Evaluator and ended with the Accreditation Commission’s final decisions in June.
Accreditation is a voluntary, peer-review process that requires comprehensive, periodic evaluations. A key element is the requirement that programs continuously improve the quality of education. Programs must set specific, measurable goals for students and graduates, assess their success at reaching those goals, and improve based on the results. The accreditation criteria are developed by technical professionals to assure every program meets the demanding standards that prepare graduates to enter their engineering professions.
Engineering and computing students at Liberty are offered opportunities to participate in meaningful undergraduate research projects, allowing them to work hands-on with state-of-the-art equipment. Liberty’s top-notch equipment includes an electron microscope, thinfilms printer, circuit board printers, inverted microscope, and a 3D printer with Computer Aided Drafting software.
The newly acquired 3D printer produces fully functional models out of plastic. These models have movable parts and are valuable in testing and examining products before manufacturing. Recently, the school took on a project where they will “print” a 3D air foil that the School of Aeronautics will be using in wind tunnel testing.