An accredited program is a quality program. Accreditation is a formal peer-review process that assures the quality of the education students receive. Educational institutions or programs volunteer to undergo a periodic review to determine if certain criteria are being met. It is important to understand, however, that accreditation is not a ranking system. It is simply assurance that a program or institution meets established quality standards.
There are two types of accreditation - institutional and specialized. Institutional accreditors, such as those referred to as "regional" accreditors, examine the college or university as a whole educational institution. [e.g., The University of Toledo has regional accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) - one of six such Associations nationally. See the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) web site.] The Higher Learning Commission accredits to degree-granting educational institutions in the North Central region: Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The graphic at left and above is used to identify institutions accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of NCA.
Specialized accreditors evaluate specific educational programs. Professional accreditors, such as those for medicine, law, architecture and engineering, fall into the "specialized accreditation" category. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is a professional accrediting organization that accredits individual programs rather than entire institutions. As a matter of long-standing practice, all programs in the College of Engineering are accredited by ABET, Inc. (http://www.abet.org), the programmatic accreditation body for engineering, engineering technology, computing and applied sciences.
As the diagram above illustrates, ABET includes four accreditation commissions, each concerned with the accreditation of different categories of programs. The Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) accredits engineering programs, the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC) accredits engineering technology programs, the Applied Science Accreditation Commission (ASAC) accredits programs in the field of higher technical education with close practical and academic ties to engineering or applied science, and the Computer Accreditation Commission (CAC) accedits computer science, information systems and information technology programs.
All four of the engineering technology programs of study offered by the ET Department (CSET, CET, EET and MET) are accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC) of ABET, http://www.abet.org/. The CSET and IT programs are also accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) of ABET, http://www.abet.org/.
It is also worth noting that, since the Information Technology program is jointly offered by the College of Engineering and the College of Business Innovation, this program is expected to have dual accreditation. Not only is it expected to be CAC/ABET accredited after the 2011 visit, it is currently covered by the accredition for the College of Business Innovation, AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. AACSB accreditation reviews entire colleges and universities and awards specialized accreditastion for professional programs and academic units in particular fields of study. At UT, AACSB accreditation covers the entire College of Business Administration. The graphic at left is used to identify AACSB accredited programs.
Programs of study housed in the other five departments of the College are traditional engineering programs and are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET. One of these programs, the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) program, holds dual accreditation from both EAC and CAC.For more information about the accreditation of programs, the purposes and benefits please consult the ABET Website.